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Finding Your U.S. Military Heroes on Ancestry


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"Finding Your U.S. Military Heroes on Ancestry" helps you navigate the millions of military records on Ancestry to find your veteran ancestor.

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Finding Your U.S. Military Heroes on Ancestry

  1. 1. Finding Your U.S. Military Heroes on Ancestry
  2. 2. Identifying Your Ancestors Who Served • Family Stories • Photographs in Uniform • Memorabilia • Cemeteries • Obituaries New York Herald (New York, N.Y.), 7 January 1870
  3. 3. Identifying Your Ancestors Who Served • Correspondence and journals
  4. 4. Identifying Your Ancestors Who Served • Learn as much about the person as you possibly can. You’ll need details to identify the person in military records.  Name  Estimated birth date and place  Residence at the time of enlistment/draft  Create a timeline or chronology  Names of extended family
  5. 5. Newspaper Accounts Hometown papers often included updates on local servicemen & women. From the Appleton Motor (Appleton, Wisconsin), 04 July 1861
  6. 6. Identifying Your Ancestors Who Served • Military Histories 1st Regiment, 2d Brigade of Illinois Mounted Volunteers, Capt. Thos. B. Ross' Company, 15 May 1832-15 August 1832 From the Record of the services of Illinois soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 on
  7. 7. Were they eligible? Click here to save a copy of this chart.
  8. 8. Clues in the Census  The 1840 U.S. Census asked the names and ages of Revolutionary War pensioners.  In 1890 U.S. Census included a schedule of Civil War veterans and widows. Kentucky (partial) through Wyoming and the District of Columbia survived. (available on  The 1910 U.S. Census asked whether the person was a survivor of the Union or Confederate army or navy. (UA=Union Army, UN=Union Navy, CA=Confederate Army, and CN=Confederate Navy)  The 1930 U.S. Census asked whether a veteran of the U.S. military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition, and specified what conflict.  Some state censuses also include military details.
  9. 9. 1890 Census Veterans Schedules • Only part of Kentucky through Wyoming, Lincoln Post #3 in Washington, D.C., and selected U.S. vessels and navy yards are available.
  10. 10. 1890 Census Veterans Schedules • Sometimes you find a piece of the story in the record. Bottom portion of the same page from 1890 Census Veterans Schedules on
  11. 11. Finding What’s Available on Ancestry • Card Catalog • Filter by • Military • USA • Decade of the conflict •To see what collections are available for a specific branch of the service, enter keywords like Navy, Naval, Army, Air Force or Marine in the title or keyword field.
  12. 12. Finding What’s Available on Ancestry • Military Pages  To search military collections only, hover over the Search tab and select Military from the drop-down menu  Search by conflict here.
  13. 13. Indexes vs. Actual Records • Index lets you know that this (in most cases) is step 1. • Use information in the index to request the actual record. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
  14. 14. Check the Description • From the image click “Return to Record” • Click the link to “Learn more…” • Look for information in the database description below the search box
  15. 15. Check the Description
  16. 16. National Archives and Records Administration Some military records can be requested online via the National Archives website.
  17. 17. National Archives and Records Administration
  18. 18. National Personnel Record Center (NPRC) “NPRC (MPR) uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests.” Privacy restrictions may apply
  19. 19. Highlights from Ancestry U.S. Collections
  20. 20. U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 20 Files can be hundreds of pages long as claimants try to prove eligibility, service, and relationships.
  21. 21. Compiled Military Service Record • Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR). Envelope with card abstracts of muster rolls; payrolls; rank rolls; inspection, provision, and clothing returns; receipts for pay and bounty; accounts for subsistence, pay, rations, clothing, and ordnance; abstracts of muster and pay rolls; and correspondence. See a list of U.S. service record collections here.
  22. 22. U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1940 Muster rolls typically include the Marine’s name, name of the ship or post, rank, date of enlistment or reenlistment, and where applicable, discharge, death, injury, illness, desertion and apprehension, and court-martial information. Antonio Sousa enlisted his son, John Philip Sousa to serve as an apprentice in the Marines when he was only thirteen.
  23. 23. Exploring the Records: Draft Registrations • Draft Registrations on Ancestry for WWI and WWII “Babe” Ruth, World War II Draft Registration, 1942
  24. 24. World War II Draft Registration, 1942 • Only 1 of 7 drafts publicly available • “Old Man’s Draft” - Men born between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 • Be sure to page forward to see second page. • U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938- 1946 also available on Ancestry, as are WWII Draft Cards, Young Men, 1940-1947 for Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Not Available • Alabama • Florida • Georgia • Kentucky • Mississippi • North Carolina • South Carolina • Tennessee WWII Veteran, Stephen Szucs and family
  25. 25. WWI Civilian Draft Registrations • More than 24 million men, born between 1872 and 1900 registered for the WWI Draft. Rodolfo Guglielmi (a.k.a., Rudolph Valentino), in the WWI Draft Registrations on Ancestry
  26. 26. U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914
  27. 27. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 • On 03 March 1865, legislation was passed to "incorporate a National Military and Naval Asylum for the relief of the totally disabled officers and men of the volunteer forces of the United States.“ • has records for these branches:  Eastern Branch, Togus, ME, est. 1866  Central Branch, Dayton, OH, est. 1867  Northwestern Branch, Wood (near Milwaukee), WI, est. 1867  Southern Branch, Hampton, VA, est. 1870  Western Branch, Leavenworth, KS, est. 1885  Pacific Branch, Sawtelle, CA , est. 1888  Marion Branch, Marion, IN, est. 1888  Roseburg Branch, Roseburg, OR, est. 1894  Danville Branch, Danville, IL, est. 1898  Mountain Branch, Johnson City, TN, est. 1903  Battle Mountain Sanitarium, Hot Springs, SD, est. 1907  Bath Branch, Bath, NY, est. 1929
  28. 28. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 28
  29. 29. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 29
  30. 30. U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 30
  31. 31. Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 Roll 110. Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C. Register of Prisoners, Compiled by the Office of the Commissary General of Prisoners.
  32. 32. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 32 This index contains birth and death dates for more than 14 million veterans and VA beneficiaries who died between the years 1850 and 2010.
  33. 33. U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1918-2009 33 Cruise books are yearbook-style books put together by volunteers on board ship to commemorate a deployment.
  34. 34. Finding the Stories • U.S. Civil War Photos, 1860-1865  Thomas Howley served in the 9th New York Heavy Artillery, Company K. This is a photograph of the 9th New York Heavy Artillery, Company M.
  35. 35. Finding the Stories: American Civil War Soldiers • Create timeline of engagements • Learn about various military engagements • Compare to what you know from muster rolls, pension, and other records From the database of American Civil War Regiments
  36. 36. Learning More • Wiki - Military chapter from The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy
  37. 37. Wiki – See Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources for state resources.
  38. 38. For more online military records, visit 38
  39. 39. We hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into our collections. Now come and find your military heroes on Ancestry! 39