If you have ancestors with military service of any kind, finding records about their service can help with your research!
Military Service and Your Ancestors
Often we are asked to find military records simply because our clients want to know more about the military service their ancestor(s) rendered during various conflicts throughout the course of history, both at home and abroad. They want to know details about things like the battles their ancestor(s) fought in, whether they enlisted or were drafted, whether they received any military honors or awards, what the conditions were like for them, etc. Military records can provide all of this information and more, which can really enrich the history of your family. But along with being great for adding historical details, they can also be extremely useful as a tool for extending family lines.
Military Service Records
Military service records can provide various pieces of information about your ancestor’s pay, unit, rank, biographical information, physical description, and more – depending on what war or conflict they fought in and what country they lived in. The can also include “nearest contact” information that could be a spouse, child, sibling, parent, or other relative.
In the United States, pension applications and pension payment records are generally the most useful for providing genealogical information. They often contain information about the veteran’s family – such as his wife and children – along with supporting documentation to prove relationships (like birth, marriage and death records, narratives from people who knew the veteran well, letters, etc.).
Most of these records are not available online and need to be obtained from the repositories where they are currently kept. Finding out where they are and how to get them can be a daunting task since it depends on the branch of service, the conflict, the dates of service, and a variety of other factors. And then once ordered, these records can take many months – sometimes a year or more – to arrive, and you never know how much (or how little!) information they will provide until they do arrive. However, despite the challenge it can be to obtain military records, they should definitely not be overlooked, as some of the information they provide may not be available anywhere else. These records can sometimes provide the piece of information you’ve been searching for to break down a brick wall in your family history.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
If you have ancestors who served in the military at any time in history, our experts know where the various records are kept, and which repositories house which collections. We can help you learn more about your ancestor’s military service and obtain copies of military records regarding that service to help you extend your family lines.