RecordHow To Find Grandfather's Military Records

How To Find Grandfather’s Military Records


What Information Youll Get

Findmypast Expert Help – Military Records

Service records date from:

  • 1750 for Foot Guards
  • 1920 for the RAF
  • 1926 for Royal Navy including Royal Marines

Each service record may include:

  • surname, first name, service number, rank and regiment or corps
  • place and date of birth
  • date they joined and left the armed forces
  • date of death, if they died in service
  • good conduct medals
  • details about their career, for example the units they served in

You can only get details about their career 25 years after the date they died unless you have consent from their immediate next of kin.

In some cases little or no information is available about someones military service. For example, Home Guard records may only include their personal details from when they enlisted.

Your request might be refused if it could harm the security or operations of the armed forces.

What To Look At

War diaries can help to build up a picture of daily service If all you have to begin with are scant details – perhaps just a name – one of the best places to start is the medal rolls. Virtually every serving soldier, sailor or airman qualified for a campaign medal and that entitlement is recorded within the rolls. One of the most popular series of records used by genealogists is the World War One Campaign Medals Index, which can be searched online at The National Archives website . As with all such searches, common names may present problems.

Once you have identified which medals the serviceman was entitled to, you should be able to identify the campaigns he was engaged in and the regiment or units he belonged to. Armed with this information you may want to read the regimental war diary, which can help to build a daily picture of war service. The content of these diaries varies, but they often mention the battles in which the men were engaged as well as the more mundane duties required of a unit in the field. However, it is uncommon to find individuals other than officers mentioned by name unless they did something extraordinary most are included in the sometimes frustrating term ‘other ranks’. Even so, it is possible to identify quite precisely where a unit was at any given time during the war and what happened to it. Original war diaries can be found at TNA, and a growing collection is available on the TNA website.

Veterans Burial Benefits And Death Benefits At Private Cemeteries

Family members of some vets buried in private cemeteries may be able to get a veterans death benefit, or burial allowance. Eligible vets include those who received a VA pension or disability compensation when they were alive. The burial allowance can help pay for burial, funeral, and transportation costs.

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Canadian Military Service Records

Military service records are incredibly useful documents when you start to research your family tree. They often contain vital information that is sometimes hard to find from other sources, and they can help you to make important connections to build up your family tree. Sometimes just a single fact is all you need to open up a whole world of information about your relatives.

Military Records For Veterans Compensation

Fortify Your Family Tree: Taking a Do

To support disability claims of exposure to hazardous materials , numerous veterans are culling through Army morning reports, unit rosters, pay cards, Navy muster rolls, Captain logs/Navy Deck logs, etc. during their military service. For more information on military exposures, see the VA’s Military Exposure site: . ForBlue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans see.

At this time, VA continues to study the long-term health issues of deployed veterans and their exposure to burn pits used at military waste sites in Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, there is no compensation available for exposure to burn pits. For more information, see the VA’s Public Health site on Burn Pits at and related CRS products on VA health care and disability in the sources below.

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United States Civil War

Several thousand Canadians served as soldiers during the United States Civil War, most of them on the Northern side. For example, about 20,000 Canadians and former Canadians served in Michigan regiments. Canadian involvement in the United States Civil War is discussed in:

Winks, Robin W. Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years. 1960. Reprint. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1988.

Service Records

Service records of some Canadians have been abstracted in:

Johnson, Daniel F. The American Civil War: The Service Records of Atlantic Canadians with the State of Maine Volunteers. 2 vols. Saint John, N. B.: Daniel F. Johnson, 1995. It includes the following information about 2,400 soldiers: name, age, physical description, occupation, Canadian residence, Maine regiment, and service dates.

See United States Military Records for a discussion of other Civil War records.

What Is Military Service Record

A service record is a collection of either electronic or printed material which provides a documentary history of a persons activities and accomplishments while serving as a member of a given organization. Service records are most often associated with the military, but are commonly found in other groups,

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Where To Send My Request

You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives’ National Personnel Record Center . Be sure to use the address specified ” rel=”nofollow”> eVetRecs). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC.

NPRC Fax Number :

See Other Methods to Obtain your Military Service Records for more details, or see more information on access to the general public.

