When researching in military records, it is helpful to determine when and where in the armed service a soldier served, and whether he or she was in the enlisted ranks or an officer. Clues may be found in family stories, old newspaper clippings, correspondence, scrapbooks, journals or diaries, service medals and memorabilia, and photographs of the soldier in uniform. The grave marker of a veteran may contain information about military service as well. Military records may have been created in peacetime or during time of war, depending on the record type, and you may even find military records for ancestors who never served. For example, the U.S. World War I Draft Registrations include records for 24 million men, both immigrant and U.S. citizens, who were born between about 1872 and 1900. Many of these men were never called up for service.
Military records include draft or service records, pension records, prisoner rolls and histories. These records can help you find enlistment dates, learn about famous battles, locate gravesites of war veterans and spouses, and discover the unique stories of military service that help you discover the heroes in your family history.
You will often find fathers, siblings, or other family members who served in the military. You can learn when and where your ancestor enlisted, discover where they are buried, read the history of their unit and learn who was waiting for them back home.