US Military Service Records
US 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.