Military records are yet another very useful set of records that will help you in finding more about your ancestors. There are a ton of records that are available for free online, and there are some very robust collections (such as Fold3 and Ancestry) that have sizable online military collections as well.
Typically, military records online fall into 5 different categories:
- Military Service Records:
Includes enlistment information, such as location and date enlisted. Also includes demographic information, such as full name, birth date and location, residence, and occupation, plus contact information of next of kin, medical and military information, and unit assignations while in the military.
- Selective Service Records:
Includes full name, residence, age, occupation, marital status, birthplace, contact information, physical description, and other information.
- Bounty Land Warrant Applications:
Includes similar information as in service records as well as other information. Only used between 1775 and1855.
- Pension Records:
Will include birth, marriage and death records, demographic inormation, plus information about the spouse, and possibly children.
- Special Records:
May include information if the person was a prisoner of war, was wounded or killed in action. 1910-1940 Census Records include questions about military service. Includes those buried in Veteran’s cemeteries.
A good primer on Miltary Records is found at FamilySearch’s Military Records page, available on their wiki.
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
Below, listed by state are links to military records that are available for free online. Included in each state’s page are links to free nationwide collections since there are a sizable number of collections that are available for the entire country.
- American Battle Monuments Commission – Korean War Honor Roll
- American Battle Monuments Commission Burials Database
- American Prisoners of War During the Korean War, 1950-1953
- Burial Registers for Military Posts, Camps, and Stations,1768-1921
- Card Register of Burials of Deceased American Soldiers, 1917 – 1922
- Casualties of Army Personnel, Dependents and Civilian Employees, 1961-1981
- Casualties of the Vietnam War, 1956-1998
- Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890
- Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917
- Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867
- Civil War Confederate Papers of Citizens or Businesses, 1861-1865
- Civil War Records of Confederate Nonregiment Soldiers, 1861-1865
- Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865
- Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865
- Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1864-1866
- Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database
- Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865
- Civil War Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865
- Civil War Widows and Other Dependents Pension Files, 1861-1934
- Compiled Military Service Records Of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With The Colored Troops, 1861-1866
- Confederate Navy and Marine Service Records, 1861-1865 Images only.
- Confederate Officers Card Index, 1861-1865
- Doughboy MIA Database 1917-1918
- Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916-1939
- General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 Index Only.
- Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1949
- Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 Index only.
- Index to Indian Wars Pension Files, 1892-1926
- Index to Naturalizations of World War I Soldiers, 1918
- Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898
- Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II, 1942-1946
- Japanese Registers of POWs WWII, index.
- Korean War Battle Deaths, 1950-1957
- Korean War Dead and Army Wounded, 1950-1953
- Korean War POW/MIA List
- Korean War Repatriated Prisoners of War, 1950-1954
- Lists of Fatal Casualties of the Korean War (6/28/1950 – 3/10/1954) and the Vietnam War (6/8/1956 – 5/28/2006)
- Mexican War Index and Service Records, 1846-1848
- Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926
- Mexican War Soldiers & Sailors Database
- Military Personnel who Died During the Vietnam War, 1956-2003
- Mormon Battalion Pension Applications, 1846-1923, index
- Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937, index and images
- National Archives, Archival Databases, Civil War
- National Archives, Archival Databases, Korean War
- National Archives, Archival Databases, Vietnam War
- National Archives, Archival Databases, World War II
- National Cemetery Administration – Nationwide Gravesite Locator
- National Graves Registration Database
- National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 Partial index and images.
- National Park Service – US Mexican War Soldiers and Sailors Database
- National Society Daughters of 1812 – Ancestor Database
- Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891, index and images
- Navy Widows’ Certificates, 1861-1910, index
- Never Forgotten, Taiwan POW List
- Old War Pension Index, 1815-1926
- Original Mormon Battalion Roster – Mormon Battalion Association
- Pearl Harbor Casualty List
- Prisoners of the First World War
- Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865
- Records of Headstones of Deceased Union Veterans, 1879-1903
- Register of Confederates and Civilians Who Died in the North,1861-1865
- Registers of Enlistments in the Army, 1798-1914
- Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942
- Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783
- Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900
- Revolutionary War Pension Payment Ledgers, 1818-1872
- Revolutionary War Records – Daughters of the American Revolution
- Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
- Revolutionary War, Virginia Pension Application Files, 1830-1875
- Roster of All Regimental Surgeons and Assistant Surgeons in the late war, with the service, and last-known post-office address (1882)” compiled by N. A. Strait. The text is searchable.
- Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1783
- Service Personnel Not Recovered Following WWII
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Military Servicemen in World War I Records
- United States. French Combatants in the Revolutionary War, 1778-1783
- Veteran’s Administration Master Index, 1917-1940
- Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Vietnam War POW/MIA List
- War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910
- War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815
- War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
- War Relocation Authority centers, final accountability rosters, 1942-1946
- World War I American Expeditionary Forces Deaths, 1917-1919
- World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
- World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
- World War II Casualties for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard
- World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
- World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
- World War II Prisoners of War of the Japanese, 1941-1945
- World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1945
- WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualties
- YMCA World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919
District of Columbia
- District of Columbia, military records : World War II 4th draft registration cards, 1942
- District of Columbia, Officers of the army and families of officers : residing in or near the District of Columbia, November 25, 1916
- District of Columbia, Pensioners of Revolutionary War Struck off the Rool 1836
- District of Columbia, Records of the assistant commissioner for the District of Columbia, 1865-1869 : NARA, RG105, M1055
- District of Columbia, Records of the Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 : NARA, RG105, M1056
- District of Columbia, Register of the commissioned and warrant officers of the Naval Militia : of California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina
- District of Columbia, Report of the board of managers (National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers)
- District of Columbia, Revolutionary, War of 1812 & Indian wars pensioner list of Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia
- District of Columbia, U.S. Military Fatal Casualties of the Korean War
- District of Columbia, U.S. Military Fatal Casualties of the Vietnam War
- District of Columbia, Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- District of Columbia, World War I American Expeditionary Forces, deaths, 1917-1919
- District of Columbia, World War I Memorial for DC Casualties
- District of Columbia, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1940-1945
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!