Military Records

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.

Military Records from U.S. Territories

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!