Military service records

Finding military service records

The militia behind that empowers the war.

Conflict, disputes, aggression and protection of interests  due to greed power, causeless hatred and selfish ideologies were just some of the few reasons why people go to war.  Men and women of the land were called upon and drafted into military units equipped with armaments to service and defend territories and boundaries to  bring forth order and peace among men. The people where the military who were put on every frontline to defend the nation’s sovereignty, honor and initiate peace. The roles the military personnel have taken under oath and allegiance.  The military personnel  were the foremost driving force behind every war in the world.

Uncovering the lost pages of a Soldier’s past.

After the war, as each nation hastily brought back everything to order, many of the military service records, documents and information were likewise lost due to the havoc brought by the wars. One of the most displaced if not the most torn lives were those of the lives of a soldier and military personnel. And after two great wars – World War I and World War II, the life of a military personnel was like a jigsaw puzzle so torn and broken that completing and making every piece whole again seems very impossible and a real challenge.

But thanks to the facilities brought by the digital age and the so-called military archivists, a soldier’s life obscured by time and torn by war can now be pieced back to make them continue whatever was left as they treasure the priceless memories.

The Archives.

The Archives was the repository that houses vast accumulated official records and documents produced from the different administrative, legal, social and commercial activities of the different government bodies for permanent preservation, catalogue and registry management. These records primarily in their original and indigenous state are kept and permanently preserved in perpetuity as official government reference and historical account.

The Military Archives.

The Archives was the repository that houses vast accumulated official records and documents produced from the different administrative, legal, social and commercial activities of the different government bodies for permanent preservation, catalogue and registry management. These records primarily in their original and indigenous state are kept and permanently preserved in perpetuity as official government reference and historical account.

War registries, draft cards, old photographs, postcards, war diaries, medals and other memorabilia. These are what has left from all the legacy, lost lives and memories of millions of soldiers and other military personnel that has been kept in memorial by different government archives and military record repositories all over the world.

Information professionals and experts.

image courtesy of Wikipedia

Genealogists, archivists and researchers are the people whose profession and expertise deals with search, preservation, collection, indexing, organizing various facts and on all types of media information significant and related to military personnel and records.

What it normally takes finding military personnel records?

Most people who are looking for military service records will find themselves initially searching using through the online facilities found on the internet. You can find some online but not all. Aside from your patience, being resourceful and your determination about finding military records, preparation and processes must be done to secure the data needed. Whatever you have to start with will need further steps and series of updating, upgrading and/or processing to make it complete and help you out for the search unto the final fixes needed to secure the official and authenticated record of the military personnel. It is therefore vital that personal copies of service documents as well as personal account of the military service performed by the veteran be accounted and listed down as guide and for further reference during the process.

How Military Records are Archived

Every country has its own archives and carry out different process on how records are kept, viewed or reproduced. It is therefore imperative for interested parties to initially find out the process and trail how records are archived to get and be able to systematically find the military personnel record and yield positive results in the most viable way.

Archival vs non-Archival of US Military Records

US Army veterans

The United States Army was America’s largest military branch mandated to perform land-based military operations. The US Army along with America’s Air Force, Coast Guard , Marine and the Navy form part the United States Armed Forces.  Each military branch were composed of enlisted men and women that serves as the driving force in defense of the United States of America. These combatant men and women are were experts and veterans in the full range defense operations of the country in support against domination threats and world wide conflicts against the US as well as providing assistance and contingents to its global allies.

Freedom of Information.

The Office of the US Veterans Affairs have classified locations on the archives of the US military service records. In accordance to the Freedom of information Act or the US FOIA. The law which took effect last December 2000, allows the public viewing and release of a veteran’s military records for general public use. The military record can be viewed and release with or without the veteran’s next of kin’s authoritative approval.

Records for the general public.

