United States, Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This collection consists of images of over 621,000 applications for headstones received by the Cemeterial Division of the Quartermaster General from two National Archive microfilm publications. The first publication, over 290,000 applications, covers 1925 to 1941 and is M1916. Most are for veterans of the Civil War or later. A few may cover earlier wars. The second publication, over 331,000 applications, covers 1941-1949 and is M2113. These records are part of Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group (RG) 92.

For a list of records by surnames currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Record Content

Applications include all or part of the following:

  • Name of soldier, sailor or marine
  • Rank, company, regiment, state organization or vessel
  • Date of death
  • Emblem requested (Christian, Hebrew, None)
  • Name of cemetery with city and state of its location
  • Name and address of person making application
  • Name and address to whom headstone is being shipped

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • The full name of the soldier
  • Some other identifying information such as the death date or cemetery

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article [FamilySearch Tips and Tricks].

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s headstone application, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Compare what is information is given with what you already know about your ancestor to make sure it is the correct person.

Next, look at the pieces of information given in the headstone application for new information. Add any new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use any information you already know about your ancestor, such as name, rank, company, regiment, etc., to determine previously unknown information such as date of death and cemetery.
  • Use information about religion, found on later versions of the form, to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • The name of the cemetery could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Continue to search cemetery records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have been buried in the same cemetery or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Compile the entries for every person with the same surname. This is especially helpful for rural areas or unusual surnames.
  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • These records are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. For example, soldiers often falsified their ages in order to be admitted into the army.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.

Additional Information About These Records

In the early frontier years, garrison commanders were expected to bury their dead. During the Civil War, however, the numbers of the dead became too much for them to handle. On September 11, 1861, the War Department began to take command of the responsibility of granting deceased soldiers the privilege of a marked grave.

Most of the applications are for the Civil War and later, but some may apply to earlier wars. Approximately 10% of the forms will have two images. The applications are arranged in alphabetical order by surname, then first name. The Office of the Quartermaster General established a Cemetery Branch. This new branch was responsible for establishing, maintaining, and improving national military cemeteries.

On March 3, 1873, Congress granted burial rights in national military cemeteries to all honorably discharged veterans of the Civil War on March 3, 1873, then extended the privilege of government-provided gravestones to soldiers buried in private cemeteries on February 3, 1879.

For more information, visit the report "Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941." Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans.

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Contributions to This Article

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Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org. Source citations include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"United States, Applications for Headstones for Military Veterans, 1925-1941." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1916. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 15 September 2014, at 15:38.
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