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Military Service and Pension Records

1775 - 1916     1916 - present     Request a DD Form 214     Medals & Awards

Hundreds of thousands have served in the Armed Forces of the United States, producing millions of records. These are some of the most overlooked records by genealogists. While service records may contain little concerning a veteran's family, they are rich in history and information about the individual.

We specialize in Military Service and Pension Records from the Revolutionary War to the present day. If you are unable to locate a particular item, please contact us




Find Your Ancestors

Most modern military service records are restricted to the veteran or their immediate family. However, anyone can access some information for any veteran. Before requesting a search for Military Personnel files from World War I to the present time, please read the information here.

Early Era Military Service Records and Pension Files, 1775 - 1916

Compiled Military Service Records and Military Pension Files are available for veterans from 1775 until just before World War I.

In general, the Compiled Service Record tells when and where a veteran served and usually little else. It rarely contains genealogical or family information and unless you are interested in the historical aspects of their service, you may be disappointed in these records.

The Military Pension File is generally what family historians seek for genealogical information. A pension file will usually contain the name of the veteran, legal residence, evidence of the place and date of birth, evidence of marriage, discharge papers or a statement from Adjutant General's office, and occasionally narratives, medical statements, and other information. If their widow subsequently applied for their pension, it will usually include her name, date of birth, maiden name, marriage information, date and place of the veteran's death, residence, date and place of her death, and it may name surviving minor children and their birth information.

In general Military Pension Records are available through the National Archives for veterans and widows who died prior to 1927. Later pension records are still held by the Veterans Administration and information is subject to the Privacy and Freedom of Information Acts.
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Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) from the Modern Era (approximately 1916 - present day)

If you are the veteran or next of kin: Military Service Records from World War I to the present are restricted. However, if you are a veteran or next of kin of a deceased, former member of the military, you are entitled to a copy of your  DD Form 214 (Report of Separation), which is essential to claim any veteran benefits; VA home loan, medical, education, and burial just to name a few. If you are the veteran or next of kin (defined by law as a "surviving spouse that has not remarried, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother"). click here IF YOU ARE NOT THE VETERAN OR NEXT OF KIN FOR MORE INFORMATION

You may also be able to obtain a copy of your entire Official Military Personnel File and/or Medical Records . If you would like our assistance in obtaining these documents for you, please call for a FREE ESTIMATE (800) 842-4749.

If you are not the veteran or next of kin: You may still be able to obtain pertinent information about any veteran's military service record. However, this information will be generally limited to the name of the veteran, service number, rank, branch and dates of service, awards and decorations, and the place of their entrance and separation. If the veteran is deceased, you may also receive their date of birth, date and place of death and place of burial. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Medals and Awards

We can assist you in obtaining medals or awards to which you were entitled but were never presented. We can also help you obtain replacements or duplicates of your awards and medals. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE ESTIMATE  

1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis
   1973 NPRC Fire
   courtesy of the National Archives
The 1973 Fire at NPRC: The National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, maintains the personnel files of military service records from World War I and later.  On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at NPRC destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files. Approximately 80 percent of the records for ARMY personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 and 75 percent of the records for Air Force personnel discharged September 25, 1947 to January 1, 1964 (with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.) were destroyed.

If you fall into this category, the National Records Center will attempt to reconstruct your service record using alternative sources and can usually verify military service and provide a Certification of Military Service. This Certification can be used for any purpose for which the original discharge document was used, including application for veterans benefits.

Good luck in your research.  If you prefer to have us assist you in obtaining these records for you, ask for a free estimate today. Our rates average 30 - 50 percent less than many of our competitors.

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Last updated: 12 Jul 2010