Military records are normally released only to the veteran or his/her next of kin seeking access to the document from the archive. However requests are being entertained by formally requesting the archives in writing. In the request, the veteran or next of kin must do the following:

How to request military records from the Archive.

  •   Specify the type of military records or information needed for viewing or copying.
  •   The request must be duly signed by the veteran or his/her duly recognized next of kin.
  • In addition, if the subject personnel was already deceased, proof of death such as his/her death certificate, letter from the funeral home or a published obituary may be required.

Basic information needed in requesting for military records.

Along with the written request to the Archive, provide the following basic information in order to properly locate the military records:

  • Complete name used by the military personnel.
  • Service number
  • Social security number
  • Branch of service
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth (if the service number is not known).
  • If your records may have been destroyed during the 1973 fire, also include the following:
    • Designated place of discharge
    • Last unit of assignment
    • Place of enlistment into the service, if known.
  • All requests must be signed and dated by the veteran himself or the next-of-kin.
  • Should you be the next of kin of a deceased veteran, you must provide proof of death of the veteran such as a copy of the death certificate, letter from the funeral home, or a published obituary of the veteran.

Records that needed authorization.   In accordance with the FOI Act, certain limited information or records may likewise be allowed to the general public. if ever available, information such as name, designation while on service, awards and military education level may be released for general public knowledge about the veteran.

Addresses of Military Archives in the World.

The following archive places are some of the most sought data banks and government archives:

United States of America:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

United Kingdom:

The National Archives
Kew, Richmond, Surrey,
TW9 4DU

Australia:

Treloar Crescent
Campbell ACT 2612
Australia

New Zealand:

Freyberg House
2-12 Aitken St
Wellington
+64 4 496 0999

France:

Service interministériel des Archives de France
56, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
75 141 Paris Cedex 03

Germany:

Freiburg
Bundesarchiv
Wiesentalstraße 10
79115 Freiburg

Navy records

What are  navy records?

Navy records are registers of naval records of enlisted seamen personnel stored in official record repositories assigned by the government. Aside from the US Navy personnel’s military records, the US Navy archive system also include administrative, historical, medical records in both of its personnel as well as other related documents such as collected drawings and scrolls. Even including microfilms and microfiche reports of ship plans as well as submarines and other navy vessels.

Although many of the navy military records can be searched online. They were however held by several naval records online  search archives which are either available through subscription or on a pay per view option. The process could be tedious and most often requires time and research assistance before full disclosure an/or release to the next of kin of the subject navy records search.

The US Navy archive system.

Although Naval records or The official US Naval Military Personnel File are held on several official government repositories, all requests and securing of US navy records of US navy personnel discharged, deceased or retired are advised to address their concern through the Naval command. And  in order to properly address each search request for the US naval records of the military personnel concerned, it will be best that you are familiar with how the US military records are archived.

Since 1995,there has been an issued directive coming from the US Navy central command that US Navy personnel records shall no longer be maintained at the government’s central record repository. The US Navy instead have collaborated into an agreement updating its legacy department with a system administered by an SSP enterprise archive system.

According to the status of the US service personnel or veteran,  US Naval records are held by designated government repositories according to the period of service or type of enlistment files below:

  • US Navy enlisted before 1/1/1885
  • US Navy enlistments before 1/1/1903,
  • US Navy enlistments from 1885 – 9/8/1939
  • US Navy enlistments from 9/9/1939 – 1/30/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from 1/1/1903 – 1/30/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from 1/31/1994 – 12/31/1994
  • US Navy enlistments from after: 1/1/1995
  • US Navy enlistments from Active, reserve, or the temporary disability retirement list (TDRL)
  • Naval Reserve members NOT currently on active duty, including those in the Ready Reserve (SELRES/IRR) and Standby Reserves (USNR-S1/USNR-S2)

The role of the archivist and professional research partner.

Researching for US Navy personnel records generally entails manual and hands on search routine. Partnering with a research expert or archivist was a vital part in finding your subject US Navy personnel records.

