Alabama Military Records

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Online Resources

The US Military Records Wiki article provides more information on Federal Military records and search strategies.

Background Information

Military records identify those who served in the military or who were eligible for service. Evidence that your ancestor served may be found in family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies, cemetery records, and records of veterans’ organizations.

Alabama has participated in wars from the Revolutionary War to the present. Military enlistment and service records may give names, residences throughout the life of the family, rank, unit, dates of service, death date, and cause of death. Pension records often provide the soldier’s birth date and place, widow’s name, the date and place of marriage, and names and ages of children.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History has the most complete collection of Alabama military records. Their collection includes military records and soldiers’ correspondence from all wars in which Alabama has participated. Many federal military records of Alabama are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives, and the National Archives Southeast Region (Atlanta) (Morrow, Georgia).

Alabama Forts

Entrance to Fort Morgan, guarding Mobile Bay, Baldwin County, Alabama.

Forts were built to house and maintain the military, who were to assist in maintaning peace by enforcing treaties and providing protection to settlers.

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

If a person supported the Revolution, he may be mentioned in records as a rebel, patriot, or Whig. Those who opposed the Revolution were Loyalists or Tories.

Patriots-- Service and pension records and indexes for patriots are available on film at the National Archives and the Family History Library. For lists of Revolutionary War soldiers from Alabama, see:

Lineages for Revolutionary War soldiers listing descendants and spouses, are found in:

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 Alabama is available online:

The Loyalist Era, 1775–1789--Loyalists are those residents of the British North American Colonies who did not join the American Revolution between 1775 and 1783 but remained loyal to the king of England. In the strictest sense, Loyalists are only those who served in a Loyalist corps in the Thirteen Colonies. The American Loyalists who actually served the Crown must be distinguished from the more numerous "late Loyalists" who came from the United States beginning in about 1790 for land or other economic opportunities.

During the war and especially at its close, some Loyalists went to Britain or other colonies, but many fled to Canada. There is no master list of all the names of American Loyalists who came to Canada. Historians do not agree on the total number. Some sources say fewer than 20,000, others say more than 40,000. A head count in peninsular Nova Scotia in 1784 showed about 17,000 members of Loyalist families in that area alone, but some Loyalists had already left there for other places in British North America, and a few hundred more were to arrive in Nova Scotia in 1785.

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. During the war, Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory with a small part of West Florida. Few men from that area fought in the war, though American forces captured the area of Mobile from the Spanish and defeated the Creek Indians. After the war, veterans from other states moved to Alabama.  Alabama became a territory in 1817.

There are helpful nationwide records for soldiers of the War of 1812. For more information, see United States in the War of 1812.

Chief Menawa, (c.1765-c.1835), Muscogee (Creek) tribe, Alabama

Explanation of the Major Record Types:

For records of War of 1812 soldiers, see:

War of Texas Independence (1835–1836)

Mexican War (1846-1848)

The Mexican War was caused by the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states. Records of Mexican War veterans might exist in a state where the veteran later resided.

To find information about soldiers serving from Alabama see:

Click on these links to learn more about the Mexican War and about Mexican War pension records.

Florida War (1855-1858)

Civil War (1861–1865)

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Indian Wars (1780s-1890s)

Creek War (1813-1814)

A card index of Indian War soldiers is:

  • Creek Wars 1813-1814
  • Battle of Burnt Corn July 27, 1813

Second Creek War (1836–1837)

Second Seminole War (Florida War) (1836-1843)

Cherokee Disturbances and Removal (1836-1839)

The above collection is also available online:

Spanish-American War (1898)>

The Spanish-American War was largely fought in Cuba and the Philippines. Spanish-American War records might exist in the state from which the soldier served or in a state where the veteran later resided.

Indexes

Click on the link to learn more about the Spanish American War.

World War I (1917-1918)

World War I was a global war fought on multiple continents with several nations involved. Over four million men and women served from the United States.

Draft Records

Service records

There are also Alabama World War I service records, prepared after the war:

Rosters. For a published roster of soldiers who died in the war see:

Casualties. The Alabama Gold Star Files is a free database that lists service people who died during the war, or who had been awarded distinguished service recognition. The name "Gold Star" was derived from the gold stars awarded to mothers of service people who lost their lives. Information for this database was supplied by relatives of the deceased individual. Photos and newspaper articles may be included. The amount of information may vary, including:

  • Name
  • Branch of service
  • Race
  • Town
  • County
  • Bulletin information (taken from “Official U.S. Bulletin”)
  • Other information

World War II (1941-1945)

Draft Registrations

On April 27, 1942, the Selective Service conducted the fourth of six draft registrations related to WWII. The "World War II Selective Service Draft Cards: Fourth Registration, 1942" is often referred to as the “Old Man’s Registration” or the “Old Man’s Draft" because it included men with a date of birth from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897. Since there is overlap in the WWI and WWII Selective Service registration, men born in the years 1877 to 1900 may have registered twice and have both WWII and WWI draft records.

Also available at:

Casualties

Other Records


World War II United States Military Records provides additional information.

Korean War (1950–1953)

The Korean War was a conflict between North Korea (and its communist allies) and South Korea (with support of the United Nations, primarily the United States). See the Korean War wiki article for information on records and their availability.

Vietnam War (1964–1972)

The Vietnam War was a conflict between North Vietnam (and its communist allies) and South Vietnam (with support of its anti-communist allies, including the United States). See the Vietnam War wiki article for information on records and their availability.

Militia Records

Besides regular service, Alabama men served in the militia:

Military records are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:

ALABAMA — MILITARY HISTORY
ALABAMA — MILITARY RECORDS
ALABAMA — MILITARY RECORDS- [WAR]
ALABAMA, [COUNTY] — MILITARY RECORDS
ALABAMA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] — MILITARY RECORDS

References

  1. Name Search at Genealogical.com is a comprehensive name index to 638 books and CDs published or reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company (now Genealogical.com). For a complete list of the works included, see Publications in Name Search at Genealogical.com
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