Using Military Records

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Finding and Using Military Records

We honor armed forces everywhere and their families. Thank you for your sacrifice.

Military service produces lots of records. Genealogists love records.

Draft Records
Even without enrolling in the armed forces millions of people are part of their records through draft registration cards. For example, in the US all men, with very few exceptions, are required to register with Selective Service, even though the draft is not currently in effect. Such registrations are the first of many sources of military data in the United States.

I found my colleague’s grandfather, a WWII flight engineer, at in our WWII army enlistment records collection.

At WorldVitalRecords we have many military collections. These records include information from many wars.

A closer look -

Upon release from active duty the military service member will then be eligible, as a Veteran, to apply for benefits. The benefits to the soldier are many and varied. From health, education, housing, emotional support, and many other services the veteran will be creating a massive paper trail that becomes part of his Veteran status.

From recruitment to training and active duty records are created. Eventually all personnel become veterans. Each step brings more records.

Unique Military Record Collections

With nearly 300 million military records WorldVitalRecords provides some very interesting and unique source of military history and data. Here are some example collections and information:

Air Force Register Extracts
I have a living distant relative who is an Air Force Veteran
Using the WVR Air Force Register Extracts I can find out a lot about his military service including:
Full Name, Service Number, Promotion List Number, Perm Grade (pay grade), Date of Permanent Grade, Promotion List Service Date, Date of Birth, Temporary Grade, Date of temporary Grade and Pay Date.
While not all of this information may be useful to my genealogy it can certainly add color to a family history.

Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States during the War of the Rebellion
With a title like this you’re bound to find some great stuff in these records.
While not every genealogist will have tie in to this war, otherwise known as the civil war, those that do will find a historic listing of the relative fighting in an epoch time in our nations history.
The information included in these records are:
Company, Regiment, Name and Rank, Date of Enlistment, Date of Muster in this Organization, also includes remarks which include such items as death information, discharged, sickness desertions and more.

Military Records versus Veteran’s records
In searching for my Grandfather in the WWII archives I could find only his WWII enlistment record. He enlisted in Los Angeles on February 12, 1943.

In 2005 I attended the funeral and military salute for my grandfather. He was buried in a civilian cemetery in Idaho. I tried to find him via the national cemetery locator tool, and had no luck, probably because the cemetery is not an officially recognized veterans cemetery. Using the locator tool I was able to find the grave of his father at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, an official Veteran Cemetery.

I have often desired to know more about my Grandfather’s military service as well as that of his father. Requesting those records can be done by the next of kin – if within 62 years of military discharge. (Next of kin meaning within the same immediate family – spouse, brother or sister – son, daughter.) I cannot request his records as a next of kin – but since it was over 62 years since discharge I can follow the public records process.

Standard Form 180 – Public Records Military Request

Standard Form 180 – yes, really called that – can be found by going to this link, This form is required to request the military history of anyone discharged more than 62 years ago. The request is not lengthy but will require some dates and military information in order to have better success in locating the requested service member’s file.

Also after the 62 year mark the records go from being free to having a charge. I called the National Archives, NARA, and was told that I should fax my request form – Standard Form 180 – which I have done and that they would send me an invoice. They expect the cost to be between $25 and $70. I’ll have to wait up to 14 weeks to find out. Once I pay the fees I will receive the files in another few weeks.

In summary, 62 years after death or discharge records are sent to NARA. Before that they remain in possession of the military and can only be accessed only by the military individual or the next of kin.

Thank you to our US military and military around the world for their dedication and service.

6 Responses to “Using Military Records”

  1. Bob mason says:

    I,m a Canadain…& I can not get records for my uncle from th e 1st ww that is my problem nor can I get records for my friend whosuffered a stroke his father passed away in 1959 & he is the only serving family member

  2. Tony Bosque says:

    How can i obtain my Grandfather’s WWI army records?

  3. Drina Seron Collins says:

    I would like to see the documents for my father Enrique Espinosa Seron who served in WWII. He was stationed in Cassino, Italy and was involved in the war campaign. He lived in Soledad, CA. I was about 3 or 4 years old so I don’t have any information about him. I believe he had a Purple Heart as a result of injuries suffered during the war.

    Could you let me know what information I can obtain with reference to my father? Thank you.

  4. Sandra says:

    Could you please do a similar article on Finding and Using British Military Records, as my family’s military personnel are all British. Thank you

  5. Pierre says:

    My father, bn 1893 in Odessa (Ru) was during WWI, POW in german camp.
    How and where can i find sime info?

  6. I found info of my fathers army records by writing to Ministry of Defence, Bourne Avenue,Hayes,Middlesex.UB3 1RF. I also found a list of soldiers who fought in the Boer War with our surname in “find my past” Defence only give out info with evidence of who you are .As I live in Australia I had to send a copy my birth certificate and marriage certificate and I think also my passport number.Hope this helps you Sandra.

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