 

 

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Canadian army records

ADVISORY:

All parties interested in finding or securing military and historical records of Canadian military personnel, always bear in  mind that fulfilling each request takes time since the process is no easy task and often requires meticulous and detailed accordance, discipline and adherence to guidelines and protocols being implemented within the system. We therefore request parties involved to accord patience and understanding and most of all discipline just like the way how each soldier understand following the chain of commands.

The Canadian archives & records repositories.

The Canadian government held its military records and documents can be found in several authorized repositories and information offices. It is therefore convenient and wise if the search can be conducted with an able and reliable search partner to help you locate the subject documents.

 

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Pre-colonial & ancestral records.

In searching for Canada’s aboriginal, ancestral and pre-war registry records, it is best to know Canada’s roots and origins to find directions about the search. Some of Canada’s earliest known inhabitants were Indians(First Nations), arctic people (Inuit) and the aboriginal settlers (Metis). Indian First Nations were said to have entered into pacts and treaties with the Crown government or the United Kingdom which later on resulted to the creation of the so-called Indian Register that served as the registry of the Indian aborigines and early inhabitants of Canada used and being referred to in terms of granting of reserves, claims and entitlement to rights and benefits.

Battle_of_Queenston_Heights,_Artist_Unknown

Canada’s military and war registry.

Canada’s history of documented military records dates back as early as the 16th century.

Tracing military records.

If you have someone in the family who was a war veteran and someone who have experienced serving during the war, most likely you might have been hearing over and over again tales and stories about the war. Stories, old memorabilia, letters and photographs can help in the search and can give clues and hidden information in tracing about the subject military record.Old photographs, war stories and  memorabilia can help reveal information about the search.

Canada and its war veterans.

 

 

Military records during the Colonial era.

WW1 Army Records

Army records for the first World War

The Great War

The so called Great War or more famously known in world history as World War I which ignited in Europe starting from July 28, 1914 up to November 11, 1918 involved both military and civilian war personnel. More than 70 million enlisted military men and women as well as 60 million Europeans took part into this global combat.  And when the war reached through the United States, more than 4.7 million military men and women were listed to join the combined US forces under its regular, national and draft units assigned in different posts and war assignments.

WW1 Army Records

Registries and records kept of these enlisted war personnel though survived during the havoc of the first world war, the same barely survived the damage done by the following World War II era. And these surviving records have been digitized for safekeeping and preservation, most of it were readily available online and can be researched by interested parties.

US Army Records

Due to the large scope of area where military listings and registries have been kept and recorded, the WW1 army records of military personnel who participated during the war are generally organized and kept by each state repository in the United States. Army records for WW1 were indexed on several online genealogy websites as research facilities on information and historical war records of US army records.

US army records for the first World War gathered and recorded over time generally involves an enormous amount of records due to the span of its coverage and the number of American men and women who have been part of the so-called Great War. US army draft records alone numbers  approximately 24,000,000 million cards.

How US Army records are archived?

The US government body involved in the archiving of WW1 army records indexed them according to each federal state. By the year 1917, the records involve millions of enlisted US military forces for national, guard and draft units including those killed while on duty, discharged due to medical care, died by diseases and any other causes of death and separation from the service. Army records ww1 usually hold information about the soldier’s basic information listed below:

  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Race
  • Citizenship
  • Profession
  • Personal details
  • Signature

For guidance on how US Army records are archived, Army Records suggests that you include this guideline to your search plan for all your military records research activity.

British Army Records WW1

army records ww1

ww1 army records

US ARMY RECORDS FOR WWI

british army records ww1

World War I & the Allied Forces

WW1 Propaganda
[image by Guided History of Boston University]
Although the first world war affected most European nations. Great Britain was a key player in the first world war in opposition to the ruling central powers or the Quadruple Alliance dominated by Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria in the early 19th century. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and was largely referred to as the United Kingdom or British Empire. British Empire was one of the core of the so-called original Triple Entente alliance or Allied Forces formed between the French Republic, the British Empire and the Russian Empire which later included Italy upon its defection from the then ruling central powers claiming it’s alliance with the central powers was just a defense tactics against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Italy’s defection soon made other countries like Japan, Belgium, Serbia and others follow alliance to become affiliates of the Entente against the central powers.

