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Military records are from times of war and times of peace. They identify individuals who served in the armed forces or who were eligible for service. Military records can help you learn more about your ancestors who served their country. These Wiki pages teach terminology and describe the contents, uses, and availability of major sets of records created mostly by the federal government. You can use them to learn about federal and nationwide sources. The Wiki pages discuss only sources that identify personal information about individuals in the armed forces and their units. They do not discuss historical sources about military institutions, weapons, battles, or tactics. The Wiki pages for the separate states have more information about state military records.

Beginners' Corner[edit | edit source]

  1. What are United States military records?
  2. What time periods do they cover?
  3. What can I find in them?
  4. How do I access them?
  5. Search strategies

For a more complete beginning introduction, see U.S. Military Records Class Handout.

Getting started with U.S. Military Records research[edit | edit source]

If you are just beginning research, you may need some introductory information before using this set of Wiki pages. You may want to see the Wiki article Guide to Research

The Basic Search Strategies page of this set suggests steps you should take to find your ancestors in military records. This section is especially valuable if you are just beginning your research. The Record Selection Table can help you choose types of records to search. The Family History Library's collection is described on that page, and there is also a page explaining how to use the FamilySearch Catalog to find specific records.

Information found in military records[edit | edit source]

  • Evidence of military or patriotic service 
  • Residence at time of military service or pension  
  • Soldier's birth information 
  • Family relationships 

Research Tools[edit | edit source]

Click the button below to see links to online databases and indexes about U.S. military personnel, records, and conflicts involving the United States.


  • NARA Collections on - search for NARA collections by NARA title, NARA series number (ex. M313) or title. 
  • National Archives Military Records - National Archives page explaining some of their records available for the different wars. 
  • Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Free National Park Service site with a nationwide index to Union and Confederate servicemen, including U.S. Colored Troops (USCT). 
  • ($) A subscription site with records from most major American wars, including DAR Rolls of Honor, the Civil War Collection, and World War I Draft Registrations. Also includes selected Loyalist and Confederate sources. 
  • ($) (formerly Footnote) Subscription site to digitized and indexed National Archives documents including Civil War Service Records, Civil War Widows Pensions,  Mormon Battalion Pension Files, Pension Index-Civil War to 1900, Revolutionary War Pensions, Southern Claims Commission, WWI and WWII records. 
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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Wiki articles describing online Military collections are found at:

See also Military Records in the FamilySearch Learning Center.

Wars[edit | edit source]

Record Types[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

State Military Records[edit | edit source]