Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 1, # 5

Researching Military Service Records

As we are all aware, genealogy research takes us into a world of literally volumes and volumes of written records. Our hope is that each and every person we research will have left some kind of records behind that will aid us in learning more about the person and lead us in the right direction in tracing that particular family surname.

Of these seemingly endless amounts of paper, are the records kept on those individuals who were involved in some form of military service. Not only can be found records of actual military service but supporting records. Supporting records may be categorized as…


 

Bounty-Land Grants

 

Court-Martial

 

Military Census Records

 

(First census taken in 1840 and the second in 1890).

 

Muster Rolls

 

Pension Records

 

Prisoners of War

 

Unit Rosters


 

An excellent resource now available on the Internet is located on Heritage Quest. Selected Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications may now be located and printed for service personnel. In the way of a side note, ‘Selected’ refers to only certain documents in the folders relating to military service. However, by personally visiting the National Archives or one of its Branches, the COMPLETE folder, which would include ALL documents, may be copied.


 

Should an ancestor have served during the so-called ‘Colonial Wars’ from 1607 – 1774, these records usually listed just the name and unit in which they served. The phrase ‘Colonial Wars’ refers to the following involvements…


 

King Philip’s War ~ 1675 – 1676

 

King William’s War ~ 1689 – 1697

 

Queen Anne’s War ~ 1702 – 1713

 

King George’s War ~ 1744 – 1748

 

French and Indian War ~ 1754 – 1763


 

The National Archives maintains service records for the years from 1775 – 1912. War records after 1912 are under the jurisdiction of the Veteran’s Administration.


 

As one can conclude, there are many, many records from a military standpoint to consider and to research. Hopefully, these records will give even more insight into the lives of those who fought for their beliefs and values, and, for their families and friends.


 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 

Genealogy Workshop

 

FACT: In 1798, Congress passed the first direct tax on homes, land and slaves to pay for the resurrected navy and a new, larger army.


 

TIP: While a direct ancestor may not have military service or pension records, in many instances it pays to look for service and pension records of family members. Important genealogical leads or answers may be found in their records that would otherwise be missed!