Military Service & Pension Records


Military records are an important genealogical source. Service records are likely to provide you with your ancestor’s physical description, places of enrollment and discharge, and may include his birth date, birth place, and residence at time of enlistment. In order to get a pension, a widow had to prove her marriage and heirs would have to prove relationship. A soldier's pension or bounty land application often included details of his postwar migration. There are many kinds of minor records that may help you extend your ancestry; just to name a few, reports made by officers, diaries of other soldiers in the company, military prison records.

Although we seem to pay most attention to the Revolutionary, Civil and World Wars in the United States, there is almost no time in American history without a military conflict. Chances are high that you will find your ancestor or his siblings in the military during the Indian Wars, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War or others wars and conflicts. Your ancestors may have service in the regular military between the wars or have served in more than one war. He might have served for the local militia, a regional or state organization, or for the federal government.

In the Civil War file for one of Janna's ancestors, she found a page ripped from the family Bible listing her ancestor's marriage and giving all the children's names and birth dates. In another Civil War file, Janna found a deposition by the wife's sister that provided the clue, to her maternal line.

Help Me!  Determine in which wars my ancestor or his siblings might have participated.

Help Me!  Find out whether my ancestor served in a war and obtain the records.

Help Me!  Compile the records needed to apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), or other patriotic organization.

Help Me!  Find out if my ancestor was buried in a National Cemetery.

Help Me!  Find a regimental history.

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.