Military Records

Both historical and contemporary military records are extremely useful in extracting genealogy information. These records can contain birth and death dates, residence, spouse's name, next of kin, duty stations, MOS, medical conditions, pensions, etc. There are two types of service records of particular interest to the African American Genealogist:

Compiled Service Records: Provide you with your ancestor's rank, unit, date mustered in and mustered out, basic biographical information, medical information, and military information.

Pension Applications and Pension Payment Records: These files often contain supporting documents such as: narratives of events during service, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, pages from family Bibles, family letters, depositions of witnesses, affidavits, discharge papers and other supporting papers.


Contact the National Archives for:
  • Bounty land warrant applications based on wartime military service from 1775 to 1855
  • Pension claims based on military service from 1775 to 1916
  • Military personnel serving for the Confederate States government from 1861 to 1865
  • Enlisted personnel serving in the U.S. Army from 1789 to October, 1912
  • Officers serving in the U.S. Army from 1789 to June, 1917
  • Service in the Revenue Cutter Service, the Life-Saving Service, or the Lighthouse Service from 1791 to 1919
  • Officers in the Revenue Cutter Service whose terms of service extended beyond 1915,
  • Officers serving in the Coast Guard from 1890 to 1929
  • Enlisted personnel serving in the Marine Corps from 1789 to 1904
  • Officers serving in the Marine Corps from 1789 to 1895
  • Enlisted personnel serving in the U.S. Navy from 1789 to December, 1885
  • Officers serving in the U.S. Navy from 1789 to December, 1902
 
Contact the National Personnel Records Center for:
  • Draft registration records of those who registered for the draft before World War I