“Home of the Brave: Land and Military Research” – Alabama Military Research

Thank you everyone for joining us for the military portion of this workshop. My name is Kayla Scott and today we will be discussing how and where to search for your ancestors in military records If you miss any information or would like to review the presentation a second time, please remember the session is being recorded and will be uploaded to our YouTube page Okay Okay. So as you do military research, it is important to know when military conflicts occurred The dates are important for a number of reasons, including historical context and comparing your ancestors timeline to possible participation in a given war. Also note the date of Alabama statehood in 1819. Veterans who participated in wars prior to this date will have moved to Alabama from other states If your ancestor is a veteran of the American Revolution, you will need to determine what state he lived in during his participation in order to find his service records Some records such as pension applications will have dates stretching well beyond each conflict they apply to For these conflict dates, I’m mostly using the time frames accepted by the U.S. Center of Military History You may find different dates in your research depending on what event the source uses as a marker for determining the end or beginning of a conflict, such as the last battle date versus the signing or ratification of a treaty Using these approximate dates will help you determine, for instance, that your fifth great grandfather could not have possibly served in the American Revolution because he was five years old when it ended in 1784 So your handouts should include something–I don’t know if you can see this in a little tiny screen– but your handout should include a list of websites that I will discuss today and they will include links to specific pages on our website that are dedicated to military research Our digital collections include World War I Service Records, Gold Star Files and Active Military Service Reports, also called Home Address Reports Military databases on our website include the Alabama Civil War Service Database and the Gold Star Database To further search our books and manuscript collections, you may also keyword search our catalog using the name of the word you are researching So here is a screenshot from a record in our catalog. You will note the encircled notation to the right that provides a link to selected records from this collection that have been digitized While all collections do not have digitized materials or finding aids, this one has both Container lists help show what the collection contains and how it is arranged Here is a screenshot of one version of Fold3’s homepage. The versions sometimes vary Use the menu to the left to select which war you would like to search, then use the search bar to enter a name and then press the enter key to submit your search. You can then narrow the results by state and add keywords to your search. You may also choose to browse all titles for a particular war This is where you will find specific collection names that I will mention in this presentation For Ancestry.com, you can search for applicable collections three ways You may use the Card Catalog function in the top left corner to do a collection or keyword search You may also use the Search All Records in Alabama function and choose Military Records from the list And there are also 25 collections that are Alabama specific with 180 total military collections that can include information on soldiers who lived in Alabama Search the entire list of collections by clicking on the circle link at the bottom of the page Occurring before Alabama was a state, the Revolutionary War began in 1775

with military action occurring in coastal states such as Massachusetts, Virginia, and even Georgia. ADAH does not hold original Revolutionary War records but we do offer a few resources. The book ‘Revolutionary War Soldiers in Alabama’ is a list of known Revolutionary War soldiers who later lived in this state. Compiled by Thomas Owen and published in 1911, this information is published on our website and also accessible as an Ancestry.com database Fold3 and Ancestry.com are great resources for available Revolutionary War records You may also request records from the National Archives at www.archives.gov In addition to service records, Revolutionary War pensions and bounty land records can provide fascinating details about soldiers’ service and personal life. Pensions were provided to servicemen and dependents. The types of pensions included disability pensions for those disabled in the line of duty and service pensions for those who served for specified lengths of time Pensions were also given for service in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and can include detailed information such as the veteran’s name, age or date of birth, residence, birth place, death date and location, marriage date and place, names of children and ages or birth dates of children Bounty land warrants gave rights to free land in the public domain to soldiers following their service and served as another enticement to enter and remain in service as well as an additional payment for service. A note is that bounty land was also given in the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Indian Wars between 1775 and 1855, and we’ll talk more about these later ADAH has very few service records for the War of 1812. Many service records and pension records held by the National Archives have been digitized and are available on Fold3 and Ancestry.com Pension applications are listed in the state from which the veteran served. Ancestry has a collection entitled War of 1812 Prisoner of War Records that may prove useful in your research Books and other records can be found by doing a keyword search of our catalog or in the digital collections on our website For the Creek and Indian Wars of 1813 and 1836, ADAH records include Governor’s Records and Correspondence for 1836 and private manuscript materials with several records included in the digital collections on our website. The Alabamians at War ADAH Public Information subject files are also another resource. Ancestry.com has two collections that may be of particular interest ‘Red Eagle and the Wars with the Creek Indians of Alabama’ is actually a digitized book that follows historical events. The U.S. Amy indian Campaign Service Records Index 1815 to 1858 may also prove useful. Fold3 has relevant collections that include the Indian Wars Service Records Index, Index to Indian War Pension Files, Bounty Land Warrant Applications Index, Army Register of Enlistment 1798-1914, and Army Registers 1798-1969 The next conflict American soldiers were involved in was the Mexican War You will find that many Civil War veterans will have also served in the Mexican War as well Fold3 holds several relevant collections, including the Mexican War Service Record Index and the Bounty Land Warrant Applications Index 1790-1855 that includes the War of 1812, the Indian Wars and the Mexican War. The Mexican War Service Records collection includes detailed service records for Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas and Pennsylvania but is not Alabama specific Ancestry.com has the collection’s U.S. Compiled Military Service Records for American Volunteer Soldiers – Mexican War, and U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants 1789-1858 The ADAH Civil War Service Database is comprised of 238,000 index cards compiled from service

