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How to Order Military Records @ The National Archives

Genealogy Magazine


Perkins Research Informational:

How to Order Military Records from the National Archives


Directions:

  • The first thing you need to do is to establish if your Ancestor served in any of our War's. This can be done a number of ways. If you know which state the soldier lived, you can find or borrow from your local library books that contain the names of soldiers who served from all states. The books are usually titled (example).
     

  • SOLDIERS & SAILORS of the REVOLUTIONARY WAR- MASSACHUSETTS or
     

  • SOLDIERS & SAILORS of the CIVIL WAR-MICHIGAN

    (Tip:) There should be books like this for each state.

     

  • You can also order papers by family SURNAME, which is  a list of men with the same surname who served in the following wars. (Example: Perkins)

    There is a list for the Revolutionary War
    There is a list for the War of 1812



    (Tip:) These (2) lists can be purchased for a reasonable fee from the company called, LINEAGES. www.lineages.com




    **YOU MUST FIND THE UNIT or COMPANY & STATE YOUR SOLDIER SERVED FROM BEFORE YOU CAN GO TO THE NEXT STEP** (below).
     

  • Revolutionary War

     

  • Once you find your ancestor listed in either of these references is when you will call the NATIONAL ARCHIVES located in Washington, D.C. When you call the National Archives request them to send you the maximum number of Rev. War or Civil War Applications. I suggest getting the maximum number because just in case you make a typo on one, you will have extra’s to use. Here is their phone number.

    1-202-501-5402 General Phone Number

    1-202-501-5390 Rev. War & Civil War Application Requests.

     

  • Once you receive the blank applications you will notice that the Revolutionary War Records you request will include both Military & Pension Records. Veterans of the Revolutionary War were also granted BOUNTY LAND WARRANTS, these records will be included in your order as long as your Soldier received a Land Warrant.


    *IMPORTANT RESEARCH NOTICE*


    Revolutionary War Soldier Records can also be found in other areas of the National Archives and will not be included in the request you make to them using the application. These records are known as the “Hidden Files”. Many people are unaware that other information can be received. I read about these “Hidden Records” in November/December 1998 Issue of the magazine called “ Family Chronicle” http://www.familychronicle.com.

    The information I read was written by a gentleman named Craig R. Scott. It might be possible if you request a copy of his article by writing to him for his mailing address and including a S.A.S.E. Ask if he will send you the article I read. In the article, he describes the different types of Hidden Files to be found on your Revolutionary War Soldier. In my case I learned that in 1840 the U.S. Government decided to do a physical count of all Revolutionary War Soldiers who were still collecting a pension or wanted to make a final payment to the heirs of that Soldier. From ordering this last accounting on my Soldier, I learned the date and place of his death.


    Mr. Craig Scott can be reached at :

    http://www.willowbend.net (Web Site)

    willowbend@mediasoft.net   (E-Mail)

     


    Application Requirements



    On all War Applications that you receive from the National Archives, you must fill out specific areas of the application before they will even consider to attempt to do a search for you.
     

  •  You Must have the Soldiers:

     

  •  Name

  •  Branch of Service

  •  State from which he served

  •  War in which he served, and if Civil War, you must know if he was a *Union or Confederate Soldier.


  • Civil War

    *When requesting Civil War Records using form NATF 80, it is completely different then what you do when requesting Rev. War. Records. On the Civil War Application there are three choices to make on which type of record you wish to receive.

    A. MILITARY or  B. PENSION or  C. BOUNTY LAND (service before 1856 Only)


    (Tip:) You CAN NOT check all three boxes on one (1) application. You will need three separate application forms filled out with the correct choice made. So make sure to order more then one (1) application form for each set of records you wish to receive.

    (Tip:) When ordering your Civil War Military Records, you must check the box MILITARY.

    You will receive his original agreement with the Government to serve in a Company for usually a 3 year period. You will also receive his Muster-In and Muster-Out dates. You will also receive if he was discharged for any reason, on sick leave, a deserter or information on whether he was there or absent during a roll call. These papers will be sent to you as long as they themselves have copies of them.

    (Tip:) When ordering a Civil War Pension Record, you must check the box PENSION.

    You will receive more personal information about the Soldier. If a Soldier died before he could claim his own pension, there will be what is called a “Widows Pension”, whereas the wife of the Soldier who had children under the age of 16 could place a claim on their husbands service record and collect upon his pension. Sometimes these records are filled with notes about the doctors he had to visit to claim that the Soldier was incapable of work. Sometimes the records will contain information about family members the Soldier had to use a witnesses to his disability. The pension records will cost you the most money. If you wish to receive the entire pension record of your solder, I suggest along the top of the application you write in big BOLD black letters, “COPY ALL FILES”. If you do not do this, the volunteer at the National Archives will pick though the file and only send you what they think you need.


