Military records can be one of the best resources we find for our ancestors. Whether it’s a draft registration, a pension file or a service record, they can tell us a lot about that ancestor.
Here are some of the things you may find in a military record:
- Date of birth
- Names of parents
- Date of marriage, name of spouse & marital status
- Names and ages and/or date of births of children
- Places of residence
- Physical characteristics
- Names of other relations or acquaintances may be found in pension files
- Date & place of death
- Place of burial
SO HOW CAN WE FIND OUT WHICH OF OUR ANCESTORS MIGHT HAVE PARTICIPATED IN WHICH WAR?
I use Legacy 8 as my software database and this is the method I used. I’m sure other software programs have similar finding aids.
The first thing I referred to was a list that I located on Ancestry.com last year. Here is a link to the post: http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2014/04/23/what-war-did-my-ancestor-serve-in/
(CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT)
My next step was to use the “Search” capabilities of Legacy 8 by beginning here:
For a detailed, step by step lesson on how to create your search criteria, please see my post here - Legacy 8 - The Search Function - What Can You Find?
In this case I used the following criteria for possible World War I veterans:
NOTE: Of course there were women who served during the wars. Especially the later wars. However, for now I wanted to concentrate on the primary possibilities, which are the men.
Now I actually have a list I can use for each of the wars. I can check the list one by one and look for military records. Rather than my usual method of remembering to do that as I’m researching a particular person.
I can indicate in my To-Do list in Legacy that I have completed this task. Or, I could make a notation in the ancestor’s “research notes.” Or you could keep track some other way. Because some of the lists are multiple pages, I would not personally print them out. You might choose to. I did create a PDF version of each list, which you can do directly from the “Print” option at the bottom of the page of names.
Here is a sample of the first page of a list I converted to PDF format:
Here is a compilation of how many names appear on each list that I created.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR = 90
CIVIL WAR = 411
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR = 573
WAR OF 1812 = 118
WORLD WAR I = 421
WORLD WAR II = 554
KOREAN WAR = 243
VIETNAM WAR = 160
That’s a grand total of 2570 men who could possibly have military records. I will be able to quickly eliminate from each list, those who died at birth, died as infants or before they were military age. There could be several who overlap and could have served in more than one war. My database contains 4719 individuals.
Now to determine where to start and how to proceed. Do you think this is a valuable list? Is it something you could use? Please share your results with me if you choose to create such lists.
OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST
Legacy 8 - CENSUS LIST - How Will I Use It To Search for My Family?
Copyright © 2015 Diane Gould Hall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION