US Military BranchesEdit This Page
From FamilySearch Wiki
United States Army
The United States Army was created when Congress created a permanent military under the Act of 29 September 1789. The Army has participated in every war the United States has entered.
The following books discuss the Army’s history and development:
Coffman, Edward M. The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784–1898. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. (FHL book 973 M2cof.)
Ganoe, William A. The History of the United States Army. New York, New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1942. (FHL book 973 M2gw.)
Jacobs, James Ripley. The Beginning of the U.S. Army, 1783–1812. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1947.
Weigley, Russel F. History of the United States Army. New York, New York: Macmillan. 1967. (FHL book 973 M25we.)
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
Compiled service records were never created for enlisted personnel, but enlistment papers and other records are available at the National Archives. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the following:
Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publication M233. (On 81 FHL films beginning with 0350307.) These give the soldier’s name, rank, regiment, company commander, height, weight, eye color, hair, complexion, age, occupation, county and state of birth, and enlistment date and place. The registers from 1798 to 30 June 1821 are arranged in alphabetical order. Those for later years are arranged by the initial letter of the soldier’s surname, then chronologically by month and year of enlistment.
A helpful source for African-American soldiers is:
Schubert, Frank N. On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier: Biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866–1917. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, 1995. (FHL book 973 Sch78o.) Contains short biographical sketches listing rank and unit served with; few contain birth and other personal data. The source of the original information is cited.
Many records may no longer be available because of a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.
Pension files are available for Army enlisted men and officers. Check for evidence of a pension application in the previously described microfilm indexes for the War of 1812 through the Philippine Insurrection. In this outline, refer to the specific war served, then look under the heading "Pension Records."
An index to pensions awarded to soldiers based on army service between 1783 and 1861, including the Indian wars, is listed below:
Old Wars Index to Pension Files, 1815–1926. National Archives Microfilm Publication T316. (FHL films 0821603–9.) The index gives name; name and class of dependents (if any); service unit; application, file, and certificate file numbers; and state from which the claim was made. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS - PENSIONS - INDEXES
The following is a published version of the same index:
White, Virgil D. Index to Old Wars Pension Files 1815–1926. Two Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1987. (FHL book 973 M22wh.)
United States Marines
The Marine Corps was created in 1798. It was part of the Navy Department from 1834 until 1952, when it became a distinct branch of the military. Records of Marine Corps soldiers and officers are available at the National Archives in Record Group 127 for the years 1798 to 1904.
Muster rolls of the Marine Corps have been filmed for the years 1789 to 1892 and are available at the Family History Library:
Muster Rolls of the United States Marine Corps, 1798–1892. National Archives Microfilm Publication T1118. (FHL 123 films.) The records are arranged chronologically; and they give name, rank, enlistment date, date of death or discharge, and name of ship or station.
Check with the National Personnel Records Center for available service records.
To locate a Marine or find out more about this branch of the military, go to .
Records of sailors can be found at state and local archives, the National Archives, and the National Personnel Records Center.
Of particular value to the researcher are the following:
Muster and Payrolls.Muster rolls usually provide the sailor’s name, ship, and service dates. Post‑1860 records often give a personal description and data concerning discharge, desertion, or death. Payrolls give the sailor’s name, rank, enlistment date, and term of service. Muster and payrolls, 1798 to 1859, are arranged alphabetically by name of ship and then chronologically. These are found in Record Group 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library at the National Archives.
Muster rolls of vessels, 1860 to 1900, are arranged chronologically in three separate series and then alphabetically by name of vessel. They are found in Record Group 24, Records of Naval Personnel at the National Archives.
Enlistment Records.Enlistment records usually give the sailor’s name, enlistment date and place, birthplace, age, occupation, and personal description. Enlistment records have not been microfilmed, but they are available at the National Archives. They include:
- Registers of Enlistments, 1845–54.
- Quarterly Returns of Enlistments of Vessels, 1866–91. 43 vols.
- Weekly Returns of Enlistments at Naval Rendezvous, 1855–91.
The Family History Library has an index to the above records:
Rendezvous Reports, before and after the Civil War, 1846–1861, 1865–1884. National Archives Microfilm Publication T1098. (FHL films 1570526–57.) Reports include the name, rendezvous, date of return or enlistment page, and record of service.
The weekly returns are also indexed in the following:
Index to Rendezvous Reports, Civil War, 1861–65. National Archives Microfilm Publication T1099. (FHL films 1570558–88.) The entries contain the sailor’s name, ship or place of rendezvous, and the date of enlistment.
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
To find specific microfilm numbers for the above two sources, look in the Place search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES ‑ MILITARY RECORDS
Records of Officers
Abstracts of Service of Naval Officers (“Records of Officers”), 1798–1803. National Archives Microfilm Publication M330. (FHL films 1445969–87.) Alphabetically arranged by the first letter of the surname, then date of appointment. Entries list name, rank, date of naval assignments, and where assigned.
Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers
Records of Officers and Related Name Index, 1829–1924 National Archives Microfilm Publication M1328. (FHL films 1579079–96.) These abstracts are indexed by the first letter of surname available on the first roll with volume and page references. The information includes birth date and place and chronological listing of naval service and death information.
Callahan, Edward W., ed. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900. 1901. Reprint, New York, New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1969. (FHL book 973 M2ca; film 1036121 item 4.) Contains the names of officers of the Navy and Marine Corps from 1789 to January 1901 and lists name; assignment; date; and retirement date, if known. The document also contains a list of midshipman, acting midshipman, and naval cadets at the Naval Academy, 1840–1900, arranged alphabetically in annual classes by name, date, and status. It also contains an alphabetical list of vessels from 1797 to 1901.
Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy. Two Volumes.'Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989–90. (FHL book 973 D36cg.) Contains a brief sketch of service history of admirals.
Index to Officers’ Jackets, 1913–1925 (Officers Directory). National Archives Microfilm Publication T1102. (FHL films 1578411–12.) Location registers for personnel files. They are arranged by file number; name, rank, classification, location of files (as of 1948), and file number.
Case Files of Disapproved Pension
Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War and Later Navy Veterans (Navy Widows Originals), 1861–1910. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1274. (FHL fiche 6333626–802.) These records are arranged by application number. Use the index below to get the application number. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Locality search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES ‑ MILITARY RECORDS ‑ PENSIONS
Lists of Navy Veterans for Whom There are Navy Widows’ and Other Dependents’ Disapproved Pension Files (Navy Widows’ Originals, 1861–1910). National Archives Microfilm Publication M1391. (FHL fiche 6333805–19.)'An alphabetical index to veterans and more pension files for sailors and officers of the Navy who were involved in the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, and later conflicts. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES ‑ MILITARY RECORDS ‑ PENSIONS ‑ INDEXES
FamilySearch Historical Record Collecions
Online collections containing these records are located in FamilySearch.org
Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:
- United States Naval Enlistment Rendezvous (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States Navy Widows' Certificates (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- This page was last modified on 27 January 2012, at 23:13.
- This page has been accessed 1,409 times.
New to the Research Wiki?
In the FamilySearch Research Wiki, you can learn how to do genealogical research or share your knowledge with others.Learn More