Trace Family Military History
Trace Your Family's Military History With GovRegistry
Searching for the military records of an ancestor is an involved process that will likely take you quite some time.
In order to begin your search, you first need to figure out when and where your ancestor served, as well as the branch and unit of the military they served in, and their rank, if possible. Preliminary inquisitions close to home are a good way to get some leads as to this core information.
Question family members about stories they've heard or that have been passed down, and scour old family photographs for telltale buildings, weaponry, insignias, uniforms, and anything else that may betray a time period or section of the military.
If searching close to home does not provide you with enough accurate information, make sure to check death records in courthouses and obituaries in newspapers local to the place in which you believe your ancestor lived.
These sources have a good chance of providing you with confirmation that your ancestor did indeed serve in the military, and may even inform you as to which branch or regiment he served in. Census records may also be of help to you in your search. In many countries, census records list the professions and occupations of the people surveyed. If one of your male ancestors is conspicuously missing from a census taken during wartime, there is a good chance that he was fighting at the time.
Once you have found the proof you are looking for about an ancestor's military service, it is time to move on to the more detailed information, such as birthplace, age when enlisted, names of primary family members, and more. Your search should start with the military service records kept by the National Archives and Records Administration.
These records include military service records of all men who served in the regular Army in the 19th century, and all branches of the military throughout the 20th, located at the National Archives (in East Point, Georgia) and the National Personnel Records Center (in St. Louis, Missouri); the Compiled Military Service Record, which is a compilation of enlistment and discharge documents, hospital and prison records, rank rolls, payrolls, and more; pension records or veteran's claims, which are records of pension applications and payments for veterans, their widows, and inheriting family members, also located at the National Archives; draft registration records, which are cards bearing the biographical information about enlisted men, including a physical description and the country of allegiance of an alien; and bounty land records, which are records of land granted to citizens by the government as a reward for servicing their country, usually via the military.
If you don't have the leisure time to travel all around America in quest of military records, and all of this elaborate searching sounds like a hassle, you can find all of the information you're looking for quickly in one place: GovRegistry. GovRegistry is one of the biggest, most comprehensive information source about military records available, and is the best solution for all of your military record needs.
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