Draft, Enlistment and Service

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Collection Information

These records document their draft or enlistment, service assignments, performance, discharge, and other personnel actions.


The useful genealogical data you might learn from service records could include the individual’s full name, rank, age, physical description, marital status, occupation, city of birth, and place of residence at enlistment.

Those entering the military either through draft or enlistment were often required to give names and other genealogical data to be kept in government files. By researching these lists and records, you can learn where your ancestors were living when they enlisted, and who their contacts were at home in addition to finding out what dates they served their nation.

You'll often find birth information, residence, physical description, occupation, and in some cases, you'll even find other family members mentioned.

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  • The best way to find a military record is to enter as much information as you can into your search. The more you tell us about your ancestor, the easier it will be to find good matches about him or her.
  • In your searching, remember to allow for name spelling variations and that sometimes records only used one or more initials for the given names.
  • Since each collection includes different information, it is valuable to search collections that apply to your ancestor individually. Once you see the results for some individuals you can see what terms might be useful in the Keyword field to refine your search.
  • With some record collections, the description provides instruction for how to receive additional information.
  • Once you find a matching military record, save it to your family tree – that way you can provide evidence to back up the info in your family tree, easily share your discovery with your family, and quickly find the historical record again later.