Military Records at the National Archives
12/29/2010
NARA has many genealogically useful records for lesser-known wars in its holdings.
Microfilm Titles
Here’s a rundown of the NARA microfilm titles you’ll want to consult for researching those who served in the United States' lesser-known military conflicts—Quasi-War with France, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Utah War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American Wars and the Philipine Insurrection. You can look for copies at the Family History Library or find out whether a title is digitized on Ancestry.com or Footnote by checking NARA’s list of Microfilm Publications Digitized by Partners at <archives.gov/digitization/digitized-by-partners.html>. (See the article Find Soldiers in Lesser-known Wars or the December 2010 Family Tree Magazine for more research tips on these and other lesser-known wars.)
  • M233: Registers of Enlistment in the US Army, 1798-1914
  • M330: Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1798-1893
  • M1328: Abstracts Of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1829-1924
  • M848: War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858
  • M313: Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files
  • M928: Prize and Related Records for the War of 1812 of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1812-16
  • M2025: Registers of Applications for the Release of Impressed Seamen, 1793-1802
  • M1839: Miscellaneous Lists and Papers Regarding Impressed Seamen, 1796-1814
  • T316: Old War Index to Pension Files, 1815-1926
  • T317: Index to Mexican War Pension Files, 1887-1926
  • T288: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
  • M616: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War
  • M278: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations From the State of Texas
  • M351: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Mormon Organizations
  • M638: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations From the State of Tennessee
  • M863: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations From the State of Mississippi
  • M1028: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations From the State of Pennsylvania
  • M871: General Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War with Spain
  • M872: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Philippine Insurrection
Order Up
If the records you need aren’t on microfilm, you’ll have to hire a researcher to get them for you, or request them from NARA. You’ll find a list of local researchers on NARA’s website <archives.gov/research/hire-help>, or you can use the Association of Professional Genealogists online directory <www.apgen.org/directory>.
 
NARA has a nifty Order Online system to help you request records from afar. Start at <eservices.archives.gov/orderonline> and log in (if you have an account) or create a new account. Then you’ll click Order Reproductions, select Military Service and Pension Records, and follow the system’s prompts. You also can order records by mail using NARA’s order forms, downloadable from <archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html#part-a>.
 
Depending what records you need, it may be more cost-effective to hire a researcher than to order from NARA. Reproduction fees for military records include:
  • Pension or bounty land warrant application file, pre-Civil War: $50
  • Pension or bounty land warrant application file, Civil War and later: $75 for up to 100 pages; add 65 cents per additional page
  • Military service files: $25 per case
See the full fee schedule at <archives.gov/research/order/fees.html>.
 
 
 
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