Australian army records

Finding Australian army records.

The military data bank of the Australian government have preserved an enormous collection of different national, historical and government records for the more than 100 years of its record keeping services. Army-records.net is your one-stop portal to help you get information related to the finding of Australia army records online.

World War I & the Anzacs.

ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which was the coalition  soldiers  of Australia and New Zealand formed in 1915 as part of the allied expedition troops  that penetrated Gallipoli, a Turkish peninsula off the coast of the Aegean Sea. The Gallipoli cove where more than 50,000 Anzacs have fought  was a vital gateway in the Black Sea which aided the Allied navy forces in conquering Constantinople, the seat of the Ottoman Empire and Germany’s ally during the war.

World War II & the Australian Army.

The Australian army was the largest military contingent of Australia during World War II. It was formed coming from the smaller Permanent Military Forces (PMF) units. The full force of the Australian army was later fortified to make up the so called Second Imperial Force which was assigned to augment with the Allied forces in fighting against the central powers on the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa. The Australian army also fought the Japanese across the South West Pacific during the war and help the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in conquering Japan starting 1946.

New Zealand Army Records

Army Records of the Kiwis

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New Zealand Kiwi Military Logo

Military servicemen, war veterans and their families  from different parts of the world go through tough efforts in finding military records needed in processing various documentations and claims. New Zealand is a country where many brave men and women, civilian or military have served during the war. Personnel records of Kiwis as what New Zealanders are known to be called in the military world which originated from the regimental sign popularized and featured by the New Zealand Army Corps during World War I.

The Army Records.net is committed to serve as the portal for anyone who has the interest to find out records and resources in finding out for New Zealand military personnel in active service or not. Currently, there were about 1.5 million military files of Kiwis stored in the military archive. And finding a specific personnel record might be too tedious and intricate. Army Records.net provide services and extend assistance in helping interested parties gather and research on military record files for Kiwis and their families.

The New Zealand Army

The New Zealand Army refers to the ground defense units of New Zealand. These units consists mainly of the territorial, regular and civilian military personnel. Formerly known as the New Zealand Military Forces by virtue of the New Zealand Army Act of 1950. They are also referred to as the Ngāti Tūmatauenga by the Māori people.

The New Zealand Army of World War I

Fighting the battle in honor of the king and the country was the main battlecry during the first world war. About 100,000 men and women  were listed in the so-called ‘nominal rolls’ of the New Zealand Expeditionary force which were published between the years 1917 and 1919 by the New Zealand government.

The New Zealand WW1 Army Record

Personnel files of these enlisted New Zealand soldiers are considered the prime source of information and data by most military researchers and genealogists. But data in most NZ army records were raw and obscured since most of these files were accomplished using military short-hand and codes that maybe hard to decipher by ordinary and non-military and non-expert personnel.

The Kiwis of World War II

The bravery and dedication to the British Royal Armed Forces of the Kiwis become a distinct battle cry  known throughout the history of World War II. “It is with gratitude in the past, and with confidence in the future, that we range ourselves without fear beside Britain, where she goes, we go! Where she stands, we stand.”

What’s in the Kiwi Military Personnel File?

A military personnel file consist of pertinent documents of a soldier’s various endeavors and proof of recorded activities, engagements and achievements while still in active service including the soldier’s post service records for veterans and past or deceased military personnel.

The Kiwi WWII Army File

The composition of a typical Kiwi WWII Military File are as follows:

The following lists were most likely the list where researchers can search for the information referring to a Kiwi WWII military personnel.

