Military records are an excellent source of genealogical and historical
information. The United States have been at least eleven major wars, numerous
Indian wars and two conflicts since colonial times. There are two major
categories of these records that the family researcher will want to research.
The first is the service record which usually contains enlistment records,
orders, reports and commendations and muster rolls. The other records is the
pension application files which usually contain affidavits made by the veteran
and his neighbors, friends, relatives, etc. to prove his claim; the dates of
his service; his date and place of birth; date and place of marriage his heirs
and their birth dates and places; and possibly information from his family
For Colonial War information, the records include rosters, rolls and lists.
Most of these records have been published and can be found in genealogical and
historical libraries across the United States.
For Revolutionary information, the records include rosters, rolls,
correspondence and field reports, dates of enlistment, state from which he
served, sometimes his physical description and date and place of birth. Some
of the original service records were destroyed by fire, but those remaining
are on file at the National Archives and are indexed. These records are also
available at your local Family History Center.
Service records for the War of 1812, Indian Wars and the Mexican War have been
indexed and microfilmed and available at the National Archives or your local
Family History Center.
For Civil War information, (Union Army Records), a soldier enlisted near his
home. To get his service record you need to know the state he served or unit.
Write to the National Archives, Washington, DC to get NATF Form 80, (Military
service and pension records prior to World War I, including the Revolutionary
War, War of 1812, Civil War, and Spanish-American War); fill it out and send
it in, they will send you copies of his service record. You can send an email
to get the NATF form: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put your mailing address,
not your email address.
Since the Confederacy dissolved after the war, no
central governmental agency provided pensions for service or disability to the
Confederate soldier, but some former Confederate states authorized pensions to
veterans and their widows. Some of these pension filed have been microfilmed
by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Others are in the possession of various
state archives or government custodians.
For World War I & 2 information, write to National Personnel Records Center,
9700 Page Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63132 and request Form 180, fill it out and a
copy of the service record/pension application records will be sent to you.
These service records for soldiers who have served within the last seventy-
five years are restricted to immediate family member.
In 1973 a fire broke out
at the above National Personnel Records Center and destroyed millions of
records. The center has since reconstructed the records of living military
personnel who needed the date for pensions and other benefits.
Records pertaining to the service of merchant marines are on file with the
United States Coast Guard, Washington, DC 20590. Records of discharged,
deceased and retired merchant marines are in the custody of the National
Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Boulevard, St.
Louis, MO 63132. Records of officers and active or reserve personnel prior to
1929 are in the custody of the Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard,
Washington, DC 20590.
Burial records for soldiers who were buried in one of the many national and
other federally administered cemeteries since 1861 are in the custody of the
Cemetery Service, National Cemetery System, Veterans Administration, 810
Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC 20420.
A list of soldiers that were missing in action is found in the National
Archives under the Records of American Battle Commission, Record Group 117.
Records of Federal Veterans' homes are in the National Archives in Record
Group 15 and Record Group 231.
Tip of the Month
Court records can be confusing, to say the least! Many family researchers have
overlooked the Orphan's Court records in the local courthouse or even those
that are maintained by the state. The legal term means that the child had lost
his/her father. (Notice, it does not say both parents.)
Orphan's Court records show the administration of estates and sometimes
appoint trustees or guardians for the minor children. These records contain
names, births, death dates, marriages and sometimes the maiden name of the
mother. If a guardian is required, the mother often requests her father or
brother for the task.
Who are the ancestors of Cornelius Hoffman DOWNS, b.NYC abt 1735. d.1805 NYC.
Mother was Miss Hoffman. He m. Miss Trumeaux abt. 1765 & were parents of
Mary(m.Mr.Bennett) & Cornelius H.Jr(m.Ann Sherwood abt 1823NYC.
Need info on Menoah CRAIS who served in Rev War from Wilkes Co NC. Martha
Do you know of these people from Patterson, St. Mary Parish, LA. between the
years 1880 and 1910? Parents: Frederick and Irene (PROVO) MINGO. Children:
Cary, Isham, Shedrick, Lazuraus, Earnest, Martha, Mary, and Savinia MINGO.
I am searching any information about The Grant family in Cullompton. Who could
help me searching for information how to trace the daughter of the Baker of
Cullompton. Her name is Tracey Grant, daughter of my great uncle Charlie
NETTLETON, Reuben b: Bef 1872 md ROGERS, Bertha b: Bef 1877 in Mass or Conn,
child 2 NETTLETON, Ralph Charles, Sr b:01-19-1896 in Hartford, Conn d:1946
married MARTIN, Edith b: 03-12-1899 in Monterey, Mass d: 1957
Listen To The Dead
What Happened to the 1890 Federal Census?
Newspapers on Microform
The Genealogy Lady established the "Genealogy Today" newsletter in
April 1997. She answers questions online at New-Jerusalem.com, and
sells books at her Genealogy Book Store.