52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge #19 – Military Records

by Tonia Kendrick on June 13, 2010 in Military

I’m catching up on some prior 52 Week Challenges that I had missed along the way.  Challenge #19 was to:

Examine the “Genealogy and Military Records” page on the National Archives page (http://www.archives.gov/veterans/research/genealogy.html). (Non-U.S. folks: examine the military records information from your country’s national archives.) Click the links and read everything you can. If you’ve ordered a military file before, read this page again and refresh you memory so you can help others. Authors of genealogy blogs can write about records they’ve received, comment on the National Archives page, or ask questions of their readers via their blog.

I love military records!  So often, they are chock-full of fabulous details that can’t be found anywhere else.  I’ve used many of the records described on the NARA page above – compiled service records, pension records, etc.

My first experience ordering a record from NARA was in December 2008.  I had learned that there was a declined pension file for my Butler brick-wall ancestor – James B. Butler – who had served in both the Florida Seminole Wars and the Civil War.  I ordered the file using the online system on 12/26/08 and it was mailed to me three weeks later.

I was expecting about 10, maybe 15 pages, as that had been my experience with Revolutionary War pension files that I had found online at Footnote.com.

Imagine my surprise when this arrived.

Butler genealogy

It’s 234 legal-size pages!

Not only did I learn lots of details about  James’ military service, but I also got residences for his children, as they all were interviewed for depositions, learned about James’ various marriages, and learned when and where he died.

If you’ve never looked into military records, what are you waiting for?

This post was written as part of an occasional series called “52 Weeks to Better Genealogy” – a challenge created by Amy Coffin at WeTree. To see all my posts in the series, click here. To see how other folks have answered the challenge, check out Geneabloggers.com.

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