Saturday, March 21, 2015

Military Records, State by State




Wars are really bad for humankind, but really good for family researchers. Armies keep lots of records. One underappreciated (and of course, free) resource for military records are online state archives. Some of them are phenomenal.

Here are some state military records to check out.

Alabama
  • Civil War Soldiers database.
  • World War I Goldstar database.  This database of WWI dead from Alabama 
Alaska at War!

Arkansas
  • Confederate Pensions
  • Confederate Home (as in Old Soldiers Home)
  • Arkansas Civil War site
California:
  • Calisphere 1939-1945
  • World War II
Colorado:
  • Vietnam Deaths
  • World War I Civilian Service Questionnaires
  • Spanish-American War Volunteers
  • Civil War Casualties
Connecticut:
  • Fitch's Home for Soldiers Database -- Civil War and Spanish American War
  • World War I Veterans Database
Delaware:
  • Muster rolls, Civil War and WWII
Florida:
  • World War I service cards
  • Confederate Pension Application Files
Georgia:
  • Militia Enrollment Lists, 1864
  • Confederate Pension Applications
  • Spanish-American War Service Summary Cards
Hawaii:
  • World War I Service Records
Illinois:
  • Slavery and emancipation database
  • Veteran Records, including those from wars you don't often hear about, like the Black Hawk War, or the Winnebago War.  
Indiana:
  • Military Records (citations, veterans home records, Mexican War veterans)
  • Civil War era telegrams
  • Indiana Muster, Pay and Receipt Rolls, War of 1812
Iowa in World War II (press clippings)

Kansas:
  • World War I, 1914-1919
  • World War II, 1939-1945
  • WWI Alien Enemies list, of foreign born non-citizens living in Kansas
  • Civil War Soldiers from Kansas, with name look-ups
  • WWII Kansas Veterans Lookup
Kentucky:
  • Survivors of the Bataan Death March Oral History Project
Maine:
  • Revolutionary War land grants and pensions
  • Civil War records, including narrative histories, photos, muster rolls and burials
Maryland:
Massachusetts:
  • Fire and Thunder: Massachusetts Blacks in the Civil War
Michigan:
  • Military Service Records from the Civil War
Minnesota:
Mississippi:
  • The Freedmen's Bureau searchable index includes the records of more than 30,000 ex-slaves who entered into contracts with farmers after the Civil War.
Missouri:
  • Civil War resources
  • Civil War Provost Marshal Index Database
  • Soldiers' Records: War of 1812 - World War I
Nebraska:
  • Civil War Veterans (includes name searching)
  • WWI Draft Registration Cards
New Jersey:
  • Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Civil War Treasury Vouchers, 1861-1865 has more than 100,000 records of payments to soldiers for final pay, or to families of deceased soldiers, as well as for hardship. 
  • Civil War U.S. Colored Troops Service Files
  • Registers of Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers
New York:
  • Harlem Hellfighters WWI Muster Rolls
  • Military Patents
  • New York State Civil War database
North Carolina:
  • Civil War Resources
  • World War I
North Dakota:
  • Veterans History Project
Ohio:
  • War of 1812 Roster
Oklahoma:
  • Oklahoma Confederate Pension Records (soldier and spouse's names) 
  • Military Deaths-World War I to the Korean War.
Oregon:
  • Oregon at War: World War I and the Oregon Experience
  • Life on the Home Front: Oregon Responds to World War II
  • Pearl Harbor Remembered: Oregonians and the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Pennsylvania:
  • PA National Guard Veteran’s Card File, 1867-1921
  • Civil War Veterans’ Card File
  • Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File
  • World War I Service Medal Application Cards
  • Spanish American War Veterans’ Card File of United States Volunteers
  • Mexican Border Campaign Veterans’ Card File
  • Militia Officers’ Index Cards, 1775-1800
South Carolina:
  • Confederate Pension Applications, 1919-1938
  • Militia Enrollments of 1869
South Dakota:
  • South Dakota National Guard Collection
  • Civil War Diary
  • Military Records
Tennessee:
  • Civil War Military Records
  • Civil War Soldier Photographs
  • Looking Back - The Civil War in Tennessee
  • Tennessee in World War I
  • Civil War Era Database -- Nearly 2,000 pamphlets and eight newspapers
  • Civil War Sourcebook -- Over 7,000 articles 
  • Military Records
  • Vietnam War
  • War of 1812
  • World War I
Texas:
  • Texas Adjutant General Service Records: Military and Ranger Records, 1836-1935
  • Confederate Pension Applications, 1899-1975
Utah:
  • Indian War Service Affidavits (1909-1919).
Virginia:
  • Confederate Disability Applications and Receipts
  • Confederate Pension Rolls, Veterans and Widows, name searchable
  • Dunmore’s War (Virginia Payrolls/Public Service Claims, 1775)
  • Revolutionary War Bounty Warrants
  • Revolutionary War Rejected Claims
  • Revolutionary War Virginia State Pensions
  • VMI Archives historical rosters database, all enrolled students, 1839-1935
Washington:
  • Military Records
West Virginia:
  • Civil War
  • Civil War Medals.
  • Militia Database, lists Civil War soldiers who fought for the Union
  • The Veterans Memorial Archives Database lists more than 10,000 veterans who died in 20th century conflicts.  
Wisconsin:
  • Wisconsin in the Civil War
  • Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust


