The Quakers kept Pennsylvania from forming a militia for quite some time. However, the French and Indian War finally caused a militia to be formed in order to protect frontier settlers in the western region. The Pennsylvania State Archives holds most of those original records, as well as military records up until the end of the Vietnam War. There is restricted access to World War II military records for Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Archives series 2, 5, and 6 each hold records from the time of the French and Indian War all the way through the end of the Mexican War, including names of both sailors and soldiers. Researchers should also consult similar records at the National Archives and the Pennsylvania State Archives.
The David Library of the American Revolution has several interesting documents on file and their collection has been indexed and microfilmed.
All of the colonies along the Mid-Atlantic had some Loyalists living within their borders, and Pennsylvania was no exception. Most of its Loyalist population was located in the southeastern region. Many of them later left to go to Canada and England. “Opponents of the Revolution Whose Pennsylvania Estates Were Confiscated,” Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 30 (1978): 237-53 lists some of those Loyalists. Pennsylvania Archives series 6 volumes 12 and 13 “Forfeited Estates Accounts” may also include useful information on Loyalists. The Library of Congress and the Public Archives of Canada each have Pennsylvania Loyalist Regiment muster roll copies on file.
The Pennsylvania State Library and the National Archives Mid-Atlantic Region each have a microfilmed index called Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers in Pennsylvania Organizations on file. The Pennsylvania State Archives also has an every-name index available.
Many records relating to the Spanish-American War, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and other military conflicts and issues can be found on the website for the Pennsylvania State Archives.
The World War II draft’s fourth registration original cards can be found at the National Archives Mid-Atlantic Region. They contain information on men who were between the ages of 45 and 64, as of April of 1942.
The county recorder of deeds generally holds soldier discharge papers from the Civil War onward, but there is restricted access to those records. The Office of the Director of Veterans’ Affairs in each county generally has burial records for veterans. The Pennsylvania State Archives also holds copies of those records.
Pennsylvania in the Colonial War
Colonial War Website Links
Pennsylvania in the Revolutionary War
See the Pennsylvania Revolutionary War Site Page
Pennsylvania in the War of 1812
War of 1812 Website Links
Pennsylvania in the Civil War
See the Pennsylvania Civil War Site Page
Pennsylvania Modern Wars
War Website Links