These records are a listing of soldiers and officers serving in a particular unit. They exist for most wars and conflicts in American History. For the Colonial Wars (King Georgeís War, King Williamís War, Queen Anneís War, French and Indian War) these records have been compiled in various reference books. For all other wars and conflicts, a simple web search under that name will yield information on how to obtain muster rolls of the soldiers who served. For many wars, particularly those that lasted only a short time or that involved only militia from one or a few states, the muster rolls have only been published once in obscure reference books that may be difficult to obtain. Check the LDS website at http://www.familysearch.org/ to see if they have microfilmed copies of these books and records. Muster rolls of Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, and Civil War (Union) troops, as well as those of some Indian Wars units, are kept at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) old military reference branch in Washington, D.C. If the soldier you are researching served in a state volunteer unit for any war, you have the best chance of obtaining muster rolls for his company by researching at the state archives for the state for which he served. Civil War (CSA) records are found in the state archives or library of the particular Confederate state. Navy, Marine, and other non-Army unit records are found in the same places as the Army records, but they may also exist in other places. Records of soldiers who served in World War I and later wars and conflicts will be found in the Military Personnel Records branch of NARA in St. Louis. In the 1960s there was a fire there that destroyed many World War I records, but volunteers and archivists have meticulously reconstructed many of these. Also, NARA recently found some of these records thought to be destroyed in the fire in a warehouse in Chicago.
If you soldier served in the American Revolution, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, or Civil War (Union), they may have received a pension. Their pension files are available at NARAís military reference branch in Washington. For Civil War (CSA) pensions, these records are kept in the archives of the state from which the veteran or his widow filed for the pension. Pension files for World War I and later wars are found in the Military Personnel Records branch of NARA in St. Louis. Use NATF form 85 to access pension records.
Soldiers serving in the American Revolution, Indian Wars, War of 1812, and the Mexican War were eligible to receive bounty land for their service. These land records are broken up into two categories: applications and surrendered warrants. Applications sometimes contain the veteranís discharge certificate. Surrendered warrants let the researcher know if the veteran sold the warrant or located and settled land on the public lands.
Some soldiers kept journals and diaries and sent letters home while they had a break in the fighting. Many of these records have been donated to archives at colleges and universities or state archives. Many historical societies also have collections of this kind. To find these records can be hard, but perseverance will pay off. Some journals and letters have been published. If your ancestor fought in the Mexican War or Civil War, there is a chance that he may be mentioned in a diary of one of his fellow soldiers in their published journal. Any bookstore or http://www.bn.com/ will be able to tell you which journals have been published.
These records exist for World War I through Vietnam, although some have not been released by the federal government. They can provide information like the manís birthdate and place, fatherís name, motherís maiden name, and the residence of the man when he registered for the draft. Contact the Military Personnel Records center in St. Louis to get these records.
If your ancestor died while in war service, there is a chance that he is buried in a military cemetery. If he died after his service, he may still be buried in such a cemetery. Check with the Veteranís Administration to discover if your ancestor is buried in one. If so, then you may be able to obtain records relating to his funeral, such as who attended and from where, which can provide the genealogist with much-needed collateral family connections.
When the daguerreotype film process was developed in the nineteenth century, military records took on a whole new aspect. Beginning with the Mexican War, some soldiers sat down and had their picture taken. Battlefield photographs were not taken until the Civil War. Of course, the earlier the war, the fewer number of photographs available to researchers. The National Archives has a great military photograph collection at its main facility in College Park, Maryland. Some of these photographs have been put online in places. The Library of Congress also has a large photograph collection and they have also placed it online at http://www.loc.gov/. Consider the clues you can uncover from studying a military photograph in your family photo collection: 1. The picture should identify the individual. Be certain you know the individualís real name. For example, if you knew the soldier as Uncle Frank, his legal name may be Francis or even William Frank. His military records will list him under his legal name. 2. The picture should help you determine the war in which the individual served. Look for clues such as the style of uniform, the clothing style of others in the picture, or objects that can determine a time period, such as an automobile. This information is extremely important, as military records are filed according to the time period served. 3. The photograph should help you identify the branch in which your relative served through the uniform he wore. In most cases, military records were kept by branchóarmy, navy, etc. 4. A careful inspection of the picture may reveal other important clues, such as a symbol or a patch that represents rank or unit (battalion, division, or platoon). Such information is helpful when researching military records. The information gleaned from a careful examination of an old military photo can be very helpful. But even if you donít have old pictures, this information is critical to have in order to learn more.