Most state archives have other pertinent records -- census, deaths, land grants and so on. Check out the full set of available materials at Digital State Archives.

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Visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools. And don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Revisiting FamilySearch



FamilySearch, where the 21st century meets the past

It's time to check back in to FamilySearch.org.

The site has grown enormously in the past few years and become considerably more user-friendly. For any serious family history researcher, it is an essential resource. But it's also worth a visit for the merely curious, for searching for a lost friend or relative, or simply to marvel at the depth of the collection here.

FamilySearch, a service of the Latter Day Saints, bills itself as "...the largest genealogical organization in the world".  I don't know exactly how you go about measuring something like that, but still, their stats are impressive: more than 3 billion names on record, almost 5,000 service centers around the world and even 24/7 telephone support. And it's all free!

The main tool at FamilySearch is their Search function, which quickly peruses billions of records from hundreds of sources ranging from Alabama Births and Christenings to Zimbabwe Death Notices. There are specialty searches as well, such as a quick look through 150,000 online genealogy books.

FamilySearch is also a place where you and other family members can collaborate to build a family tree, store documents and photos, and ask for help from other researchers. And naturally, there's an app for your phone.

You don't need to register at the site to get started, although registration (which, of course, is free) lets you save and post in certain places that wouldn't otherwise be available.


 Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com as well as Newspapers.com and  NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Forces Reunited: Searching UK Military Records


There are two things I like to find in a family history research tool: (1) a large set of names to search on, ideally, a million or more, and (2) a price tag of absolute zero! You just can't beat free family history searches.

The Military Records Search at Forces Reunited does the job on both counts, though it just squeaks by on #2...you can search for free, and get preliminary results on members of the UK military, both present and past.  But if you want the full record, you'll need to subscribe to the Forces Reunited site.

Still, a million-plus records makes for a pretty good, powerful search, and the free results are enough to let you know if there's more information in the dataset that makes it worthwhile to sign up for the full service.

Masters of the Hound ca WWI

The records themselves are a combination of publicly available information, along with information voluntarily submitted directly by members of the Forces Reunited website.  These latter records are a large set of data in their own right, and are not going to be found anywhere else.

There are also good military history search tools at the site for information on different services (Army, Air Force, Marines, etc), or individual corps, regiments, units, or conflicts.

Earlier posts here at Free Genealogy Tools have covered other military databases in the UK that are good family history resources, including the Debt of Honour Register (WWI and WWII deaths), and, stepping back a few centuries, Soldiers and Knights from the 14th and 15th centuries.



Don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.