United States, Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Collection Time Period
The records are for applications processed during the years 1925 to 1941.
This collection consists of applications for headstones (over 290,000) received and processed by the Cemeterial/Memorial Division (NARA publication M1916). The records are part of the Record Group 92 Records of the Quartermaster General. 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.
Applications include all or part of the following:
- Date of death
- Name of cemetery with city and state of location
- Name of person making application and address
Additional information from a later revision of the form includes:
- Dates of enlistment and discharge
- Veteran's pension number
- Serial number
How to Use the Record
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.
- 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.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby cemeteries.
Shortly after the Civil War, 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." www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1916.pdf
Why this Record Was Created
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 priviledge of a marked grave.
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.
[[Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans] http://www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1916.pdf www.archives.gov/research/microfilm/m1916.pdf]
[[History of Government Furnished Headstones and Markers]http://www.cem.va.gov/hist/hmhist.asp www.cem.va.gov/hist/hmhist.asp]
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
Sources of Information for This Collection
United States. Quartermaster General. Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Record Group 92, NARA publication M1916. United States. Federal Archives and Records Center. Washington D.C.