Do you have a family member who fought in a war? If family tradition suggests your great-grandfather fought in the Civil War and he died in 1860, chances are he did not fight in that war. Why? Because the Civil War did not start until 1861.
He may have fought in the Mexican War, however, and the family just got the wars mixed up. You’d be wasting a lot of time looking for a Civil War military record that did not exist and would miss finding the one for him concerning the Mexican War.
So let’s start on the right foot by determining which wars your ancestor might have fought or registered for the draft. Hup one, two, three . . .
1. Pick an ancestor you wish to research.
2. Determine your ancestor’s approximate dates of birth and death. If he was alive during a war, he may have fought.
3. Do not limit yourself to only those men between age 18 and 30 during a war. Some underage youths may have served as well older men who they left their fields, picket up their muskets, and marched toward the enemy.
4. Do not limit yourself to only those men living near a war or even those living in the United States. The brothers Charles F. Smith, Josiah Bissell Smith, and Tilton Eastman Smith were all born in Ontario, Canada, yet each went to the states and enlisted to fight in the Civil War.
5. Based on his dates of birth and death and the war dates below, determine which wars he may have fought or registered for the draft.
· Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
· Shays Rebellion (1786-1787)
· War of 1812 (1812–1815)
· Mexican War (1846–1848)
· Civil War (1861–1865)
· Indian Wars (1790–1898)
· Spanish-American War (1898)
· Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902)
· World War I (1917–1918)
· World War II (1941–1945)
· Korean War(1950–1957)
· Vietnam (1957–1975)
During what war could your ancestor have lived?