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Military records offer unique insight into the history of the United States dating back to colonial times. They can provide invaluable genealogical information to the many researchers who have family members that served in the U.S. military. The types of military records available include muster rolls, enlistment registers, pension applications, regimental histories, service records, and casualty lists. Veterans’ records, including those from the Grand Army of the Republic and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, may also provide additional insight into an ancestor’s military career.
The Archives of Michigan maintains a large collection of U.S. military records that can be used for historical and genealogical research. Titles may be located by searching ANSWER, the Archive’ online catalog available at answercat.org. One way to locate military resources on ANSWER by keyword is to enter the name of the war, followed by the type of record. Here are some additional suggestions to help maximize your search results:
- war 1812 pension
- grand army republic records
- civil war regimental histories
- mexican war service
- world war bonus
- revolutionary war registers
Here is a list of notable military resources available at the Archives of Michigan:
Barnett, Le Roy, and Roger Rosentreter. Michigan’s Early Military Forces: A Roster and History of Troops Activated Prior to the American Civil War. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003./UA 260 .M53 2003/
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Bounty and Donation Land Grants in British Colonial America. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2007./CS 68 .B63 2007/
Indian Wars Index to Pension Files, 1892-1926.12 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1959./Microfilm E 81 .U55 1959/
Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798-1892. 98 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1969./VE 23 .A33 M87 1969/
Neagles, James C. U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1994./E 181 .N43 1994/
Powell, William H., comp. List of Officers of the Army of the United States from 1779 to 1900. New York: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1900./U 11 .U5 P7/
Register of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914. 81 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1956./Microfilm E 181 .U5 1956/
Silliman, Sue Imogene, comp. Michigan Military Records, the D.A.R. of Michigan Historical Collections: Records of the Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan, the Pensioners of Territorial Michigan, and the Soldiers of Michigan Awarded the Medal of Honor. 1920. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969./F 565 .S58 1969/
Sumner, Esther Yu. Military Records at Ancestry.com. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2007./CS 49 .S86 2007/
White, Virgil D. Index to Old Wars Pension Files, 1815-1926. Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing, 1993./E 409.7 .W4 1993/
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants: Awarded by State Governments. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1996./E 255 .B66 1996/
General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers. 58 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1972./Microfilm E 255 .G36 1972/
Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. 17 vols. Boston, MA: Wright and Potter, 1896-1908./E 263 .M4 M4/
Pension Roll of 1835. 4 vols. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1992./E 255 .U53 1992/
Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. 138 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1976./Microfilm E 255 .R48 1976/
Selected Records from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files.898 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1969./Microfilm E 255.S45 1969/
War of 1812
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. 234 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1965.Microfilm E 359 .I53 1965
Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files. 102 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1960.Microfilm E 359.4 .I5 1960
Muster Rolls of the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of 1812- 1814. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1994.E 359.5 .P3 M8 1994
Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts. Virginia Militia in the War of 1812: From Rolls in the Auditor’s Office at Richmond. 2 vols. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2001.E 359.5 .V8 V8 2001
Wardell, Patrick G. War of 1812: Virginia Bounty Land & Pension Applicants. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1987.E 359.4 .W37 1987
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War. 41 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1965./Microfilm E 409 .I5 1965/
Index to Mexican War Pension Files, 1887-1927. 14 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1949. /Microfilm E 409.4 U55 1949/
Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Mansfield, OH: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1991. /E 409.5 .O3 O34 1991/
White, Virgil D. Index to Mexican War Pension Files. Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing, 1989. /E 409.4 .W5 1989/
Civil War Unit Histories: Regimental Histories and Personal Narratives. 5 vols. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1992-1996./E 470.C58 1990
A guide to the large collection of unit histories available on microfiche.
Dyer, Frederick H. Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. 1908. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959./E 491 .D99 1959/
Ellis, Helen H., comp. Michigan in the Civil War: A Guide to the Material in Detroit Newspapers, 1861-1866. Lansing, MI: Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1965./Z 1297 .E4 1965/
Hewett, Janet B., ed. Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865. 33 vols. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing, 1997./E 494 .H4 1997/
. Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865. 16 vols. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing, 1995-1996./E 548 .H4 1995/
Illinois. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois … [1861-1866]. 8 vols. Springfield, Baker, Bailhache, 1867./E 505.4 .I445 1867/
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Pennsylvania. 48 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1964./Microfilm E 527 .I5 1964/
Also available for Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Colored Troops regiments.
May, George S. Michigan and the Civil War Years, 1860-1866: A Wartime Chronicle. 2nd ed. Lansing, MI: Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1966./E 514 .M35 1966/
Michigan. Adjutant General’s Department. Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865. 46 vols. Kalamazoo, MI: Ihling Brothers & Everard, 190-./E 514.3 .M62/
A master index is available at E 514.3 .A583z.
. Descriptive Rolls of Michigan Civil War Units, 1861-1865. Records of Michigan Military Establishment, Adjutant General. 48 vols./RG 59-14/
Mills, Gary B. Southern Loyalists in the Civil War: The Southern Claims Commission. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1994./E 480.5 .M56 1994
Peddycord, Will F. History of the Seventy-Fourth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry: A Three Years’ Organization. Warsaw, IN: Smith Printery, 1913./Microfiche E 470 .C58 IN: 322-324/
An example of a unit history.
Pension Index File. 544 reels. Washington, D.C.: Veterans Administration Publications Service, 1953./Microfilm UB 373 .P4 1953/
A card index primarily for Union servicemen, also includes cards for the Spanish-American War.
