military records
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United states military history in Massachusetts started out with the establishment of the colonial militia beginning in the seventeenth century basically to battle against assaults from native inhabitants. The benefits and value of Massachusetts military records in family history research for ancestors that were veterans are evident but Massachusetts military records can also be crucial to researchers whose direct ancestors just weren’t soldiers in any war. A result of the quantity of genealogical information covered in several Massachusetts military pension data files they ought to never be ignored throughout the research process.

There have been several armed conflicts in the history of Massachusetts. So, it follows that there are many military records and resources available. Several of those resources have been published in different places.

The Massachusetts Archives holds a service record card file index for 1643 to 1783. Also there are Spanish American War records, records from the War of 1812, and records from Shays’ Rebellion. Massachusetts National Guard records from 1636 can be found at the Massachusetts Military Museum and Archives, along with Civil War volunteer regiment records for Massachusetts, records from Massachusetts sailors and soldiers for 1775 to 1940, and Office of the Adjutant General archives. The Office of the Adjutant General, Military Records Branch holds Massachusetts veterans records from 1941 to the present day.

There are 17 volumes that make up the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. However, after it was published, 20,000 more names were added. Those cards were later microfilmed and filed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Massachusetts Archives. The listings are organized alphabetically according to how they appeared on reports, muster rolls, and pat files. They are also organized according to town residence of the subject, in cases where that information was available. Researchers should note that there may be more than one mention of the same person in the cards and volumes. Researchers should also note that there are many Massachusetts Loyalist records available.

While the Adjutant General’s Office can be a good source of military research materials, other sources should also be consulted. Those sources could include the city or town clerk’s office, as well as any war memorials in the town or city.

Massachusetts in the Colonial War

Colonial War Website Links

Massachusetts in the Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Website Links

Massachusetts in the War of 1812

War of 1812 Website Links

Massachusetts in the Civil War

Civil War Website Links

Massachusetts Modern Wars

War Website Links

  • Massachusetts Spanish American War Records  ( This is the story of the service of the Eighth Massachusetts Infantry during the Spanish American War. Roll of Honor.
  • Massachusetts Military Company History, Vol. 4  ( This is a history of the Military Company of Massachusetts, known as The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. Volume 4 begins with the establishment of peace in 1866 and covers the history until the year 1888. The database contains many facts concerning births, marriages, occupations, etc. of the past and present members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, as well as a short biography of the elected officers and recruited members, making it of particular interest to those with ancestors who served in this military.