Service Branch Rank Dates of Service Volunteers 1775-1902 Army Officers 1789-June 1917 Enlisted 1789-31 Oct. 1912 Navy Officers 1798-1902 Enlisted 1798-1885 Marine Corps Officers 1789-1895 Enlisted 1789-1895 Coast Guard 1791-1919* Confederate States 1861-65 Pension files (all claims) 1775-1916 *Including service to earlier versions of coast guard
Service Branch Rank Earliest Service Dates Air Force Officers 25 Sept. 1947 Enlisted 25 Sept. 1947 Army Officers Separated 1 Jul. 1917 Enlisted Separated 12 Nov. 1912 Navy Officers Separated 1 Jan. 1903 Enlisted Separated 1 Jan. 1886 Marine Corps Officers Separated 1 Jan. 1905 Enlisted Separated 1 Jan. 1905 Coast Guard Officers Separated 1 Jan. 1898 Enlisted Separated 1 Jan. 1898 1. These records may only be obtained by the individual, a legal representative of the individual, or a family member with written permission of the individual. If the individual has passed away, a family member can obtain the records by proving relationship to the deceased. 2. To obtain a copy of any records that do exist, the individual or legal representative must submit Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, for non-genealogical requests, and OR NA Form 13043 for genealogical requests. This form is available from the National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records) at 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63132.
American Battle Monuments Commission Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500 2300 Clarendon Boulevard Arlington, VA 22201 Tel: 703-696-6897 http://www.usabmc.com/ Dept. of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20420 Tel: 202-233-4000 800-827-1000 http://www.va.gov/foia/index.htm Marine Corps Historical Center Washington Navy Yard, Building 58 Ninth and M Streets, SE Washington, DC 20374-0580 Tel: 202-433-3483 http://www.usmc.mil/historical.nsf/nav2 National Archives and Records Administration Attn: NWCTB 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20408-0001 Tel: 202-501-5410 (Genealogical Staff) 202-501-5400 (Record Availability) Fax: 301-713-6905 (Fax-on-Demand Information) E-mail: inquire@arch2.nara.gov http://www.nara.gov/nara/ National Cemetery System Department of Veterans Affairs 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20420 Tel: 202-273-5221 E-mail: ncscss@mail.va.gov http://www.va.gov/cemetery/index.htm National Guard Association of the United States Library One Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001 Tel: 202-789-0031 http://www.ngaus.org/ National Guard Educational Foundation, (formerly the Historical Society of the Militia and National Guard) http://www.ngaus.org/educational/educational.asp National Personnel Records Center Military Personnel Records 9700 Page Avenue St. Louis, MO 63132-5100 Tel: 314-538-4243 (Air Force records) Tel: 314-538-4261 (Army records) Tel: 314-538-4141 (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard records) Fax: 314-538-4175 E-mail: center@stlouis.nara.gov (General information only, no e-mail requests for records) http://www.nara.gov/regional/stlouis.html Naval Historical Center Washington Navy Yard 901 M Street, SE Washington, DC 20374-5060 Library: Tel: 202-433-4132 Fax: 202-433-9553 Museum: Tel: 202-433-4882 Fax: 202-433-8200 Operational Archives: Fax: 202-433-2833 Ships History Branch: Tel: 202-433-3643 Fax: 202-433-6677 http://www.history.navy.mil/ U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency Mail: HQ AFHRA/RSA 600 Chennault Circle Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6424 E-mail: AFHRANEWS1%RS%AFHRA@MAX1.au.af.mil http://www.au.af.mil/au/afhra/ U.S. Army Center of Military History Location: Building 35 102 Fourth Avenue Fort McNair Washington, DC Mail: 103 Third Avenue Fort McNair, DC 20319-5058 Tel: 202-761-5413 E-mail: cmhweb@cmh-smtp.army.mil