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United States Military Records provides more information on federal military records and search strategies.
Fort Adams 1798-,
Fort Independence 1798-1879,
Colonial Wars (1620–1763)
Numerous records of colonial wars have been published. The Family History Library has copies of most of them, including:
- Doreski, Carole. Massachusetts Officers and Soldiers in the Seventeenth Century Conflicts. Boston, Massachusetts: The Society of Colonial Wars in Massachusetts and the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1982. (Family History Library book 974.4 M24d.)
- Bodge, George M. Soldiers in King Philip's War. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991. (Family History Library book 974 M2b.) A concise history of the Indian Wars of New England from 1620 to 1677. Contains lists of soldiers, stories of battles, copies of ancient documents relating to the King Philip's War, 1620–1677.
- MacKay, Robert E. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the French and Indian Wars, 1744–1755. Boston, Massachusetts: Society of Colonial Wars, 1978. (Family History Library book 974.4 M2mc.) Gives in-depth information about the years of turmoil among the French, Indians, and Colonists. It includes details about forming the militia force to combat the unrest.
Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
A man born between 1730 and 1765 who lived in Massachusetts is probably listed in some form of military record. If he supported the rebellion, he may be mentioned in records as a rebel, patriot, or Whig. Those who opposed the rebellion were Loyalists or Tories. For detailed records of the Revolutionary War, see:
- Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 17 Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter Printing, 1896-1908. (Family History Library book 974.4 M23m; films 238343-59; fiche 6046890.) Lists soldier's name, commander's name, county of enlistment, service dates, unit, age, and stature.
- White, Virgil D. Genealogical Abstracts of the Revolutionary War Pension Files. Four Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1990. (Family History Library book 973 M28g.) Includes names, dates, places, battles fought, and some personal and family information.
- Selected Records from Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1969. (Family History Library film 840256-406.)
- Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1969. (Family History Library films 970001-2670.) 80,000 complete pension files alphabetical by surname.
- Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. Four Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1995. (Family History Library book 973 M22wv.) Shows the name, rank, and unit of over 390,000 patriots.
- Transcripts of: United States. Adjutant General's Office. General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary Ward Soldiers. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1942. (Family History Library film 882841-98.) The service records and pension files for Revolutionary War patriots are available at the Family History Library. For more information, see United States Military Records. You can also use NATF Form 80 to obtain copies of the same records from the National Archives for a fee.
The 1835 Pension Roll of Massachusetts, which includes Revolutionary War soldiers and heirs of War of 1812 casualties, is available online at Ancestry.com ($).
- Honor Roll of Massachusetts Patriots Heretofore Unknown: Being a List of Men and Women Who Loaned Money to the Federal Government During the Years 1777-1779 by Bell Merrill Draper (Boston, Mass.: Massachusetts Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1899)
War of 1812 (1812–1815)
The following are good sources for those who fought in the War of 1812:
- White, Virgil D., transcriber. Index to War of 1812 Pension Files. Waynesboro, Tennessee, National Historical Publishing Company, 1992. (Family History Library book 973 m22i 1992, Two Volumes..) Transcribed from the National Archives microfilms.
- United States Veterans Administration. Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files. Washington, DC; National Archives, 1960. (On 102 films, beginning with Family History Library film 840431.)
- Adjutant General of Massachusetts. Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. [Boston?]: Gardner W. Pearson, 1913 (Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter Printing, 1913. (Family History Library book Q 974.4 M23ma; film 1033995 item 5.) Lists commander, unit, soldier's name, and service dates. Indexed.
Civil War (1861–1865)
See Massachusetts in the Civil War for information about Massachusetts Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the Massachusetts regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental pages 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 Wiki 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)
World War I draft registration cards for men age 18 to 45 may list address, birth date, birthplace, race, nationality, citizenship, and next of kin. Not all registrants served in the war. For Massachusetts cards see:
- United States. Selective Service System. Massachusetts, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1987–1988. (On 162 Family History Library films, beginning with film 1684875.) To find an individual's draft card, you must know his name and residence at the time of registration. The cards are arranged alphabetically by county, within the county by draft board, and alphabetically by surname within each draft board. Most counties had only one board; large cities had more. Finding an ancestor's street address in a city directory will help you determine the board number if he lived in a large city. For a map showing Boston draft board boundaries and numbers, see FHL film 1498803.
The State of Massachusetts, during World War I, operated an information service for the families of those who were in the various branches of the armed forces. These records are:
- Casualties from Massachusetts in World War I, 1918, Enlistments, Enrollments, Medical Examinations, Detachments. (On 15 films, beginning with Family History Library film 1544205.)
You can search several military databases at Footnote ($)
Military muster rolls and other records are at the Massachusetts State Archives and the Adjutant General's Office. For Massachusetts the following sources are also very helpful: United States. Army.
- Massachusetts Infantry. Enlistments, Enrollments, Medical Examinations, Detachments, Oaths, Rosters, Election Returns, Discharges, Desertions, Resignations, etc. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988–1991. (On 38 Family History Library films.) Microfilm of the original in the National Guard Supply Depot in Natick, Massachusetts, Telephone: 508–875–0678. The films include detailed records of Massachusetts volunteers, militia and regular army. Records are available for enrollments, enlistments, muster rolls, medical records, discharges, casualties, hospital lists, and deaths. The records include those of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection in 1899, the 1916 war with Mexico, and World War I. Information is indexed by state, military division, and medical facility.
Massachusetts Research Outline Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001. NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.
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