As holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July approach, you may celebrate loved ones who served in a branch of the United States Military. Maybe, as your family comes together to celebrate these loved ones, you hear stories about Great-Grandfathers who served in the Civil War or your family’s centuries-long commitment to serving in the U.S. military. If you’re interested in learning about your family’s military records, knowing where to look and what to ask for is important.
What You Need To Know To Start
If you’re looking for your family’s military records, there are a few things you’ll need to know to get started. You’ll need to know which family member you’re looking for, including any given names they’ve used on government documents. You’ll also need to know where they lived when they first enlisted. You must also have a general idea of when they served. While this doesn’t have to be exact, it is best to understand the time they were serving. You’ll also need to know what kind of records you’re looking for, such as their personnel file, draft card, or enlistment record.
This information is essential to ensure the military records you’re looking at are your family member’s and not for someone with the same name. By having information like the town they lived in, their age, and the names of their spouses and children, you can narrow your search radius and know that you’re looking at your family’s military records.
Ask Your Relatives For Help
While reaching out to large federal organizations for information about your family’s military records might be appealing, starting with the people around you might be easiest. Speak to your grandparents, parents, aunts, or uncles. Ask them about their family members and their service. See if they have copies of the military records you’re looking for. Ask them to look through whatever information they have.
Your relatives may not realize exactly what they have in their possession. They may not realize that stuffed in a box in the basement or attic is a military yearbook, payroll or pension records, or draft records. This information might be what you’re looking for, making your family the perfect place to begin your search.
Look At The Archives
Of all the resources available, your best option is the National Archives. Federal military service records from the Revolutionary War through the War of 1912 are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Military service records from World War I through current military service are stored at the National Archive building in St. Louis, Missouri.
It may also be a good idea to reach out to local organizations if your family member served in the Revolutionary or Civil War, as towns with significant ties to these events may have their own local museums and record keeping.
Check the Census
If your family member served during early conflicts while the U.S. population was still incredibly low, check the Census. The census will help determine if your family member shared a name with others nearby. It will also help you determine which military branch they may have served in and their rank. By reviewing local census data, you will see what your family’s military records may look like and have a better path forward.
Ask A Professional For Help
Sometimes the work of scouring archives and looking for information from many different sources can become more time-consuming than you’d originally anticipated. If you feel there is more information to go through than you have the time for, it may be best to reach out to a professional genealogist for help.
If you need help finding your family’s military records, Heritage Consulting can help you find what you’re looking for. Our research agents can find documents from across the country and provide a comprehensive list of information you may seek.
Family Military Record Help From Heritage Consulting
Since 1978, Heritage Consulting has been in the business of genealogy and family history. We’ve learned a lot over the last 45 years that will help us find everything you’re looking for. With this experience under our belts, we know you’ll have the peace of mind to trust us throughout this process.
Building connections with family and researching your genealogy is essential, and Heritage Consulting can help you learn more about your family’s ties to the country. Our highly experienced staff wants to help you learn all you can about your history. If you need our help finding your family’s military records, reach out to us here.