Ancestor Research – Army Records

Ancestor Research – Army Records

Men and women have been fighting and waging war since our country’s history began, so if you are doing your ancestor research army records are a good place to begin, and easy to find online.

Everyone has ancestors who were in the military at some time in history, and finding those army service records will help fill out your family tree. However, I have seldom heard a veteran, or heard about a veteran, who cared to talk much about the war they were in and their involvement. You can do your own research and look up the actual records, without leaving your home.

First, sign up with the official army records database and find out when and where the family member served, and his or her branch and rank. Then look through the house and see if you can find photographs, newspaper clippings, diaries and correspondence they may have sent home. If you put flowers on the family graves, look to see if there is a military marker on a grave. The government may have provided a plain gravestone.

ancestor research - army records
army service

Maybe, you will find an old khaki colored garment or even a uniform or a navy pea coat or a heavy woollen cap… these are clues to broaden your search and look for military records. You might even find a sword or a gun.

The US Census records have a column pertaining to military status. The 1840 census asked for the names and exact ages of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services. You can search for Revolutionary War records. Pensioners included both veterans and widows.

Since the United States Federal Census for 1890 was all but completely destroyed in a fire in January 1921 at the Commerce Building in Washington D.C., the 1890 Veteran’s schedule is an alternative means of documenting veterans or widows of veterans from the Civil War and War of 1812 who were still living and collecting pensions in 1890.

This census asked whether a person was a soldier, sailor, or marine during the Civil War or a widow of such a person, when enlisted and the length of service and any disability incurred. Practically all of the schedules for the states Alabama through Kansas, and approximately half of those for Kentucky were destroyed, possibly by fire, before the transfer of the remaining schedules to the National Archives in 1943.

The 1910 census asked whether a person was a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. The 1930 census asked whether a person was a veteran of the US Army Military or Naval Forces, yes or no and whether you were mobilized for any war or expedition.

WWI registration records are easily found as 24 million registered for the WWI draft in 1917 and 1918. They show name, age, address, citizenship, color of eyes and hair, build, names of parents or nearest relative. The name of the employer is also listed and the cards are signed by the registrant. Similar records are available for World War II. There are 8 million names of U.S. Army enlistees for the years 1938-1946.

It is well worth it to search for your family members by searching the records for army service history online – and this will fire your enthusiasm to build the complete family history archive!

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US Military Records – An Introduction

US Military Service Records

military war recordsUS Military records are records from times of war and times of peace of course. They identify individuals who served in the nation’s armed forces, or who were eligible for service.

These military records can help us learn more about our ancestors. You can use them to learn about federal and nationwide sources. Find out personal information about individuals while in the armed forces and their related units.

  • Find evidence of military or national service
  • Find residence at time of military service or pension
  • Find birth records information
  • Find evidence of family relationships
  • Find relatives who served and gave details about your family

You can search by state – for instance type in California in the Civil War for information about California Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the California regiments involved in the Civil War.

Wars the US have been involved in:

 American Civil War (1861-1865)

The regimental pages often include lists of the companies with links to the counties where the companies started. Men in the companies often lived in the counties where the companies were raised. Knowing a county can help when researching more about the soldiers and their families.

The online database allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiments for the soldiers. Then you can check the Wiki regiment pages to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.

The Indian Wars (1780s-1890s)

Suspicion and hostility, caused by technological and cultural differences as well as mutual feelings of superiority, resulted in these years of often brutal conflict.

Fuelled by inter-tribal antagonisms among the Indians, and nationalistic rivalries,  and expansionist desires on the part of non-Indians exacerbated these tensions. The resulting white-Indian conflicts often took a particularly brutal turn, and ultimately resulted in the near-destruction of the indigenous peoples.

The Mexican War (1846-1848)

The Mexican War was caused by the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states. Records of Mexican War veterans might exist in a state where the veteran later resided.

Spanish-American War (1898)

The Spanish-American War was mostly fought in Cuba and the Philippines. Spanish-American War records can exist in the state from which the soldier served or in a state where the veteran later lived.

For example – the California State Archives has military records from the California Adjutant General’s office dating from 1849 to 1945. These include records of California volunteers in the Spanish-American War.

World War I (1917-1918)

World War I was a global war fought on multiple continents with many nations involved. The US joined late, and over four million men and women served in the conflict.

World War II (1941-1945)

Again joining this gloabal conflict after a few years of avoidance , and a draft was introduced in 1942. Since there is overlap in the WWI and WWII Selective Service registration, men born in the years 1877 to 1900 may have registered twice and have both WWII and WWI draft records.

The Korean War (1950–1953)

The Korean War was a conflict between North Korea (and its communist allies) and South Korea (with support of the United Nations, primarily the United States). Think of TV Series MASH which was set in this war, the actual conflict was more serious of course.

The Vietnam War (1964–1972)

The Vietnam War was a conflict between North Vietnam (and its communist allies) and South Vietnam (with support of its anti-communist allies, including the United States).

So we have been involved in some horrific war situations, and more recently of course we have been in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to help resolve the conflicts.

To learn more about the military service of any military relative or ancestor, go here to register and begin your search.

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    Find US Army Service Records

    Find US Army Service Records

    You can find any US army service records by using the official government records database, which includes more than 1 billion records from thousands of public and proprietary information sources. It contains a comprehensive military records database for all US States.

    In addition to the US Army records search, you can also perform all in one or custom searches on just about any other record source, including state court records, county court records, district court records, superior court records, municipal court records, circuit court records, federal court records, legal records, bankruptcy records, probate records, and much more.

