Thursday, May 23, 2013

Free Military Records Through Memorial Day & Tips for Finding Pension Records

From Family Tree Magazine blog came these news items:

Free Military Records on Through May 27
Posted by Diane is joining the genealogy websites offering free access to military records for Memorial Day. You can search and view 155 million draft, enlistment and service records free through May 27.

Those include WWI and WWII draft registration cards, new collections of US Alien draft registrations and New York military records, and more.

Start your search here.

Read our previous posts about free military records offers at MyHeritage, and Fold3.

Military Genealogy Tips for Memorial Day: Finding Pension Records
Posted by Diane
Honor your military ancestors this Memorial Day by learning more about their lives and service. One way is through pension records, which can be rich with information about the person who served.
Various laws made those who served in the armed forces between 1775 and 1916, or their survivors, eligible for military pensions. You can search some indexes to pensions at sites such as, Fold3,,MyHeritage and findmypast.
One of the most helpful indexes is the General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, from National Archives microfilm T288 and searchable free online at
For earlier conflicts, try the Old War Pension Index, 1815-1926, from NARA microfilm T316.
The pension files themselves are on microfilm at the National Archives (with copies at the Family History Library), with some collections online. A few are:

The exception is pensions for Confederate soldiers in the Civil War: The former Confederate states awarded pensions to their armed forces, so look to those state archives for records. You can link to several states' Confederate pensions collections from here. and also have collections of some Confederate states' Civil War pensions.
A final tip: If you plan to leave flowers at an ancestor's gravesite this Memorial Day, consider also leaving a note for the next person, who may be a cousin.
Our Military Research Value Pack—now just $49.99—has a webinar, CD of how-to articles, and a class that provide you in-depth guidance for finding your ancestors' military records throughout US history.
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