Special Note on Contacting by Email: Requests for military personnel records or information from them cannot be accepted by email at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 and Department of Defense directives require a written request, signed and dated, to access information from military personnel records. Our email address should only be used only to request general information or to submit compliments, complaints, or concerns.

NOTE: If you send messages using WebTV or a free-email service, you will not receive our response if your mailbox is full. Messages sent to full mailboxes are returned to us as “undeliverable.” You may wish to include your mailing address in your message so that we may respond via the U.S. Postal Service.

Who Must Register With Selective Service

How To Find Military Ancestors – Expert Q& A | Findmypast
  • Almost all men age 18-25 who are U.S. citizens or are immigrants living in the U.S. are required to register with Selective Service. Citizens must register within 30 days of turning 18. Immigrants must register within 30 days of arriving in the U.S.

  • Men in the U.S. on student, visitor, or diplomatic visas and men who are incarcerated are not required to register. For other exemptions and for transgender people, see the Who Must Register chart.

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How To Find And Request Military Records Online

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 Tags: aid and attendance, military, tips for seniors, VA programs, veterans, veterans benefits

If you are searching for the military records of a loved one, or need your own military records, there are several tools available to help you locate and request these documents. One of the best places to start is the National Archives, the government organization tasked with saving the most important documents, records, and photos from the U.S. government . Among these are the historical military personnel records of more than 100 million veterans, ranging back as far as pre-WWI.

Military personnel records can include DD 214s/Separation Documents, service personnel records found within the Official Military Personnel File , and medical records. These documents can be used for proving military service or as a valuable tool in genealogical research. These records become archival or available to the general public 62 years after the servicemembers separation date. Records younger than that are only available to the veteran or his or her next-of-kin .

The majority of these requests are paper-based and not available online, but the National Archives National Personnel Records Center has created several vehicles for helping veterans and family members request copies of their record. Requestors can use the online eVetRecs tool, submit an SF-180 Form by fax or mail, or even write a request letter to the NPRC .

Military Personnel Records Faq

1. How can I get a copy of my DD Form 214, Report of Separation ?

The DD Form 214, Report of Separation, is filed in the Official Military Personnel File . Most veterans and their next-of-kin can request copies of their DD Form 214 and other 20th Century military and medical personnel records online, via eVetRecs.

2. What form do I use to request information from military service records?

Please use the Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. Although not mandatory, using the SF-180 is the recommended method to send a request for military service information. This form captures all the necessary information to locate a record. Provide as much information on the form as possible and send copies of any service documents that you may have. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can also request copies of their DD Form 214 and other 20th Century military and medical personnel records online, via eVetRecs.

3. What information do I need to include in a request for military service records?

Certain basic information is needed to locate military service and medical records. For example, if you are requesting an Official Military Personnel File , you must include:

  • The Veteran’s complete name, as used in service

4. How can I get my medals or those of my family?

6. There is an ongoing “myth” that “10 million medical records” were found. Are these duplicates of the records that were burned?

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Forces War Service Records

You stand a good chance of finding what you are looking for right here on our website where you will find a huge number of individual service records. We have worked very hard to gather millions of these records to help you with your research, and we hope that this makes it easier for you to find the information you are looking for. Just start with the search bar that has been designed for easy searching, enter a name and see what you can find.

Online Veterans And Military Documents

Seeking my Grandfather

Veterans’ military service records and medical records are not online. However, veterans and next-of-kin can order copies of these records.How to request military service records

While most of our holdings are not online, a variety of military records, from photos to documents to searchable databases are available. Listed below are online collections of specific interest to veterans, their families and researchers. Additional online records may be found by searching the National Archives Catalog and Access to Archival Databases systems.

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‘what Did You Do In The War Grandad’

As the numbers of those who fought in the two world wars diminish, there is a danger that the answer to this question may not be forthcoming. It is all too easy, especially for young people who may not have a direct connection to the history of those events, to become bogged down in textbook statistics and forget that the names remembered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on headstones and memorials, or the faces that stare out at us from sepia-tinted photographs, relate to real people, called upon to do a difficult and sometimes terrible job.

