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
you can narrow your list by adding one more search term for death date. For example for WW II you would add individuals who died after the war started, in this case after 1940.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment. Yes, the search conditions can be changed. Legacy 8 allows for 3 conditions at a time, so in order to put in the death date you suggest, I would have to eliminate one of the other conditions. Of course, the gender could be eliminated, the list could be saved and then you can add those results to the new list. We have so many wonderful options.Delete
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One caveat to putting a death date in the search: it also eliminates anyone who doesn't have a known death date.Delete
You are absolutely correct. There are all sorts of ways to create these lists, using many different parameters. I'm certainly having fun and I've only begun.Delete
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Use your example three search items first, then TAG those results with x tag and do another search for x tag + Died after...Delete
I even compare those to everyone with a "Military Service" event already created.
The POWER of Legacy search!!
I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/09/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-september_18.html
Have a wonderful weekend!
Woohoo! Thanks so much Jana :)Delete
I love this tip! I would have never thought about doing this. Thank you so much!!!ReplyDelete
You're very welcome. I'm working on my first list and it is leading me to all sorts of discoveries besides military service.Delete
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Thanks for the lesson - I guess I didn't realize the power of Legacy's search capabilities. BTW, I grew up in Livonia and our next-door neighbors were Halls. One son played QB for U Penn, and the other for Michigan. Any relation? I looked over your pedigree and did not see any links to my folks - Casebeer/Casebere from Coldwater & where MI/OH/IN come together. Anyway, thanks again for the post.ReplyDelete
Hi Barry. Yes, the search capabilities in Legacy are very powerful. Limited pretty much by our imagination as to how to ask it to search. My husband's Halls have no connection in Michigan. But, I''m certainly familiar with Livonia and the other cities in the outskirts of Detroit. I have many cousins and nieces still living there. I just love Michigan :)Delete
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The Birth Year of Veterans is very helpful. However, In tracing a picture of my great-uncle in his military uniform, I became aware of another military battle, taking place over four years, which was known as the Mexican Expedition (1913–1916). This may fill in gaps for some genealogists who were tracing relatives serving in the military during this time frame. Below is a very brief summary but a lot more can be found on the internet under Mexican Expedition or Pancho Villa.ReplyDelete
In 1913, United States President William Howard Taft sent a large military force into Texas and stationed them along the Rio Grande to protect Americans in the region. This show of American military force caused Mexican militants to redirect their violence from their own countrymen to Americans. In 1913, when Woodrow Wilson became President, he denounced the new revolutionary government in Mexico and refused to recognize it as the legitimate government. As a result of his position, violence toward Americans intensified and there were incidents of murder, robbery, kidnapping for ransom and property destruction.
In response to the violence, President Wilson sent 4,800 Regular Army troops under General John “Blackjack” Pershing to defend the border towns and their citizens. On February 24, 1913, fighting commenced along the border near Brownsville, Texas and on March 2, Mexicans attacked U.S. troops along the border near Douglas, Arizona. Ultimately more than 10,000 men—virtually every available unit of the Regular Army ---- was committed to the expedition either in Mexico or its supporting units at Columbus.The struggle for control continued throughout 1914.
Longstanding resentments simmered between the United States and Mexico, boiling over in 1915. An increasing number of border incidents early in 1916 culminated in an invasion of American territory on 8 March, 1916.
On June 18, 1916, President Wilson mobilized the National Guard. Before the National Guard could be mobilized and sent to the southwest, soldiers had to be gathered and equipment distributed. War would probably have been declared but for the critical situation in Europe. Even so, virtually the entire Regular Army was involved, and most of the National Guard had been Federalized and concentrated on the border before the end of the affair.
Thank you for taking the time to write about that conflict. I wasn't aware of it. Are you aware of any records available for those who may have served during the Expedition? I'm going to take a look on Fold3 and see if they have records.Delete
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