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Extras << Military Records <<

Military Records at the National Archives

The National Archives is the primary repository for U.S. military service and pension records for all five services: the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. Records up through approximately 1902 are housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (with copies available at local branches), while most 20th century records that were not destroyed in the 1973 fire can be found at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. If you believe that some of your ancestors served in the U.S. military, the following sites will help you in your research:

  • For general information about records available through the National Archives:
    www.archives.gov
  • Copies of military service and pension records can be ordered by mail from the facility which holds the records. Request forms and ordering details can be found at:
    http://www.archives.gov/research_room/obtain_copies/veterans_service_records.html
  • To see samples of military service records available through NARA:
    http://www.archives.gov/research_room/obtain_copies/military_records_in_arc.html
  • To learn more about the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis:
    http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis.html
  • For more details about the military personnel and medical record collections at NPRC:
    http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records.html

    Military Records Available from the National Archives
    Branch of Service Dates
    Volunteers Military service performed by persons serving during an emergency and whose service was considered to be in the Federal interest: 1775-1902
    Regular Army
  • Enlisted personnel: 1789 - October 31, 1912
  • Officers: 1789 - June 30, 1917
  • Navy
  • Enlisted personnel: 1789 - 1885
  • Officers: 1789 - 1902
  • Marine Corps
  • Enlisted personnel: 1789 - 1904
  • Some officers: 1789 - 1895
  • Coast Guard Persons who served in predecessor agencies to the U.S. Coast Guard; i.e., the Revenue Cutter Service (Revenue Marine), Life-Saving Service, and the Lighthouse Service: 1791-1919
    Confederate States Persons who rendered military service for the Confederate States government in its armed forces: 1861 - 1865
    Veterans Records
  • Claims files for pensions based on Federal military service, 1775-1916
  • Bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on wartime service, 1775-1855
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