It seems like once we are in November the flurry of holidays is upon us…even with this strange year of 2020. One of the holidays that often gets overlooked is Veterans Day. All of us owe a debt to veterans for putting their lives on the line, putting their lives on hold, and sacrificing so much for their country and for us. As genealogists, we likely have at least one, if not several, ancestors who served. Let’s look at some resources to help us understand their military service.
If you have been reading my blog for any time, you know that a good book is difficult for me to pass up. The FamilyTree Magazine has released a digital book that focuses on researching your military ancestors called “Genealogist’s Military Records Field Manual eBook”. According to their description, this book includes information across various military wars and content includes information previously published in their magazine. While I have not purchased it yet, it is on my list.
In addition the military records that can be found on paid sites like Fold3, Ancestry and MyHeritage, you can take advantage of the resources available at the National Archives (NARA). Look specifically at the Military Records page to understand the wealth of information that is available. Not everything is available online and the pandemic may mean that you might need to wait until access is available.
As you look at your ancestors across the pond, remember that they may have had military experience and there are records available for some regions. If you have military relatives in the UK, GENUKI has a listing of various military records available to genealogists. According to FamilySearch, Austria (think Austro-Hungarian Empire) has military records that might be worth a look. I have not found my Luxembourg military records yet. With the changing of boarders in European history, it is likely that they are retained in another country’s records. Ah another item for my research list.
I hope that these resources trigger ideas of where to search for military records. As we understand more recent events and the sacrifices that our military members make, it can help us better imagine what it was like for a soldier in the Civil War or even further back in history. The uncertainty of their future and the people they left behind at home. Take some time this week to thank a veteran and research your own family’s veterans. Happy Veterans Day!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.