Massachusetts Military Records
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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.FHL book 974.4 M24d
- Bodge, George M. Soldiers in King Philip's War. Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991. FHL 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. FHL 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.
- "Register of the Massachusetts Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1893-1917" (Google Books) (Worldcat) - lists women who are members of the society and a description of the ancestors military or political service.
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, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783, Index.
- Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 17 Volumes. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter Printing, 1896-1908. FHL book 974.4 M23m; films 238343-59 and FHL 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. FHL 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. FHL films 840256-406
- Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1969. FHL 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. FHL 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. FHL films 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.
- 1805 - 1845 - Massachusetts Revolutionary War Bounty Land Applications 1805-1845 at FamilySearch — images
The 1813 Pension List:
- 1813 Pension List (New Horizons Genealogy)
The 1818 Pensioners of the United States:
- 1818 Pensioners of the United States (New Horizons Genealogy)
The 1820 Pension List:
- 1820 Pension List (New Horizons Genealogy)
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 of Massachusetts, which includes Revolutionary War soldiers and heirs of War of 1812 casualties, is available online.
- Report from the Secretary of War... Vol. I (Google Books)
- The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. I (Ancestry) ($)
Revolutionary War Supporters
'"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)
- Honor Roll of Massachusetts Patriots Heretofore Unknown... (Google Books)
- Honor Roll of Massachusetts Patriots Heretofore Unknown... (American Wars)
- Honor Roll of Massachusetts Patriots Heretofore Unknown... (Genealogycenter.info)
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, Massachusetts in the War of 1812, for information concerning military records, histories, links to relevant web sites, etc. for Massachusetts.
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.
- Mexican War Index to Pension Files, 1887–1926. (NARA T317). FHL films 0537000–13 Alphabetically arranged and includes the veteran’s name, rank, and unit; names of dependents; date of filing and application; certificate numbers; act filed under; and state from which application was made. Also available at:
- United States, Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
- United States, Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
- Robarts, William Hugh. Mexican War Veterans : A Complete Roster of the Regular and Volunteer Troops in the War Between the United States and Mexico, from 1846-1848… Washington, D.C. : Brentano’s, 1887. FHL book 973 M2rwh Digital version available at Internet Archive.
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 regiments for the soldiers. Then you can check the Wiki regiment pages to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.
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.
- United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (NARA T288). (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. The index covers veterans of the Civil War, Spanish‑American War, Philippine Insurrection, Boxer Rebellion (1900 to 1901), and the regular Army, Navy, and Marine forces. (Learn more.)
- United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
- Harry E. Webber, comp. "Twelve Months with the Eighth Massachusetts Infantry in the Service of the United States". Salem, MA. Newcomb and Gauss, Printers, 1908. (Google Books) (Ancestry)-($)
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.
- United States. Selective Service System. Massachusetts, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1987–1988. FHL film 1684875 (first of 162 films) Also available at:
- United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 at FamilySearch — index and images
- United States, YMCA World War I Service Cards, 1917-1919 at FamilySearch — index and images
See WWI Draft Records for more information.
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. FHL film 1544205 (first of 15 films).
World War II (1941-1945)
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.
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse) (FamilySearch) - free
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (images with partial index) (FamilySearch) - free
- Also available at:
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.
- You can search several military databases at Footnote ($)
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Sons of the American Revolution
- American Wars
- New Horizons Genealogy
- My Massachusetts Genealogy
- Massachusetts Military Records
- Massachusetts Genealogy--Military Records
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.