Military Records Tips for Beginners

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>Portal:United States Military Records

Portal:United States Military Records

Tip 1. When would my ancestor have been recorded in a federal military record?

Your ancestor will probably appear in a federal military record if he:

  • Served in a state volunteer unit that was mustered into federal service during wartime.  Most men who served in wars before 1900 enlisted in state volunteer units.
  • Enlisted in the regular U.S. military forces during wartime or peacetime.
  • Served in a local militia or national guard unit that was mustered for federal service during an emergency.
  • Enrolled for the drafts for the Civil War, World War I, ora subsequent war and later enlisted or was drafted.

Tip 2. What kinds of information do I need to effectively use military records?

It is helpful to know:

  • War your ancestor may have served in.  You must know when your ancestor served in the military.  First determine the war or period in which your ancestor may hae served.  Remember the during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Americans served on both sides of the coflict.

Do a Place Search in the state and /or county that your ancestor was from and choose “military records” under topics in the Family History Library Catalog at