The ‘X’ List

During the period from 1939 to 1945, the British and the Commonwealth forces created a system to list down military personnel who were not serving with a unit or absent from their regular unit during the war for reasons such as transferred or back in transit from another post of duty or different unit or other necessary yet valid circumstances of war. Most people searching for WW2 NZ army records would most likely refer to and from the ‘X’ list files to corroborate findings on the military record of the military personnel whom they think have  served during the WWI to WWII period.

The ‘Y’ List

Almost just like the ‘X’ list, the ‘Y’ list pertains to the listing of active yet undischarged New Zealand military personnel during the war but presumed ‘ineffective’  due to reasons of disability, disease,detention, etc.

The ‘Z’ List

The ‘Z’ list was the army reserve or contingents list of the Kiwis created in December of 1918 to answer the call augmentation forces of the British Royal Army against Germany. The list was  abolished and defunct on March 31, 1920 releasing all military personnel from the list.

Guidance about the New Zealand  (XYZ File) WWII Army Files

 

Concerns & Word of Caution on  The Kiwi WWII Army File

The above mentioned lists were executed during the war and are greatly administered in several variations over time on the matter of listing and execution. All are therefore accorded with guidance  to secure information about these lists only through  authorized and reliable channels for interpretation of the information from the subject military files.

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WW2 Army Records

Army records of World War II

If you are in search for the military records such as army  records of World War II as well as naval and air force enlisted personnel, army-records.net was your online prime source in securing information of records for the millions of enlisted personnel during World War  II. Army-records.net can help you find missing valuable information about veterans of war. Army records WWII provides an enormous amount of information that unravels data vital for properly documenting the war service history of every veteran. And one of those records with the most archived were from the US Army WWII where records are referred to as US army records ww2 formed part as the biggest contingent of the world’s  army records ww2.

The millions of World War II army records has been unleashed when the US Freedom of Information (FOI) was enacted and implemented  last June of 1967 to serve the millions of veterans and soldiers from all across the world find and secure copies of their military and administrative records archived by various military official record repositories. Most of these record agencies offer free army service records ww2 storage but getting to the facilities entail money, time and record availability. It is therefore wise to plan your research to make the most of your valuable effort.

Implemented laws, like the US FOI bill was made to protect unwarranted invasion of personal privacy allowing veterans, their next of kins and other interested parties to secure and provide copies of world war 2 army records archived and kept by government archives and help veterans, their families and other people secure data needed in processing and re-tracing the history of the soldier’s military records vital and useful not only in recalling their precious memories, finding family members but likewise instrumental to the process of establishing facts for whatever purpose it may serve them best.

US Army records

Army Records (find people in US military)

If you are looking for army records in the U.S., use this database to find military people in army, air force and navy. This way you can locate people in army, and discharged soldiers.
You can search online and find people in US military.

What kind of army records are you looking for? If you search for information about soldiers, past and present, or discharge records, you can search in online database.. You may search for people by first and last name.

How to find army records?

What are army enlistment records?

An army enlistment record is a military administrative file  of a military personnel containing the soldier’s qualifications, military performance and activities, awards, commendations and assignments. It also highlights the soldier’s military training, conduct, awards, commendation, retirement, separation and discharge from the military.

The official army enlistment records comprises about 8.7 million records of military men and women enlistments, transcriptions, dossiers, microfilms and other related data stored in official military repositories assigned by the government.

Military record research.

Many relatives of those looking for the army enlisted records brief of family members who were soldiers and have served the military may find the search process like an intricate labyrinth and often time consuming and exhaustive. But, thanks to the digital age and modern technological advancement on computers and the internet. Military records briefs as  well as can now be readily accessed by the military personnel, its next of kin and other interested parties.

Army enlisted records brief as well as medical record of most military personnel on file are now readily made available as army enlistment records briefs and army enlistment records genealogy through the army enlisted records brief website catering to provide service in researching for enlisted records brief of army personnel can now accommodate and be accessed online.

