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 WorldVitalRecords.com 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.
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.