State of Alabama
Military Records Research

American military heritage in Alabama started with the establishment of the colonial militia early on in the seventeenth century typically to fight to prevent attacks from native inhabitants. The applications and value of Alabama military records in genealogical research for ancestors who have been veterans are apparent but Alabama military records can also be important to researchers whose primary ancestors were not soldiers in any war. A result of the quantity of genealogical details covered in a number of Alabama military pension documents they ought to not be ignored all through the research process.

Alabama residents have served in many wars throughout the state's history. So, both federal and state records pertaining to Alabama residents in the military exist. The National Archives has the largest collection.

Soldiers who lived and died in the state during the time of the Revolutionary War, and some soldiers who died outside the state, are included in Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers and Patriots Alabama. Some date has been compiled from various sources. The resulting volume includes soldiers' names, names of their spouses, names of their children, and names of their parents. It also includes records of their military services and other useful information.

Files of military service surnames have been microfilmed by the Alabama Department of Archives and History and are available to researchers. Those files include:

Records of Revolutionary War Veterans Residing in Alabama, Records of Indian Wars of 1812, 1813, and 1814, Records of Territorial Service in 1818, Records of Indian War of 1836, Records of Mexican War in 1846, Records of Civil War (1861-1865), Records of Spanish-American War in 1898, Records of World War I (1917-1918).

Each soldier listed in the series has a card listing his unit, rank, the information's source and, of course, the soldier's full name. Many of those listed sources are not official. So, researchers should be aware of that when looking up military information about Alabama residents.

Alabama Civil War soldier lists are fairly common. However, many of them are incomplete. Copies of the index to Confederate records from the Alabama Department of Archives and History can also be found in a number of places. That index includes records from the 1907, 1921, and 1927 pensioners censuses. Many Civil War records can also be found as part of the Wallace State College Family and Regional History Program.

Indigent resident Confederate veterans were eligible for pensions, as were widows of dead veterans. The following are all types of information included in those pension files: Name, Rank, Unit, Service Dates, Place of Enlistment, Place of Discharge, Wounded Status, Pension Qualifications.

Widows filling out applications in 1920 had to list their birthplaces, dates of birth, names of their fathers, when and where their fathers died, and when and where the widows were married to the soldiers. A pensioner could not make more than $300 per year and still qualify for a pension. Also, his real property could not have a value over $400. The Alabama Department of Archives and History holds the original records of those files. However, those records have also been placed on microfilm by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Copies can be obtained from the FHL.

Alabamians have seen military service in all wars of the United States. Military records are found at both the state and federal levels.

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