records and other materials. Books and private manuscript collections at ADAH can also provide history and insight Regimental history files are available in the ADAH Digital Collections on our website as part of the Textual Materials Collection Here are some other collections that may be useful in your search Pension Applications for Soldiers and their Widows are available on Ancestry.com in a collection entitled Alabama, Texas and Virginia Confederate Pensions with some applications also on Fold3 While it is worth looking both places, Ancestry.com is the most user-friendly for searching pensions The 1907 and 1921 Confederate Census Records are available on Ancestry.com Confederate Amnesty Papers is a collection that contains applications for pardons, oaths of allegiance, and more and is available on Fold3. Federal Civil War pensions can be obtained from the National Archives with some indexed records on Fold3 and Ancestry.com For service records, we turn to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Compiled Service Records These records can include index, service, medical, and prisoner of war records Both Union and Confederate soldiers are represented in the Compiled Service Records collections which are available on Fold3. Muster rolls for many units can also be found on Ancestry.com There are a few collections that provide information on the Spanish-American War Two worth mentioning are the Spanish-American War Service Records Index found on Fold3 and the U.S. Spanish-American War Volunteers Index to Compiled Military Service Records 1898 found on Ancestry.com. There are also a few records at ADAH in the Public Information Subject Files of the Alabamians at War Collection So before we move into World War I, it is important to mention the horrible loss of records that took place at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973. The National Personnel Record Center is located in St. Louis. Missouri and is the official repository for military service, personnel, and medical records for those who served from 1912 to present On July 12 1973, a fire occurred at the NPRC that destroyed one-third or approximately 16 to 18 million of the official military personnel records in their holdings Approximately 80% of records for those who served in the Army between 1912 to 1960 were destroyed. This fire affected both World War I and World War II records While much was destroyed, the staff had been working to salvage any usable materials to create reconstructed files. This means that requesting your soldier’s file from the National Personnel Record Center is worth trying, but your results may vary in success World War I draft records – So, Ancestry.com and Fold3 have all U.S. draft registration records. Draft records are also available on familysearch.org Other records collections available beginning with Ancestry.com include the American Soldiers of World War I that contain some photos, the Alabama National Guard Index Cards 1897-1924, the Alabama Military Card Files 1917-1918, and the Alabama World War I Gold Star Index 1917-1918 ADAH has World War I service records for Alabama soldiers available in our digital collections There are also a limited number of books, diaries, and letters in our collections that may be of use Check our catalog for information on these and also don’t forget to consult the Alabamians at War Public Information Subject Files in our holdings There are a greater number of collections devoted to World War II on Ancestry.com and Fold3 For Ancestry.com, you can do a keyword search in the card catalog to find collections related to World War II The first two here are directly related to Alabama Soldiers,

