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 Colonial War Books (amazon.com)
Massachusetts in the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War Website Links
- Research in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783 (uswars.net)
- Organized military Massachusetts units in the Revolutionary War (uswars.net)
- Revolutionary War links from fold3.comwith original data from the National Archives:
- Massachusetts Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864 These slips serve as an index to final and last payments to over 65,000 veterans of the Revolutionary War and some later wars.
- Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pensions Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files.
- Massachusetts Revolutionary War Prize Cases – Captured Vessels Prize cases heard on appeal from Colonial and state courts by the Continental Congress and the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture.
- Massachusetts Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 Muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
- Massachusetts Revolutionary War Service Records Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.
- Revolutionary War links from http://search.ancestry.com:
- Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, 17 Vols. – Prepared by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, this is an indexed compilation of the records of the Massachusetts soldiers and sailors who served in the army or navy during the Revolutionary War. This is a 17 volume series, and contains an alphabetized list of all surnames. There are over 175,000 records in this database, which give, when available, the name and age of the individual, town of residence, the date and location of enlistment, areas and length of service, date of discharge, and description of their physical features.
- Massachusetts Revolutionary War Books (amazon.com)
Massachusetts in the War of 1812
War of 1812 Website Links
Massachusetts in the Civil War
Civil War Website Links
- Research in the Civil War 1861-1865
- Civil War links from fold3.com with original data from the National Archives:
- Massachusetts Civil War Infantry Regiments and Units
- Massachusetts Civil War Cavalry Regiments and Units
- Massachusetts Civil War Artillery Regiments and Units
- Civil War links from ancestry.com:
- U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865
- U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865
- Massachusetts Army & Navy, 1861-1865 – A record Massachusetts’ involvement during the War of 1861-65, this database lists Massachusetts officers and soldiers who were killed in action. Each entry includes the following information: name and rank of the individual, command, engagement, and date of death.
- Massachusetts soldiers, sailors, and marines in the Civil War
- Record of the Massachusetts volunteers, 1861-1865
- Annual report of the Adjutant General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1863-1865
- Massachusetts in the Army and Navy during the War of 1861-1865
- History of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia : “the Cadet Regiment”
- The Fifty-Seventh Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion : Army of the Potomac
- History of the Forty-second Regiment Infantry, Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862, 1863, 1864
- Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia
- History of the Fifty-fourth regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1863-1865
- The history of the Tenth Massachusetts Battery of Light Artillery in the War of the Rebellion : formerly of the Third Corps
- The story of the Fifteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 1861-1864
- A record of the Twenty-Third Regiment Mass. Vol. Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865
- Record of the service of the Forty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in North Carolina, August 1862 to May 1863
- The Fifty-fifth Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Colord
- The epic of Fort Massachusetts
- Regiments and armories of Massachusetts: an historical narration of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Vols. 1-2
- Massachusetts Civil War Books (amazon.com)
Massachusetts Modern Wars
War Website Links
- Massachusetts Spanish American War Records (search.ancestry.com) 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 (search.ancestry.com) 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.