Types of US Military Records

If you’re looking to discover the military history of your ancestors in the US, you’ll need to start by gathering information from different military records. However, before you know exactly what you are looking for, you should have an idea of what types of military records are available. Here we provide a little background information on different records, all of which can be found easily via Forces War Records by searching now.

Service Records

Military service records provide a detailed documented history of a person’s military career, including any achievements, activities and information about the faction of the military they operated in.

Muster Rolls

The term to muster is the process of accounting for members within a particular unit of an army. A unit is mustered in when it is created and mustered out when it is dissolved. Names are read out from the muster roll in what’s known as a roll call.

Pay Rolls

Pay rolls are another great way to delve into your ancestor’s military history. As you would imagine, these records list all of the payments made to members of the army over a period of time and can help to confirm where someone was and when.

Regimental and Company Descriptive Rolls

Becoming necessary during the American Civil War, because of a destruction of original war records, Regimental and Company Descriptive Rolls – or Red Books and Blue Books  were published and summarised every military mans service. These records are great resources for tracing military ancestry back to the civil war.

Pension Records

Much like pay rolls, pension records allow you to track your ancestor via their finances whilst enlisted in the army. If your ancestor has or has ever had a pension during military service, you will be able to find them through these records.

Bounty Land Warrants

The federal government of the US supplied bounty land for servicemen in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Indian Wars as an incentive and a reward for their military service. Records of this land would have been made and can now be used to trace military service.

Forces War Records: The Leading UK Military Genealogy Specialist

Here at Forces War Records, we are a leading British military community with over a million members. Our researchers study Britain’s military history and have published a number of books and articles on the subject. We can help you in your quest to discover your family’s military history with our archive of exclusive military records.


To find out more, please feel free to contact us today. You can email us at customercare@forces-war-records.co.uk.