Robertson, John, comp. Michigan in the War. Rev. ed. Lansing, MI: W.S. George & Company, 1882./E 514 .M62 1882/
Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union, Interred in the National Cemeteries. 10 vols. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1994./E 494 .U57 1994/
Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865. 145 reels. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1965./Microfilm E 615 .S45 1965/
Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 95 vols. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing, 1994./E 464 .U61/
United States. Army. Quartermaster Corps. Cemetery Branch. Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, ca. 1879-ca. 1903. 22 reels. College Park, MD: National Archives, 1997./Microfilm E 494 .U55 1879/
. War Department. War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 vols. 1880-1900. Gettysburg, PA: National Historical Society, 1971-1972./E 464 .U6 1971/
United States Civil War Soldiers Living in Michigan in 1894. St. Johns, MI: The Genealogists of Clinton County Historical Society, 1988./E 494 .U6 1988
Williams, Frederick D. Michigan Soldiers in the Civil War. 5th ed. Lansing, MI: Michigan Historical Center, 2002./E 514 .W5 2002/
Jackson, Ronald V., ed. Veterans Index, New York 1898, Spanish-American War. 2 vols. West Jordan, UT: Genealogical Services, 1987./E 726 .N5 V48 1987/
Michigan. Regimental Records, 1898-1899. Records of the Dept. of Management & Budget. 1 box./RG 84-88/
Records of Michigan’s Spanish-American War units, including muster rolls and unit rosters.
Michigan Volunteers of ’98: A Complete Photographic Record of Michigan’s Part in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Detroit: G. F. Sterling & Co., 1898./RG 84-88 Box 35/
Pennsylvania. Adjutant-General’s Office. Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, 1898. Harrisburg, PA: W. S. Ray, 1900./E 726 .P4 P4/
Pension Index File. 544 reels. Washington, D.C.: Veterans Administration Publications Service, 1953./Microfilm UB 373 .P4 1953/
Used predominantly for Civil War research, this collection also includes cards for veterans of the Spanish-American War.
World War I
Haulsee, William M., comp. Soldiers of the Great War. 3 vols. Washington, D.C.: Soldiers Record Publishing Association, 1920./D 609 .U6 S6/
Landrum, Charles Hanford, comp. Michigan in the World War: Military and Naval Honors of Michigan Men and Women. Lansing, MI: Michigan Historical Commission, 1924./D 570.85 .M5 L3/
Michigan. Census of World War I Veterans, 1918-1921. Records of the Dept. of Military Affairs. 375 vols./RG 78-92/
A statewide census of World War I veterans conducted by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Michigan.
. Victory Medal Applications, 1920-1924. Records of the Dept. of Military Affairs, Adjutant General Division. 17 boxes./RG 85-78/
. World War I Bonus Files, 1921-1932. Records of the Dept. of Military Affairs, Personnel Division. 173 boxes./RG 84-107/
Michigan World War I veterans that were awarded a state bonus for service in World War I.
Schaefer, Christina K. The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World’s Fighting Men and Volunteers. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1998./D 505 .S33 1998/
World War II
Keehn, Shirley. Lest We Forget: A Compilation of the Men of Monroe County, Michigan, Who Gave Their Lives in the Cause of Freedom During World War I and World War II. Monroe, MI: S. E. Keehn, 1996./F 572 .M7 K44 1996/
Knox, Debra Johnson. World War II Military Records: A Family Historian’s Guide. Spartanburg, SC: MIE Pub., 2003.D 797 .U6 K56 2003
State Summary of War Casualties (Michigan). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Navy, 1946./D 797 .U62 M53 1946/
United States. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing: State of Michigan. Washington, D.C.: War Department, 1946./D 769.85 .A2 W67 1946/
Michigan. Veterans’ Bonus Records, 1955-1958. Records of the Dept. of Military Affairs. 10 vols./RG 84-91/
Records of Michigan soldiers awarded a state bonus for service in the Korean War.
Michigan. Records of Posts, Michigan GAR, 1876-1945. Records of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Michigan. 81 boxes./RG 63-19/
This collection contains muster rolls, death roll, applications for membership, transfer cards, certificates of honorable discharge, and more.
. Camp Records of the United Spanish War Veterans, Department of Michigan, 1890-1984. Records of the Dept. of Management & Budget, United Spanish War Veterans.
This collection contains burial lists, membership lists, muster rolls, registers, reports of death, and rosters of the veterans group for the Spanish-American War.
. Veterans’ Case Files, 1885-1982. Records of the State Veterans’ Facility of Michigan./RG 64-20; RG 82-22; RG 85-47/
These collections contain applications for admission, readmission, and discharge, and much more for the veterans’ facility in Grand Rapids.
Northcott, Dennis. Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Illinois: Transcription of the Death Rolls, 1879-1947. St. Louis, MO: D. Northcott, 2003./E 462.1 .I48 N67 2003/
Similar books exist for Indiana and Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.
American Battle Monuments Commission
Subscription site available at the Archives of Michigan.
Civil War Soldiers & Sailors Database
Subscription site with an emphasis on U.S. military records. Some collections are free, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and War of 1812 pensions.
Michigan Vietnam Monument
National Gravesite Locator
Digital collections for the Archives of Michigan includes Civil War photos, regimental records, and more.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Department of Michigan
Search the graves registration database.
State Level Lists of Casualty: Korea and Vietnam
This site lists the American casualties for both 20th-century conflicts, sorted either by last name or home state.
U.S. Army Military History Institute
This Army site contains hundreds of digitized military records, including regimental histories for 20th century wars.
War of 1812 Pension Application Files
A free, ongoing digitization project led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.
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