http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/default.htm U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry 9235 Gunston Road, Room S-112 Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5579 Tel: 703-806-4968 703-806-4969 http://www-perscom.army.mil/tagd/tioh/tioh.htm U.S. Army Military History Institute 22 Ashburn Drive, Carlisle Barracks Carlisle, PA 17013 Tel: 717-245-3611 E-mail: MHI-SC@carlisle-emh2.army.mil (Special Collections) MHI-AR@carlisle-emh2.army.mil (Archives Collection) MHI-HR@carlisle-emh2.army.mil (Historical Reference) http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usamhi/ U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office (G-CP-4) 2100 2nd Street, SW Washington, DC 20593 Tel: 202-267-0948 E-mail: rbrowning@comdt.uscg.mil sprice@comdt.uscg.mil http://www.dot.gov/dotinfo/uscg/hq/g-cp/history/collect.html U.S. Merchant Marine http://www.usmm.org/index.html U.S. Military Academy/Museum and Archives Building 2107 Pershing Center West Point, NY 10996-2099 Tel: 914-938-7052 E-mail: museum@www.usma.edu http://www.usma.edu/Museum Americal Division Veterans' Administration: Army Awards and Decorations http://www.americal.org/awards/ U.S. Civil War Center http://www.cwc.lsu.edu/
Afghan War(Afghanistan), 2001-02 Serbian Conflict (Yugoslavia), 1997-99 Somolian Conflict (Somolia), 1996 Gulf War (Persian Gulf), 1991 Granada Conflict, 1985 Vietnam Conflict, 1965-73 Korean Conflict, 1950-53 World War II, 1941-45 World War I, 1917-18 Mexican Border Conflict (Pershing search for Poncho Villa), 1916-17 Tampico and Veracruz Incidents, 1914 Boxer Revolt (China), 1900 Spanish-American War, 1898-1901 Nez Perce Wars (Montana, Idaho), 1877 Modoc War (California), 1872-73 American Civil War, 1861-65 Utah War, 1857-58 Yakima Wars (Washington, Oregon, Idaho), 1855-58 Third Seminole War, 1852-56 Navaho Wars (West), 1848-58 Mexican War, 1846-48 Door Rebellion (Rhode Island), 1841 Second Seminole War (Florida, Georgia), 1836-42 Texas War for Independence, 1835-36 Aroostook War (Maine), 1839 Cherokee Removal (North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina), 1838 Patriot War (Maine), 1838 Black Hawkís War (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan), 1831-32 First Seminole War (Florida), 1817-18 War of 1812, 1811-1815 Creek War (Alabama), 1812 Tripolitan War (Barbary Wars), 1801-05 Whiskey Rebellion (Pennsylvania), 1794 Shays Rebellion (Massachusetts), 1786 Revolutionary War, 1775-83 War with the Regulators (North Carolina), 1781 Pontiacís Rebellion (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia), 1763-64 Cherokee Uprising (North Carolina), 1760-61 French and Indian War (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania), 1753-56 King Georgeís War (Virginia, Maryland), 1744-48 War of Jenkinís Ear (Florida), 1739-42 Yamasee War (South Carolina), 1715-16 Queen Anneís War (Virginia, Maryland), 1702-13 King Williamís War (Virginia, Maryland), 1689-97 Baconís Rebellion (Virginia), 1676 King Philipís War (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island), 1675-76
General Society of Colonial Wars http://www.ubalt.edu/gscw Daughters of the American Revolution http://www.dar.org/ Sons of the American Revolution http://www.sar.org/ General Society of the War of 1812 http://www.societyofthewarof1812.org/ United Daughters of 1812 http://www.daughters1812.org/ United Daughters of the Confederacy http://www.hqudc.org/ Sons of Confederate Veterans http://www.scv.org/ Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War http://ww.duvcw.org/ Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War http://www.suvcw.org/ Descendants of Mexican War Veterans http://www.dmwv.org/ Continental Society, Sons of Indian Wars http://members.tripod.com/~cssiw Order of Indian Wars http://members.tripod.com/~Historic_Trust/indian.htm