the Alabama World War II Military Dead and Wounded, and the Alabama National Guard Index Cards 1897-1924 Also of potential value are the U.S. World War II Hospital Admission Card Files, the U.S. World War II Draft Card Records for Young Men, the U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards 1942, U.S.Headstone and Internment Records for U.S.Military Cemeteries on Foreign Soil, U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans 1925-1963, U.S. Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries 1862-1960, the U.S. Rosters and World War II Dead, the U.S. Navy Casualty Books 1776-1941, and World War II Prisoners of War. Note that some collections on Fold3 and Ancestry such as the Alabama National Guard Index Cards that include dates from 1897 to 1924 and the U.S. Navy Casualty Book 1776-1941 will have date ranges that allow them to be useful in multiple wars Fold3 World War II collections include Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls, U.S. Marine Corps Casualty Indexes for World War II, Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death Files, World War II “Old Man’s Draft” Registration Cards, World War II Army and Army Air Force Casualty Lists, World War II Army Enlistment Records, World War II Draft Registration Cards, World War II Navy Muster Rolls, and World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualty List World War II draft cards like you see pictured here can provide some great details such as the next of kin contact information, address and place of employment. You may sometimes note similar or seemingly exact copies of collections found on both Fold3 and Ancestry.com Even though it may seem redundant, it’s important to check both sites to be sure information is not missed. Errors such as incorrect indexing can sometimes leave one database with information that the other does not include So, moving to the Korean War – as we move into more recent wars, we also find fewer records This is due in part to privacy laws that govern the release of personal records to the public Most information on Korean War and Vietnam War service only involves records for soldiers who lost their lives during the war. For the Korean War, Fold3 has collections on the Korean War Casualties Index Records and the American Battle Monuments Commission Index Records These records can provide regimental information and dates of birth and death Ancestry.com has collections on Alabama Soldiers in the Korean War, U.S. World War I, World War II, and Korean War Casualty Listings, U.S. Korean War Prisoners of War, U.S. World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas and U.S. Korean War Casualties In addition to military records, there are other sources that can provide great information for military events and servicemen. Newspapers.com is a great way to access newspapers from all over the state and beyond. Newspaper information can include draft and enlistment notices, regiment service and history, battle accounts, articles regarding when troops leave and return, obituaries and notices regarding wounded or deceased soldiers. Newspapers are particularly helpful for Civil War, World War I and World War II research, but can include much much more Also consider searching for credible maps that show battle movements and key locations for the war your ancestors served in. Maps can help put events into historical and geographical context They can help you understand what states a war or specific battles took place in and they can give you a better understanding of troop movements on a particular battlefield or campaign Always consider the source, know who made the map, and what purpose it was for and what period it was made

A modern day map will be far different from what soldiers observed in 1776 And finally understand that maps found on a random Wikipedia page may not be nearly as accurate as those found in an archive or a well-known military history website I personally like to find several maps and then compare them with each other and also with accounts of the campaign, battle, or war I’m researching One site that has credible military maps is the American Battlefield Trust Their map offerings include battles from various wars fought on American soil and I have provided that link here. You can also check out ADAH’s map database for some good credible maps There are many great resources online that can help you learn more about military records research The National Archives contains publications and how-to resources that explain records they have and how to obtain them. I have included a link in the handout to the publication ‘Military Service Records at the National Archives’. FamilySearch wikis can provide leads to military records and resources, but never rely on their complete credibility For instance, the Alabama Military FamilySearch wiki page cites a Florida fort as being located in Alabama, so you can never be certain that the content presented is completely accurate The same can be said for a Google search. Consider your source, verify the information, and never take user-submitted information at face value. Also know that even original records can provide false leads if you do not determine that you have the records for the correct person Just because you find a record for James Smith of Alabama does not mean you have found your James Smith The online Encyclopedia of Alabama is another great resource that includes articles regarding Alabama’s role in wars as well as their impact on the state This concludes our Military Records Research presentation. We have time for a few questions before we end the program. If we don’t make it through all the comments or if you think of additional questions after we have finished here, feel free to email me at kayla.scott@archives.alabama.gov So what questions do we have, Carlie Anne? CAB: Okay. I unmuted myself. So, let’s see here. I saw one earlier–if I can get my mouse to work– I know someone asked earlier if we had access to Fold3 and Newspapers.com and I answered that one for you We do have one person that asked, they said: If I do not see my relatives listed in your files for World War II and the Korean War, how do I get included? That one may need a little more clarification Presenter: Yes, if they don’t have a chance to type more clarification, they can feel free to email me and I can try to help with that CAB: And the reason we ask for more clarification is because what, and Kayla can probably explain this better than I can, but the files that we do have, you know, did your ancestor, is your ancestor from Alabama that served in World War II or the Korean War? Things like that, what exactly, what kind of information are you looking for? Okay, they said: Purple Heart, served 1943-1952 Presenter: I would say email me and I’ll see if I can can find some follow-up information because I’m still, I’m not completely certain CAB: So what I can say, military records are federal records, so for the most part, those are going to be on the federal rec level. So federal records, military records, are held at the National Personnel Record Center in St. Louis. So for the majority of military records, they’re going to be housed at NARA and not necessarily at a state archive because we focus on

