Genealogy Search Tips

6 Tips for Finding Military Information

Discover an Ancestor's Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Physical Description, Occupation, Address and More

There are many different sources for military information. Some sources are more relaible than others, some are only good for certain time periods and some are not always accurate.

We have seen different years of death for the same individual in different documents - so it is beneficial to have data from more than one information source.

World War I Draft Registration Cards

If you are looking for the birth date of a male who was living in the United States between June, 1917 and September, 1918 you might try looking for a copy of his World War I Draft Registration Card.

All males born between 1872 and 1900 were required to register for the draft and the birth date was one of the questions. See our discussion of Military Records for additional information.

World War II Draft Registration Cards

If you are looking for the birth date of a male who was living in the United States in 1942 you might try looking for a copy of his World War II Draft Registration Card.

All males born between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897 were required to register for the draft and the birth date was one of the questions. See our discussion of Military Records for additional information.

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Military Enlistment Records

Military records for the different branches of service are good places to find birth dates. For example an individual's enlistment records should contain the individual's date of birth.

In most cases military records are an accurate source of birth dates because the individual submitted information about himself or herself while still young. See our discussion of Military Records for additional information.

Historical Newspapers

Think of an historical event that affected members of your family - like World War I, World War II or other military conflicts. Or perhaps the 1918 flu pandemic (the Spanish Flu) that killed over 50 million people worldwide.

More and more historical newspapers are now indexed by keywords. So just enter the historical event that interests you and search the historical newspaper database.

Find Ancestor Description

Sometimes you would like to have some ideas about what your ancestor looked like because in many cases photos are not available.

Take a look at the World War I and World War II Draft Registration Cards where you can find height and build information as well as a registrant's eye and hair color. See our discussion of Military Records for additional information.

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