    These records give you access to correctional files, criminal files, family history, US Army service records, any arrest records, corporate filings, birth and death records, liens, utility records, property records, and just about any other proceedings you can think of.

    All of your searches are naturally 100% discreet and anonymous.

    These searches will enable you to save time and money, travelling, filling out forms and waiting in line. Imagine having to travel all across the country to obtain physical copies of all the records you require. Plus, with the databases, you don’t need to know much information (just a name, and a city and state will help narrow your results) in order to perform your search.

    A US Army records search or any public records search is fast, easy, and completely confidential.

    Click Here to begin your search – find Dates of Military Service, Location Of Military Service, Military Enlistment Date, Death In Military Service, Military Cemetery Records, Wounds and Captivity, Last Place of Residence, Military Branch and Rank, Military Medical Record, and other related US Army record details.

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      Find World War One Records

      Find World War One Records

      You may want to know where to find world war one records for one of your ancestors. Whether the relative fought overseas or not in the first world war years, it was everywhere a time of huge change in the world.

      War was raging in Europe and Mexico at the time. Women were fighting for the right to vote. By 1917 the United States had entered the war in Europe. Troops were being drafted and training was under way.

      Soldiers were sent to France by 1918 to fight. Some came home and of course others did not.

      Your ancestor’s story can be difficult to uncover. Those who survived the war were often reluctant to talk about their experiences. You can read history books to provide background information. Knowing your ancestor’s unit and serial number are extremely helpful in locating records. Families who lost an ancestor in the war have similar and different avenues by which they can locate information.

      Start by writing down what you know about your ancestor: full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death. Unit and serial number. Burial location.

      Read the history of yogov recordsur ancestor’s unit, if one exists. Search army records online for possible sources and the libraries. Search for the unit itself to see if a web page exists to memorialize the servicemen and women. Read the “Order of Battle” books to learn where the unit was stationed and its movements. Obtain as much background information as possible.

      Determine where the records you want are held. Most World War I Army records were burned in a fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. It is rare to discover service records for individuals there. There are other sources which can be used to reconstruct a military history.

      Locating WWI Records is a tool which can jump start World War I Service Record research.

      Other suggestions include ways to search newspapers, state archives, the National Archives, cemeteries and locate Burial Files.

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      Find My Ancestors

      Find My Ancestors

      Ancestors are incredibly interesting – every single person who ever lived has a story to tell. And we all love to learn more about where we came from.

      family_treeWhen you scratch the surface of any human being you will find a rich range of events that go to make up who that person is: a variety of happy, sad, tragic, celebratory, inspirational and depressing – all sorts of emotive happenings that create a unique individual.  So when you are finding your ancestors, why be content with just names and dates?

      It seems a shame that some people who trace their ancestry are only content to collect a list of names and dates, their driving force to go back as far as possible in time.  While I fully understand the satisfaction of going back another generation and finding new names to add to your tree, for me, and many others, it is the mixture of this and also finding out about the history of individuals that provides the full satisfaction and excitement of tracing ancestors.

      Those names on your tree were once living, breathing human beings, affected by the times and environment they lived in, and subject to all the feelings and thoughts that we are all subject to.   They all had ups and downs in their lives, just like you and me.  Wouldn’t it be interesting and exciting to find out what those highs and lows were, and how much you might be able to relate to them?

      We will never know exactly how a person reacted to the events that affected them, but we can make an informative guess at how they may have felt, for example, about leaving their home for a new country, the death of a child, or an inheritance from a rich uncle.

      Census records, birth, marriage & death certificates, parish registers, wills, military records, trial documents, land records, apprenticeships, and many other documents can help you to piece together some of the important events in your ancestors’ lives.

      The further back you go, the more difficult it is to find out details about your ancestors, especially if they were of the lower classes and left no documented trail.  Very often all you have is a name in a parish register and very little else.

      All the same, that is no reason to believe that you can know nothing about them.  There are many ways you can find out how your ancestors lived and what their daily lives might have been like.

      First of all, you can find out about the area they lived in.  Most places, even the smallest village, will have information about its history, either on the internet, or in local pamphlets that could be acquired at a library or the parish church.  Local record offices also very often hold published booklets about the local area.  What was going on in this area when your ancestors lived there?  How might it have affected them?

      What was your ancestor’s occupation?  If you are lucky enough to have an occupation given in the parish register, then it should be quite easy to find out the history of the trade or work your ancestor was involved in.  The Society of Genealogists publish a range of books entitled My Ancestor Was… which can give you a lot of information about occupations, as well as where to find sources for research. Were they in the military?

      Local museums often hold items that are related to local trades and industries and it is fun to speculate what kind of tools or household items they may have used.

      Knowledge of general history is also extremely useful so you can find out what events might have had an effect on your ancestors’ lifestyles.  If they lived in the mid-17th century, you may be able to find out (from where they lived) whether they might have been a Royalist or Parliamentarian during the English Civil War.  If they were Irish immigrants in the mid-19th century, were they fleeing from the Irish famine caused by the failure of the potato crops?  If they moved from the country to a town or city, were they part of that general movement in Britain caused by the industrial revolution?

      Finding your ancestors can be so much more than just finding names and dates. Don’t give up on them if they were just a laborer or laborer’s wife without land or nothing to leave in a will.  Their blood still runs in your veins.

      They probably thought that there would be no reason for them to be remembered.  Wouldn’t it be really nice to prove them wrong after all this time.


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