state level and not national or federal. So for a lot of that, we have very little on the Korean War, so really, most of what we could do that would be in this building that wouldn’t be Fold3 would be Newspapers.com. You know, that would be the extent of it. For World War II, as Kayla mentioned, we have, you know, service cards and then we have these address cards that are in our digital collection, but that’s really kind of the extent of what we have for that, as far as what’s in this building. So, you know, a lot of times for military, especially more modern military campaigns, that’s going to be on the federal level, so you may have to look at a more national archive for that Let’s see, Laura said: I have my grandfather’s World War I discharge papers. Essentially, she has not found his accurate record anywhere else, so do you have any suggestions? She’s got the discharge papers Do you have this DD-214? Is that what you use for discharge paper? Let’s see, I’m looking for other questions. There’s a Q&A box, Kayla, I’m trying to pull it up, but I think only I can see mine. Presenter: Yes, and that’s that’s why I was confused about the question earlier. CAB: This person Judy says: My dad was in the military until his death January 20th 1959, but NARA says all records burned Presenter: So, I would, depending on how long it’s been since you checked with them, I would still continue to ask about these periodically, every few years, because they are trying to reassemble some form of the records that were there, you know, if there are some pages that were in the file that are legible, they’re trying to reconstruct the files in that manner. Depending on exactly where it was in the room and, you know, what happens, it may be completely lost but it is still worth, you know, checking back every once in a while just to be sure that they haven’t found something further CAB: Okay, let’s see Then, this attendee said: My father was in air transport command during World War II, so not actually military but sort of military. Any place for records on him? Presenter: I would check Fold3. Just go through the collections. Probably not, but sometimes like general staffing, it seems like sometimes that will get sort of randomly put in some of those collections CAB: Someone commented chroniclingamerica.loc.gov is great for searching newspapers, and I just want to say that is very true And also someone commented a link to the American State Papers, so thank you. So you did that if anybody wants to see that. Are there any other questions? Okay, this person says: From a history standpoint, does the Archives receive history oral information? Yes, we do have oral histories here We do have some. They’re mostly going to be Alabama related, but we do have some

Okay, this person wanted to know: Do any databases help find next of kin in the Civil War? This person says they’re finding muster rolls but not next of kin information Presenter: The only thing that I can think of that will show like next of kin is going to be the pension applications Those will have a ton of information, may even have their children on them, but depending on how they filled it out. It may sound mean, but you almost want your ancestor to have had some issues getting approved for a pension because then they filled out so much more information than just, you know, the initial pension application. There will be letters and further documentation than just a pension that didn’t have any issues going through. So I would definitely check there And also, don’t just look for the pensioner, look for the widow because sometimes it will be listed more clearly through the widow’s name once the veteran has passed away CAB: Okay, are there any other questions? I reposted the link that one of the attendees was so kind to send for the American State Papers. I reposted it just in case some people couldn’t see it If there’s anything else you guys want to ask us, feel free. I’m looking for more questions Okay, this person says: My grandfather was a civilian employee at the Chemical Weapons Service Facility at Camp–I do not know how to say that so I’m not gonna try.–Where can I get more information about his time there? The camp is s-i-b-e-r-t, Kayla. Presenter: SIbert maybe? CAB: I don’t know Presenter: That is something that I’m not as familiar with. CAB: Might be an email Presenter: Yes, send me an email about that so I can track that down further. I wonder if maybe the National Archives because, you know, they have personnel records as well, so I wonder if that could possibly include something like that CAB: I’m commenting back and sending her your email Okay, all right Okay, let’s see All right, I’m not seeing any other questions. It’s very possible that I may have missed some. These boxes are really tiny, so if anyone has any other questions, please feel free to email us or you can find our numbers on the website, and our emails too, if you missed where we put them out. For the handout, this will be uploaded onto our YouTube channel. It should be uploaded, I would think, in the next couple of days, and then if you want the Powerpoint or the handout, I thought it was going to be available for you to get the handout, but if not, if you’re not finding it, if you’re having an issue finding it, just email one of us. The handout has both the military and the land on it together, so you’ll get both even if you want both, or just one, but if you want the Powerpoint, you’ll have to email us and we’ll send them to you and they’ll be separate. But yeah, that’s not a problem

Presenter: And do check your email, because I know some people, depending on when they register, like maybe the more early registrants were supposed to get something in their inbox. CAB: Right, because that’s what I thought we were gonna send it out, so check to make sure you haven’t already gotten it because that was, we were gonna send the handout, I think, beforehand. So just check your spam to see if maybe it went in there. If you didn’t get it or, you know, just feel free to email us and we will send it to you. And I mean, my notes are basically exactly the Powerpoint, but if y’all want that, I’ll send that too. I mean, it’s, you know, it was, I know it’s a lot of information, so it’s always nice to be able to go back and look. And obviously, if you have any questions, please contact us. I know we we did answer some people’s questions. I know there are probably some others that we missed, and if so. I’m very sorry. I’m gonna look real quick just to make sure Let’s see Presenter: Someone was nice enough to post a link that gives some more information, it looks like to Camp Sibert CAB: Oh good, thank you. Presenter: I put that in the comments. CAB: Thank you. I don’t even know where that is. I was so worried I was gonna butcher the name. Okay, so all right. Well, I think that kind of wraps it up Thank you all so much for coming and being a part of this We hate that we can’t do this in person, but it’s a new and exciting thing So I hope you all enjoyed it. But thank you very much. Presenter: Yes, thank you everyone