United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
This is an index 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.
This index covers records for 1898.
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
- 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.
For a list of records by surnames currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Adjutant General's Office. United States, Index to Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers in the War with Spain. National Archives, Washington D.C.
A typical record gives the following information:
- Soldier's name
- Military unit
- Dates of entry into the service
- Separation by discharge, desertion, or death
- Film number
- Digital image numbers
- Surname range
Service Records may also state:
- 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 Family History Library Catalog for complete information on film numbers.
How to Use the Record
Use this index to help you learn more about your ancestors, whether war achievements or previously unknown biological information. To search for your ancestors in the index, you will need to know their full names.
If you are having difficulty finding your ancestor, look for variations in the spelling of the name. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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.
- 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.
You may also find these search tips helpful:
- 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.
- Military Records: Guide to Genealogical Matters
- Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines of the Spanish-American War: The Legacy of USS Maine
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898" digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 16 December 2011). John Estabrook, Private, citing Service Records, Es-Far. Image 167; National Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C. United States.