                                                    (Tip:) When requesting a Bounty Land warrant for War enlistments or service to this country even if not a Soldier, you must check the box, BOUNTY LAND WARRANT.

    This will cover any service your ancestor might of had before 1856. A Bounty Land Warrant was a grant of land a person received if he gave service to his Country prior to the Civil War time era. The service could have been anything from being a Soldier to giving medical help or offering food or shelter to Soldiers in need at the time of War.


    NOTE: I also want to note that when you receive the blank applications from the National Archives, they will come from a different address then where you need to send them when completed. The address where you send in your filled out application is:


    GENERAL REFERENCE BRANCH (NNRG-P)

    NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

    7th and PENNSYLVANIA AVE NW

    WASHINGTON , DC20408
     



    NATF FORM 80 INFORMATION

    According to the National Archives “Important Information about your order” the NATF form 80 says the following information.



    “The success of our search depends on the completeness and accuracy of the information you provide in blocks 3-18 on this form. Please note that each NATF Form 80 is handled separately. When you send more then one form at a time, you may not receive all of your replies at the same time.

    Military service records rarely contain family information. Pension application files generally are most helpful to those who are doing genealogy research and contain the most complete information regarding a man’s military career. We suggest that you first request copies of a man’s pension file. You should request copies of a bounty-land warrant file or a military record only when no pension file exists. If the veteran’s service was during the Revolutionary War, bounty-land warrant applications have been consolidated with pension application papers. You can obtain both files by requesting the pension file only.

    We will copy complete military service and bounty-land application files. When we are unable to provide copies of all pension documents because of the size of a pension application file, we will send copies of the documents we think will be most useful to you for genealogical purposes. Many of the documents in these files are repetitive or administrative in nature. You may order copies of all remaining documents in a file by making a specific request. We will notify you of the cost of the additional copies.”



    INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THIS FORM



    “Use a separate NATF Form 80 for each file that you request. Remove this instruction sheet (from the top of the form) and address in the block provide at the bottom of the form, which is your mailing label. The information must be legible on all copies. Keep the PINK copy for your records. Mail the remaining three pages of the (4-part) form to: General Reference Branch (NNRG-P), National Archives and Records Administration, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408. DO NOT SEND PAYMENT WITH THIS FORM. When we search your order, we will make photocopies of records that relate to your request. For credit card orders, we will mail the copies immediately. For other types of orders, we will invoice you for the cost of these copies and hold them until we receive your payment.”



    TYPES OF RECORDS THAT CAN BE ORDERED WITH THIS FORM



    “Pension application files, based on Federal (not State) service before WWI, usually include an official statement of the veteran’s military service, as well as information of a personal nature. Pension based on military service for the Confederate States of America were authorized by some Southern States but not by the Federal Government until 1959. Inquiries about State pensions should be addressed to the State archives or equivalent agency at the capital of the veteran’s state of residence after the war”.



    BOUNTY-LAND WARRANT APPLICATION FILES



    “ Bounty-Land warrant application files are based on Federal (not State) service before 1856. Documents in a bounty-land warrantapplication file are similar to those in a pension application file. In addition, these files usually give the veteran’s age and place of residence at the time the application was made.”



    MILITARY SERVICE RECORDS



    “Military service records are based on service in the UNITED STATES ARMY (officers who served before June 30th 1917,and enlisted men who served before October 31st ,1912); NAVY (officers who served before 1903 and enlisted men who served before 1886);MARINE CORPS (officers who served before 1896 and enlisted men who served before 1905); CONFEDERATE ARMED FORCES (officers and enlisted men, 1861-65). In addition to persons who served in regular forces raised by the Federal Government, volunteers fought in various wars chiefly in the Federal Government’s interest from the Revolutionary War though the Phillippine Insurrection,1775-1902.

    Compilations of information concerning most military service performed by individuals in volunteer organizations during the 19th and early 20th centuries are available, but such records were not compiled for Regular Army officers who served before 1863 and for Regular Army enlisted men and Navy and Marine Corps personnel who served during most of the 19thcentury. Records pertaining to such service are scattered among many files and generally contain few details concerning a man’s service. We cannot undertake the research necessary to locate all such documents. If you request a military service records, we will copy the documents that best summarize the veteran’s service.

    The record of an individual’s service in any one organization is entirely separate from his records of service in another organization. We are unable to establish accurately the identity of individuals of the same name who served in different organizations. If you know that a individual served in more then one organization and you desire copies of all of the military service records, submit a separate form for the service record in each organization.

    Discharge certificates are not usually included as part of a compiled military service record. Before 1944, Army regulations allowed the preparation of an original discharge certificate only, which was given to the soldier. Confederate soldiers in service at the time of surrender did not receive discharge certificates. They were given paroles, and these paroles became the property of the soldier.”

     



    I hope this information helps you in understanding the process to request your ancestors military records. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.



    Sincerely,

    Denise Perkins Ready- WebMaster

    PerkinsResearch

     


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