…never forget the price paid for the freedoms we enjoy…

Gaining an insight into the lives of those who served and died in the two world wars, or those who survived, is a tangible way to ensure that we never forget the price paid for the freedoms we enjoy. But how does one go about such research in what can be, no pun intended, an information minefield?

Where To Find Army Service Records

Many records are only available online, sometimes on more than one site. We have listed the main sources but there may be others. Some records are free to view but others are available on either a subscription or pay per view basis .

The individuals rank, regiment and dates of service determine which set of records you need. If an individual was commissioned from the ranks, moved from the Household Cavalry or Guards to another regiment or served more than once, you may find service records in more than one set of files.

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Apply For The Records Of Someone Who’s Deceased

You can apply for a copy of someone elses service records if any of the following are true:

  • you were their immediate next of kin when they died, for example their spouse, parent or child
  • you have a family or general research interest – youll only have access to limited information if they died less than 25 years ago, unless youve got consent from their immediate next of kin

You can apply for records if they were in the Royal Navy , British Army, Royal Air Force or Home Guard.

If youre acting on behalf of the person, for example you have lasting power of attorney, follow the instructions for applying for your own records.

Official Unit Records And Published Unit Histories

Military Records on | Ancestry
  • Official government records documenting the operations of individual units are also preserved at the National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Unit records for World War I can be found in Archives I Textual Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408 telephone -501-5430.
  • Unit records for World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars are in the custody of the Archives II Textual Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001 telephone -713-7250.
  • Contact the National Archives and Records Administration for information on unit records pertaining to the Persian Gulf War.
  • Some published unit histories are available in the general book collections of the Library of Congress or at the military history centers maintained by the various branches of service.

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Soldiers Service Records 19141920

Search military records of non-commissioned officers and other ranks on and including service records , pension records and campaign medal cards.

These cover regular soldiers who may have enlisted as early as 1892 for 22 years service as well as a small number of stray service records of pre-war soldiers who did not serve from 19141920.

The records include:

See our guide to records of British prisoners of the First World War for details of the prisoner of war records available online.

Want To Request Family Members’ Military Records Here’s How It Works

Posted March 18, 2015 5:00 a.m. EDTUpdated July 13, 2018 2:03 p.m. EDT

Raleigh, N.C. When Miranda Dotson wanted to learn more about her late grandfather’s military service, she turned to the U.S. National Archives for help.

Dotson, a producer at WRAL-TV, filed a records request to see what medals her grandfather had received. What she found led to a sweet surprise for her family, especially her father.

The National Personnel Records Center holds the historical records of nearly 100 million veterans and responds to more than 1.4 million records requests each year, according to the National Archives.

The vast majority of those records are on paper and not available online. They can be used for things such as proving military service or as a tool in genealogical research.

Dotson wanted to find out more about her late grandfather, Jack, who served in the Army in World War II, Korea and North Africa. He retired as a sergeant major and died in 1998.

She learned that her grandfather was in the military police and was awarded more than a dozen medals, including a Purple Heart and two bronze stars. She was able to order the medals and surprise her father with them last year as a belated Fathers Day gift.

Requesting military records can be time-consuming but is worth the wait, according to Dotson, who said she started researching how to get her grandfathers records in August 2013.

How to request military records, awards and decorations

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Military Funeral Honors And Memorial Items

Almost all veterans can receive military funeral honors at no cost. They are also usually eligible for free memorial items including:

  • Headstones, markers, and medallions

If youre a veteran or the spouse of one, you can apply to learn if you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery. If you do, youll get a pre-need decision letter confirming your eligibility. This will make it much easier on your family when they schedule your burial.

Normally, the process to schedule a burial starts with verifying the deceased’s eligibility. To schedule a burial at a VA national cemetery, follow these steps.

Arlington National Cemetery

Eligibility for burial at Arlington National Cemetery is stricter than for other national cemeteries. Only active duty, military retirees, former prisoners of war, and recipients of the Purple Heart and other top awards may be buried at Arlington.

See how to schedule a burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

State Veterans Cemeteries

Requirements for burial in a state veterans cemetery are like those for VA cemeteries. They may also have residency requirements.

To schedule a burial at a state veterans cemetery, contact the cemetery directly.

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