Draft, Enlistment and Service

Collection Information

Military draft records can include those who served, as well many who were drafted but never called to service. By the same token, those who enlisted or were already in the service at the time of the conflict will not be found in draft collections. Service records can include name, residence, birth information, physical description, enlistment and discharge dates, injuries or illnesses, assignments, rank and appointments, disabilities, and more.

Draft, Enlistment, and Service records allow you to learn more about your ancestor's military service, and may also contain significant information for your family history.

You'll often find birth information, residence, physical description, occupation, and in some cases, you'll even find other family members mentioned.

Sample Images

Search Tips

  • Your ancestor may have been drafted, but never called up for service, so even if your ancestor never went to war, be sure to look for him in draft records.
  • If you have male ancestors who were born between 1872-1900 and were living in the U.S. in 1918 (immigrants and native-born citizens), be sure to check the World War I Draft Registration Records. More than 24 million men registered for that draft.
  • Some census records include information on military service. The 1840, 1910, and 1930 U.S. Censuses included questions about military service, and the 1890 Veterans’ Schedule is available for states alphabetically beginning with Kentucky (partial) through Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. It lists the residence, unit, and years of service of Civil War soldiers or their surviving widows.
  • When searching all military records from this page, you can narrow your search by entering a median year for the conflict in the field for Military Service, and select +/- 1, 2, 5, or 10 years to expand the range. For example, if you’re looking for a Civil War veteran, try the year 1863 and select a range of +/- 2 years to search 1861-1865.
  • To see what collections are available for a particular conflict, select the filter for Military Records and then the decade of the conflict from the date filters in the Card Catalog.