In recognition of the upcoming Veteran’s Day holiday (November 11), we are highlighting veterans’ records held at the National Archives through two videos and two written finding aids. Hopefully, you will take a few minutes to remember the veterans in your family, and maybe also utilize some of these resources to learn more about them.
National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO
This Inside the Vaults video short illustrates the primary purpose of the National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO — to preserve the nation’s military personnel files in perpetuity and to make them available to veterans and other interested parties.
Civil War Widows Pension Digitization Project
The National Archives holds 1.28 million case files of pension applications from family members of deceased Civil War Union soldiers. This Inside the Vaults video short follows a team of more than sixty volunteers, led by National Archives staff, which is digitizing the files and placing them online for researchers and the general public for the Civil War Widows Pension Project.
How can military records help in my genealogy research? This is a short and to the point overview of military records from the Revolutionary War to the present.
An Overview of Records at the National Archives Relating to Military Service
When researchers contact the National Archives to conduct research on their ancestors, they often ask about records relating to military service. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The inquiry, in fact, leads to more questions: What branch of service did the person serve in? Do you know the conflict they fought in or their dates of service? Was the person in the Regular Army or a volunteer unit? Did the individual serve as an officer or enlisted man? Did the person apply for or receive a pension? These questions are important, for the answers help determine which search paths to follow.
This is obviously only a very short introduction to military resources. Many more (and additional “From the Vault” videos) are available at: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/.