GenToday-L Archive

Military Records

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 Bible.

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: 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 Dutsch

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 Grant.

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

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