Genealogy: Military Genealogy

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Finding Military Genealogy Records

 

The National Archives divides the location of U.S. Federal military personnel record holdings as follows:

The National Archives, Washington, D.C., holds records relating to:

·         Volunteer enlisted men and officers whose military service whose service was considered to be in the federal interest, 1775 to 1902

·         Regular Army enlisted personnel, serving 1789–October 31, 1912

·         Regular Army officers, serving 1789–June 30, 1917

·         U.S. Navy enlisted personnel, serving 1798–1885

·         U.S. Navy officers, serving 1798–1902

·         U.S. Marine Corps enlisted personnel, serving 1798–1904

·         Some U.S. Marine Corps officers, serving 1798–1895

·         Those who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service, 1791–1919

The National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri, holds military personnel files of:

·         U.S. Army officers separated after June 30, 1917, and enlisted personnel separated after October 31, 1912

·         U.S. Air Force officers and enlisted personnel separated after September 1947

·         U.S. Navy officers separated after 1902 and enlisted personnel separated after 1885

·         U.S. Marine Corps officers separated after 1895 and enlisted personnel separated after 1904

    • U.S. Coast Guard officers separated after 1928 and enlisted personnel separated after 1914; civilian employees of Coast Guard predecessor agencies such as Revenue Cutter Service, Lifesaving Service, and Lighthouse Service, 1864–1919

 NOTE: On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at National Personnel Records Center destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files.

Branch

Personnel and Period Affected

Estimated Loss

Army

Personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960

80%

Air Force

Personnel discharged, September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)

75%

 

Other Resources:

  • Fold3 provides convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Fee based.