Discovering Military Ancestors: Tips To Research Military Records And Related Archives

A black-and-white photograph of military officers

Having military ancestors in your family tree can be very exciting because  they can instantly expand  your pool of resources. From military records to other related archives, there are plenty of new sources you can explore to find great, interesting information about the Patriots, Civil War Soldiers and those who may have fought in other conflicts.

Most of these records provide extremely valuable insights into the lives of these military-affiliated individuals as well as those related to them. Of course, to get the most out of these resources, it’s important to navigate the archives smartly.

Here’s what we suggest:

Always Start with The Basics

When beginning your research, it is crucial to start with the basics. Gather as much information as possible about the individual you are researching, such as their full name, birth year, death year, and any known military service details. This will enable you to narrow down your search and locate relevant records more efficiently.

Start by searching through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) archives, which typically hold a wealth of military records. The NARA, especially, is an excellent resource for accessing pension files, military service records, and other related documents.

Additionally, consider reaching out to family members, especially older generations, who may possess valuable information, photos, letters, or documents related to military service. These personal artifacts can provide unique insights and add depth to your research.

A black-and-white photograph of a military officer

Make Use of Online Resources

In the digital age, online resources have become indispensable for military research. Numerous websites and databases specialize in military records and provide easy access to a vast array of information.

Start by exploring websites dedicated to genealogy and military research, such as or These platforms offer extensive collections of military records, including enlistment and discharge records, casualty lists, unit rosters, and more. Utilize the search functions and filters available on these websites to narrow down your results and locate specific records of interest.

Furthermore, many historical societies, military organizations, and government agencies maintain their own online archives and databases. Explore these specialized websites to uncover additional resources relevant to your research.

Ask Experts for Help

Sometimes, military records can be complex to navigate or may contain unfamiliar terminology. In such cases, seeking assistance from experts can prove invaluable. Many libraries, historical organizations, and genealogical societies employ knowledgeable staff who can guide you through the research process and offer advice on locating and interpreting military records.

Additionally, online forums and genealogy communities are excellent places to connect with fellow researchers who may have experience in military research. These communities often provide a supportive environment where you can ask questions, seek guidance, and learn from others’ experiences.


Alternatively, you could reach out to DNA detectives online, like the ones at DavisDNA And Family Research. We offer genealogy services and can help you with multiple aspects of your family history research services, including research on military ancestors.

From helping you navigate archives to making sense of the findings, we can assist you with it all.

Learn more about our services.