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Military records identify millions of young men who served in the military or who were eligible for service. Evidence that an ancestor actually served may be found in family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies, cemetery records, and records of veterans’ organizations. Military records can give birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, spouse and children names, localities of residence throughout the life of the family. Many military records are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives, and other federal and state archives.
For each war listed below, additional federal sources are listed in United States Military Records. It contains search strategies and information to guide you to the best records for your objective.
- Washington Arsenal -- Textual records of this post, 1825-1829, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
- Washington Barracks -- Textual records of this post, 1885-1886, 1901-1903, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
The 1835 Pension Roll
On June 5, 1834, the U.S. Senate required the Secretary of War to submit a statement showing the names of pensioners who were on the pension rolls or had previously been on the pension rolls. For more information on the 1835 Pension Roll see Revolutionary War Pension Records. The 1835 Pension Roll for the District of Columbia is available online:
- Report from the Secretary of War... Vol. III (Google Books)
- The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. III (Ancestry) ($)
For a list of Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the District of Columbia see
- John Clagett Proctor, E. Melvin Williams, and Frank P Black, Washington, Past and Present, A History, (New York: Lewis Historical Publ., 1930) FHL book 975.3 H2p. At various libraries (WorldCat).
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States confirmed the separate existence of the United States and the future Canada.
See the Wiki article, District of Columbia in the War of 1812, for information concerning military records, histories, links to relevant web sites, etc. for District of Columbia.
There are helpful nationwide records for soldiers of the War of 1812. For more information, see United States in the War of 1812.
Mexican War (1846-1848)
Civil War (1861-1865)District of Columbia in the Civil War for information about District of Columbia Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the District of Columbia regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental articles often include lists of the companies with links to the counties where the companies started. Men in the companies often lived in the counties where the companies were raised. Knowing a county can help when researching the families of the soldiers.
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiment for the soldiers. Then you can check the regiment page to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.
World War I (1917-1918)
- United States. Selective Service System. District of Columbia, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987-1988. FHL film1570933 These cards have been digitized and are searchable online. See WWI Draft Records for more information.
World War II (1941-1945)
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