Getting free military records for genealogical searches should be as easy as the red tape in the federal government offices. Meaning to get the information is free, but to get the information quickly can be the problem.
How is the information free?
The Freedom of Information Act is the reason all of this data is free. You can get all of the following information including name, service number, dates of service, final rank, salary, branch of service, final duty status, sources of commission and military education level.
You can also get a military person’s assignments and geographical locations, any promotion with sequence numbers, decorations, awards, picture, any court martial transcripts of trials and where they entered and were separated from service. If the person you are looking for is deceased, then you can get their place of birth, geographical location and date of death. Also where they were buried.
Other federal government employees are subject to public release of their name. They are also subject to the release of past and present information such as job titles, locations, grades, salaries and positions.
Other sites say that they provide free access to information but only after you pay forty dollars a month but it does come up with legitimate information. Other sites have you pay and you still find it hard to navigate the website.
There are places you can go and get the information that you do not have to pay for. You just have to know which documents contain the information you are looking for, for that particular era. Once you know where to go, finding the information should not be that difficult.
What Documents Have This Information?
If you are looking for a volunteer who served the military, look in the National Archives Microfilm. The original records are available at the National Archives Building located in Washington, D.C. For people serving traditional military service you can try the “Regular Army Enlistment Papers” for people enlisted from 1798-1894. If you are looking for an officer, you should look in the Francis B. Heitman’s Historical Register.
Where Can I Find the Information?
If you are looking for information on serviceman from Revolutionary War through 1912, you can look at the National Archives Building, which is located in Washington, D.C. From 1912 through the present you should look at the National Military Records Center, which is located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Finding information on military members in the family can sometimes be a time of frustration. This is especially true if you do not know where to look for the information. Once you know where to look, everything gets much easier.