United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Access the records: United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898 .
This is an index for the year 1898 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.
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 link from the collection landing page.
Information found in this collection may include:
- Soldier's name
- Rank and military unit
- Date of entry into 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
To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.
If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection image by image.
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Surname Range" which takes you to the images
Look at the images one by one. Again you will need to compare the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.
Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
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. For example:
- 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.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
- Military Records: Guide to Genealogical Matters
- Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines of the Spanish-American War: The Legacy of USS Maine
Related Wiki Articles
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: United States Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898
When you copy information from a record, you should 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 keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Adjutant General's Office. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.