How military records can help your family research
Did your grandfather, great-grandfather, or even great-great-grandfather serve in the military? It is very likely that at least one of your ancestors served their country or was at least connected to someone who did.
Military records can help with your family research by providing a variety of information about your ancestor, which can give you valuable insight into your ancestors' life and the lives of their family members.
The most common information found in military records includes age at enlistment, birth location, occupation, the names of parents and immediate family members. In some cases, you may even find physical descriptions and medical information on your ancestor.
Military Record - Physical Description
Some personnel records also provide information on your ancestors' service, including what rank they held, unit/division they belonged to, dates and draft locations. You can also find if your ancestor received a pension or any medals and much more.
A great place to start your search is with online military collections on sites such as:
These online sites are great for searching specific countries records:
- Great Britain: The National Archives
- Ireland: Military Archives
- Canada: Library and Archives Canada
- United States: National Archives
- Australia: National Archives of Australia
- New Zealand: Archives New Zealand
Don't forget to check these other places where you might find information on your ancestors' military service:
Local war memorials: If you know where your ancestor lived, check the local war memorial sites.
Cemetery records: Your ancestor may have been buried in a military cemetery or military area of a local cemetery. Their gravestone may give you some information on their branch and rank.
Historical newspapers: You may find casualty lists, obituary's, draft lists or even war stories.
To help you record your documents, including your military records for each ancestor, here's a FREE ancestor profile scribble sheet.
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