“The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”
- Calvin Coolidge
When I find out that someone that I’ve been searching for served in the military, I wake up. When I learn that they died while serving, my heart drops every time. Knowing that someone was probably far from home and friends and loved ones makes the loss harder. Imagining the news of the death as reported to next of kin brings me to that place where those who have grieved always arrive unprepared, sometimes kicking and screaming, and never leave of their own free will.
Searching military records is hard for me, but it’s also exciting and extremely rewarding.
You might not think so, but military records can be full of information that can fill gaps in some people’s history, making a more complete (not perfect or finished!) submission of a family tree to FamilySearch.org easier.
Links to some of my military related posts:
FYI: I’ve ordered records online (for my father), and I’ve found quite few on Ancestry.com. So as not to overwhelm you, I’ve only included National Archive links in this post.
From the National Archives Website:
- The National Archives holds Federal military service records from the Revolutionary War to 1912 in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. See details of holdings.
- Military records from WWI – present are held in the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), in St. Louis, Missouri, See details of holdings
- The National Archives does not hold state militia records. For these records, you will need to contact the appropriate State Archives.
Links from the National Archives
Request Military Records
- Request records online with eVetRecs
- Other ways to obtain service records
- Learn about military service records (e.g. DD Form 214)
- Special notice regarding requests for copies of military records
- What’s available online?
- Locate older (pre-WW I) military service records
- Using military records for genealogical research
- Other military and veterans records