The ABCs of military record research.

A. Determine which type and nature of military service record you are searching for. Do  remember that nationality of the subject military personnel was a vital matter to determine. Every country where each of the subject military personnel belong with can list down or have different sets of requirements, protocols, rules and processes in securing records for their military personnel.

B.  Formulate a search plan. By listing down all important information about the subject military personnel. One of the best and proven way in any kind of military record searches was to include a consultation and advice of a reliable, efficient and expert on the subject matter.  Army-records.net accept inquiries and can provide directives on this subject matter. Contact us for assistance and inquiries to help you find out more about dealings on securing information and documents on military service records.

C. Research Consultant.  The need for a reliable search partner and consultant  available for you to gather and assist you piece each information and clues gathered along the way like the role of an  Archivist specially trained with deep and extensive knowledge in safekeeping of records, documents and information was a vital aspect in the process. The role entails extensive knowledge and experience about history, detailing, analysis and organization of the records of the subject military personnel not only to piece evidences of their military records but basically recreating part of their lost lives to make it whole again.

In order to help you plan your search, the following pointers can help in planning for the search on how to find and secure military records of enlisted military servicemen.

  • List down all important information about the subject military serviceman. Things like full name, service number, rank, period,terms or duration of service, place of assignment and other details or information that pertains specifically to the subject soldier.
  • Request by securing and filling up the Standard Form 180(SF-180) form. The form can be reproduced if you are requesting for records of several military personnel. One form for the record of each requesting military serviceman. SF-180 is the form used in requesting information pertaining to the US military records of American servicemen.
  • The relatives or next-of kin of the military serviceman should file the accomplished and filled SF-180 to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) office.
  • Purpose or reason for the request (optional but advisable)
  • Date and Signature of the requesting military personnel or next of kin.

Uses of Army Enlistment Records:

  • The army enlistment records are needed as requirement for the claiming of benefits of  a US serviceman.
  • Military records were required as supporting documents for retirement, burial, financial and other military claims.
  • Military service records are needed for rank and medal upgrade of the concerned US military serviceman.
  • It is a requirement for military pension eligibility.
  • Military records aid in speeding up process of cadaver and body claims of the fallen US serviceman by its family and relatives.
  • The army enlistment records genealogy was a requirement for claiming bounty land warrants wherever applicable.
  • Military records are a requirement as proof or evidence for correction and/or upgrade of military records of a US serviceman.
  • World War 2 enlistment records are needed by US war veterans, its heirs and family in applying for military claims, service pension and other benefits.
  • Military records are needed as supporting documents in expatriation or US immigration application of the US serviceman’s next of kin and relatives.

Requirements in Finding Military Records

If you are a requesting family to the public service record of a soldier or a military serviceman be he or she was an enlisted personnel, a non-commissioned, junior, veteran or a full officer veteran in active service or as a reserve officer., the following data and information are valuable in the process of finding a military serviceman’s record.

Whether he or she has rendered services as an army, a marine, an airforce or a navy, The following information are vital and significant to help you find your kin’s military records.

  • Know the soldier’s full name including aliases
  • Military service number
  • Social security number
  • date and place of birth
  • inclusive date or term of military service
  • Place of military enlistment or registration(if ever available)
  • Place of of last known unit assignment or discharge
  • Current place or branch of assignment (for those still in active service)
  • Service enlistment number such as those found in his or her dog tag including blood type, inoculation and historical medical record.

In looking for US military records use this database to find people in army, air force and navy. This way you can locate people in the army for discharged soldiers (both honorable and dishonorably discharged). Finding army enlistment records as well and military records may not be that easy and often so troublesome and almost a headache. It is therefore a big relief for the family, friends and people who are searching for US military records to find them online.  These military records are needed significantly for the following reasons.

To find more about military government records visit these pages: