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SEARCH FOR YOUR ANCESTORS IN THESE MICHIGAN GENEALOGICAL DATABASES:
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Michigan Military Records
Facts on Michigan Military Records | Civil War | Tips for Military Records |
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Facts on Michigan Military Records

Search all Military Records for every State

  The State Archives of Michigan is the repository for military records in the state. Mail inquiries are answered. The Descriptive Rolls of Michigan Units, 1838-1919, are available for any individual serving in a Michigan unit during that time period. Their files also include records of fraternal organizations for veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Muster rolls of these organizations include names of members and their military history. A census taken of Civil War veterans in 1888 include county, name of soldier, rank, military unit and post office address. The state archives have extensive information on the Veterans' Facility, initially called the Soldier and Sailors' Home. It was established for Civil War veterans, but now serves veterans of all wars in which the United States has been involved. Records, many of which are indexed, span a period of 1885-1986. Individuals in those records are inhabitants of the facility; wives, widows, and mothers of veterans; and ex-nurses. The case files may include complete application forms with military and family information.

The state archives also has unpublished indexes for the Spanish-American War and World War I.

Search Revolutionary War 1775-83 Service Records, Rejected Pensions, Loyalists Records, 1775-1783 Pay Rolls, Courts-Martial, Officers, Pension Index, 1841 Pensioner Census

  • Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783(The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War(The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files(The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, from NARA publication M804.
  • Michigan Military Records, 1775-1836: This database, originally compiled in 1920, is a collection of burial and pension records for residents of the state prior to 1836.

The site U.S. Wars list conflicts dating from earliest to 1865. Wars covered that are availibele are:

  • Colonial Wars
    • Pequot War 1637-1638
    • French and Iroquois Wars 1642-1698
    • King Philip’s War 1675–1676
    • Pueblo Rebellion 1680
    • King William’s War 1689–98
    • Queen Anne’s War 1702–1713
    • Tuscarora War 1711-1715
    • Dummer's War 1723-1726King
    • George’s War 1744–48

    • French and Indian War 1754–63
    • Pontiac's Rebellion 1763-1766

    • Lord Dunmore's War 1774
    • Revolutionary war
    • Frontier conflicts 1775–1811
  • Post-revolutionary wars to 1848
    • Tripolitan War 1801-1805
    • War of 1812 1812–15
    • Creek Indian War 1813-1814
    • The First Seminole War 1818-1819
    • Texas Revolutionary War 1835-1836
    • Second Seminole War 1835-1842
    • Mexican War 1846–48
    • Civil War 1861–65
    • Spanish-American War 1898
  • Modern Wars
    • World War I 1917–18
    • World War II 1941–45
    • Korean War 1950–53
    • Vietnam War 1961–73
    • War on Terrorism 2001-Present

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Facts on Civil War Records

Search Civil War Soldiers, Service Records, Regiments, General Officers, Battle Summaries, Pension Index: 1861-1934, CSA Field Officers and the War of the Rebellion

  The State Archives of Michigan has no pension records for Civil War veterans. They do have, however, a file of grave registrations gathered by the Civil War Centennial Observance Commission. The forms, filed by county and by name of soldier, include name, enlistment and service records, place and date of birth and death, name and location of cemetery, and additional remarks. They also have Muster Rolls of the Grand Army of the Republic Posts in Michigan. The archives have portraits of Civil War Soldiers, indexed by unit and by surname.

In the state archives' collection classified as Civil War Manuscripts, certificates, diaries, discharges, journals, letters and miscellaneous documents can be found. The following published finding aids can be obtained from the state archives for their military collections:

  • Archival #1-Records of the Michigan Military Establishment, 1838-1941
  • Archival #15-Records of the Grand Army of the Republic, Michigan Department
  • Archival #17-Records of the Michigan Veteran's Facility; Circular No. 20, Civil War Manuscripts.

The Burton Historical Collection holds extensive records for Civil War soldiers, but they are not cross-indexed. One group of their records is for U.S. General Hospital (1864-65), which includes a register of sick and wounded soldiers taken to Harper, St. Mary's, and the Post Hospital in Detroit.

Below is a list of online resources for Michigan in the Civil War. Email us with websites containing information on Michigan in the Civil War by clicking the link below:

  • Southern Claims Commission(The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents In the 1870s, southerners claimed compensation from the U.S. government for items used by the Union Army, ranging from corn and horses, to trees and church buildings.
  • Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 from the State of Michigan(The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Pension applications for service in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.
  • Michigan in the Civil War: This database contains a report compiled from reports of the Adjutant General and reports held by the War Department in Washington, of the services of Michigan regiments, batteries, and companies in the Civil War.

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Tips for General Military Records

Excerpts From the Book "Family History Made Easy"

   Military and pension records are among the most useful sources available to genealogists because of the detail they offer. These records are important because they may provide an ancestor’s date of birth, place of residence, the names and addresses of family members, and other details that can round out a picture of his or her life. Judith Prowse Reid, Head, Local History and Genealogy, Library of Congress

   Military records have originated at the federal, state, and local levels. Whether created in time of war or in time of peace, these records provide unique facts and insights into the lives of men and women who have served in the military forces of the United States. Almost every American family, in one generation or another, has seen one or more of its members serve in America’s armed forces. From regimental histories, which provide blow-by-blow accounts of a unit’s participation in military actions, to the personal details contained in the service and pension files of individual men and women, military records provide valuable information concerning a large and significant portion of the American population. And because military records have been preserved and made available at and through a number of research institutions, much information awaits the well-prepared researcher.

How to Find Military Records
   To locate military records for any individual, it is essential to know when and where in the armed forces he or she served and whether that person served in the enlisted ranks or was an officer. (If you don’t have that identifying information, some potential solutions are discussed below.)
As in any research project, it is important to study carefully whatever is already known about the subject of interest. Families and communities frequently pass down stories of military heroes from generation to generation. In most cases, these stories retain some fact, but, with the passage of years and in the process of retelling, accuracy fades. At any rate, family stories should not be overlooked for clues at the start of a military search.

   When and where did the individual live? Did the family keep evidence of military service? Certificates, letters, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs, medals, swords, and other memorabilia kept in private collections may provide the basic facts needed to begin searching in military record collections.

Military Time Lines
   Creating a historical time line can be especially useful for determining if and when the subject might have served in the military. By compiling a chronological list of the known dates and places of residence of an individual from birth through adulthood, it is frequently easy to discover the possibility of military service. Was the individual the right age to be eligible for the draft or to serve voluntarily in the Civil War? Is it likely that the person served on the Northern rather than the Southern side, or vice versa? For records from the colonial period to more recent military engagements, the place of residence is key to finding an individual’s records.

Evidence of Military Service in Hometown Records
   There are a number of public records that are potentially valuable in discovering the military history of a veteran. It has been a long-standing American tradition to foster patriotism by honoring local sons and daughters who have defended the ideals of their country. Hometown military heroes are frequently noted on public monuments, and local newspaper files may yield surprisingly detailed accounts of a community’s well-known and less-famous military personnel.

Military History
   Commercial enterprises and historically oriented groups and institutions have regularly published local histories. As a rule, these histories will include glowing accounts of the area’s involvement in military activities. Some volumes provide biographical sketches of military leaders, while others attempt to list all of the community’s participants in various military conflicts. Locally focused histories have been published at various times for virtually every state and county in the United States. Do not overlook them as an important research aid. P. William Filby’s A Bibliography of American County Histories is a list of five thousand such sources.

   In addition to the standard histories, local public libraries and historical societies usually preserve and make available other types of publications that document the military history of the geographical areas they serve. Historical agencies collect biographies, letters, diaries, journals, and all sorts of memorabilia from military units and servicemen and -women. The personal accounts found in some collections are a fascinating means of stepping back in time. Firsthand accounts afford a better understanding of the day-to-day drudgery, loneliness, fears, and satisfactions of military life.

Evidence of Military Service in Cemeteries
   Cemeteries provide yet another local source of information regarding individuals who served in the armed forces. Almost every cemetery in the United States contains some evidence of military events and veterans. Cemetery records and grave markers frequently identify military dead by name, rank, and unit designation. If a man or woman died elsewhere while in the service, the body was frequently brought home for burial; cemetery records often note the place and date of death.

Evidence of Military Service in Court Records
   Court records are yet another potential source for identifying those who served in the military. Most counties formally recorded and indexed the names of their citizens who were discharged from the military. In some local courts, “military discharges” will be found indexed separately, and in others the military records may be oddly interspersed with deeds, naturalizations, or other categories of documents. The contents of military records may vary greatly from one courthouse to another. Some will provide biographical information, while others may simply list names and the event or names and date of certificate issue.

Military Records in the National Archives
   Federal military documents that have been classified as archival material are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration. Not all records created by military agencies are judged to be permanently valuable. Generally, only records of historical or administrative importance are kept.

   A wonderful array of federal military records are available in major libraries and archives and through microfilm rental programs. (Heritage Quest, a division of AGLL, Inc., PO Box 329, Bountiful, UT 84011-0329, is a source of rental microfilms.) With sufficient identifying information, you may request a search of the registers of enlistments or the compiled military service records. The minimum information required for a search is (1) the soldier’s full name, (2) the war in which he or she served or period of service, and (3) the state from which he or she served. For the Civil War, you must also indicate whether the person served in Union or Confederate forces. A separate copy of the form must be used for military service, pension, and bounty-land warrant applications. Submit requests for information about individuals who served in the military before World War I on NATF form 80 (Order for Copies of Veterans Records). Write to the National Archives and Records Administration, General Reference Branch, Washington, DC 20408 to obtain copies of NATF form 80. Always ask for “all records” for an individual.

   Make requests for information about U.S. Army officers separated from the service after 1912 on standard form 180 (Request Pertaining to Military Records) and send it to the Military Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132.

U.S. Military Records
   By far the most comprehensive study of military records and how to use them is found in James C. Neagles’s U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Neagles’s guide addresses primary and secondary military sources and accessibility, including the following information-rich sources:

Records of state militias and the National Guard
Records of the army, navy, and other branches of the U.S. military
Records of the military academies
Post-service records
Pensions
Bounty-land grants
Bonuses and family assistance
Soldier’s homes
Military burials
Military installations
Censuses of veterans
Conscription
Civilian affairs

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