Searching for your ancestor's military past.
A complete list of military records available on familysearch:
I prefer the draft cards of familysearch as the images are of better quality than the unreadable watered-down images on ancestry.com.
You may find some of the draft cards available on Fold3/footenote; but not all.
One of the best sources for information is the WWI and WWII draft cards:
United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
If you have ancestry.com, you can search the BIRLS file:
U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 (ancestry.com)
U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 (ancestry.com)
Nationwide Gravesite Locator
For Pennsylvania Military on ancestry.com
Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999 on ancestry.com
Recently, I sent for my own father's OMPF from the National Records Center. More on this later.
The place to begin is the The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Determine the records you are requesting, and the correct form to use.
Official Military Personnel File (OMPF)
The form to use for request by U.S. Mail is the Military Record Requests Using Standard Form 180 (SF-180)
Requesting Copies of Older (pre-WWI) Military Service Records.
How to Order Older Military Service or Pension Records
Full Pension Application File-Civil War, 1860 and Later: The cost for copies is $80 for the first 100 pages and $.70 per additional page
Order Compiled records based on military service in the United States Army for regular forces raised by the Federal Government (officers who served before June 30, 1917 and enlisted men who served before October 31, 1912) online:
For the best results, order the $80.00 Full Pension Application File-Civil War, 1860 and Later.
Order this versus the Compiled Military Service File (NATF 86)
Before you order, search and verify the records you have researched belong to your ancestor! I recommend ordering by mail, and enclosing the added information and files that you have as supporting documents for the individual archivist to assist in finding the correct Military file for your ancestor.
Also, if you ancestor fought in the Mexican War, and the Civil War, these are two separate Pension files and have to be ordered separately.
Civil War = $80.00
Mexican War = $55.00
I used the e-vetrecs to file for my father's military records.
I printed it out, signed it, added in a personal letter, and added in an article in the local newspaper about my father's service, and a copy of the photo of his food handlers permit, and his obituary for proof of relationship.
In regards to filling out the Military Service Records and Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs, DD Form 214)
On section II, under the line other, add the following phrase:
"All records and files, all awards, decorations, and medals awarded, owed and due"
Since there are seven Civil War ancestors, and one Mexican War veteran in my tree. I feel this is something I would look for in the future, but at present it is beyond my financial means. Or I would share the results with you.
Also sent in at the same time was an application for my grand uncle - my mother's uncle. She is the living next of kin as mentioned in his obituary. He was never married, and had no children. I enclosed the obituaries of her father, an her uncle's obituary to show the relationship. She enclosed a personal letter with her application. Once received his OMPF will hopefully be used to apply for a military headstone for an unmarked grave. She is still awaiting to see what is sent to her. He was a purple heart recipient, and this is one item I was hoping that would be sent to my mother. Nothing in her U.S. mailbox as of 18 Aug 2014.
Be sure to read
Frequently Asked Questions:
Since my grand uncle is buried in an unmarked grave, I hope to apply for a military headstone for his grave.
Headstones, Markers and Medallions
VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker
Persons Eligible for Burial in a National Cemetery
This is the enclosed information I received when I requested my father's military records (Korean War), and my granduncle's military records (WWII).