For questions about finding or interpreting records of military personnel or units, including service records, muster rolls, medal rolls, casualty lists, and regimental log books.
Military records often include personal identifying information collected and kept by a nation state to facilitate the management of its armed forces.
As contributing to the defense of one's community evolved from a part-time role shared by all into a profession of arms, the amount of information collected on individuals members by military forces increased dramatically.
Today, military records (such as service records) form an important source of information on the lives of some ancestors.
The nature, extent and accessibility of the records kept varies between countries and across eras but the following description of one nation's World War I records is illustrative of the scope:
- attestation paper – the attestation paper was completed by the person on enlistment and normally gives next-of-kin, employment details, marital status, age, place of birth and physical description
- service and casualty form – this form shows movements and transfers between units, promotions, when and how the soldier was injured and where treatment was received
- military correspondence – correspondence between the Department of Defence and the soldier’s next-of-kin may include notification of wounds or death, awards and medals and questions about the whereabouts of the serviceman or woman