When researching in military records, it is helpful to determine when and where in the armed service a soldier served, and whether he or she was in the enlisted ranks or an officer. Clues may be found in family stories, old newspaper clippings, correspondence, scrapbooks, journals or diaries, service medals and memorabilia, and photographs of the soldier in uniform. The grave marker of a veteran may contain information about military service as well. Military records may have been created in peacetime or during time of war, depending on the record type, and you may even find military records for ancestors who never served. For example, the U.S. World War I Draft Registrations (found in Ancestry Library Edition) include records for 24 million men, both immigrant and U.S. citizens, who were born between about 1872 and 1900. Many of these men were never called up for service.
One of the most valuable records in military research is the soldier's service record. Service records may be found in our Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3 databases for soldiers through the Civil War and a few from the Spanish-American War. To request service records for more recent soldiers, you must request service records from the National Archives through their e-VetRecs online ordering portal or fill out form SF-180 and mail it in. You can find out more about the process by clicking the blue links.
Databases available through the San Antonio Public Library
Other on-line resources for military research: