United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain (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 is an index for the year 1898 to the compiled military service records of volunteer soldiers who served during the War with Spain. The service files are located in the National Archives and have not been filmed with the exception of Florida. The index is in alphabetical order.

Interest in the Spanish-American War is increasing. The number of participants was small compared to the number who served in the Civil War and World War II. The smaller numbers are in part due to the short length of the Spanish-American War, which ended before many soldiers had even been transported to the war zone. But for the many Americans whose families came to the United States during the mass immigrations of the 1880s and 1890s, the Spanish-American War records are the first military records they can research.

Pension records were carefully compiled on grounds of injury, illness, or disability (and later on age) and often included:

  • Application forms
  • Branch of service
  • Rank
  • Military organization
  • Proof of marriage
  • Proof of children's births
  • Summary of military service
  • Death certificates

Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.

Records from the Spanish-American War are generally much more descriptive, complete, and accurate than those from earlier wars. Name spelling became more uniform and literacy more common. These improvements make it easier to locate birth dates, family members, and other important genealogical information.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898.

Record Content

Service records may include the following information:

  • Soldier's name
  • Rank and military unit
  • Date of entry into service
  • Separation by discharge, desertion, or death
  • Film number
  • Digital image numbers
  • Surname range

Service records may also state:

  • Age
  • Place of birth
  • Residence at time of enlistment

Entries that refer to miscellaneous personal papers have no corresponding compiled service records. The papers themselves follow the jacket envelopes for most units. See the FamilySearch Catalog for complete information on film numbers.

How to Use the Record

When searching:
As you are searching it is helpful to know such identifying information as:

  • your ancestor's given name and surname
  • residence
  • age

Search the Collection

To search by index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection image by image. To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:

⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Surname Range" which takes you to the images

Search the collection by image. Again you will need to compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person 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 wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family; it will often lead you to other records. For example:

  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or cemetery records.
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

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.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Other Searches

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Don't overlook FHL Place United States items or FHL Keyword United States items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see United States Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Spanish-American War, 1898

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Adjutant General's Office. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

Record citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 September 2014, at 22:44.
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