Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Record Shopping @ NARA

Today I ordered compiled military service records and Civil War pension applications in relation to my great-great-great grandfather, Max Baerecke.

This was my first foray into the vast NARA universe. Of my three direct ancestors who fought in the Civil War*, Max was the only one whose information gave me the opportunity to order records. Everything relating to my Sgt. Jones I was able to get on Footnote. The other ancestor has too common a name for me to pick the correct file to order. So while I've been attending presentations and listening to others talk about the joys of receiving military records from NARA, I never had the opportunity to order my own set until Max came along.

The online ordering process was pretty easy. I was able to use a credit card. I have order numbers for reference and an account in which to check status.

We'll see how it goes, and we'll see what treasures these files hold......in 60 to 90 days.

*Yes, I know there are other wars from which I can order records. My ancestors always just seemed to be too young, too old, too new to the country, or just plain rejected to be a part of any of them. That's just how my tree grows.


  1. gee, Amy, maybe you just wanted to have the online experience once, but Angela will get them for you a lot cheaper than the archives will -- especially if you get digital photos.

  2. Well . . . I'll just say this . . . I requested the military records for my maternal grandpa (U.S. Navy 1927-1931) back in March . . . and have not received them yet. And everytime I correspond with NARA about the request, the expected delivery date gets pushed back another month or so. Now they have even created a "new" request # for me. Still waiting . . .

  3. Have you seen the info about the post- WWI records in St. Louis? There was a fire in 1973 (I think) and they say that it can take them a long time to reconstruct some files because of the loss. That shouldn't be an issue with other, earlier pension/military records.

  4. Amy - my cousin sent me reduced copies of my g-grandfather's Civil War Pension papers but I wanted my own (real!) set so I sent away - that was 10 years ago. Back then the large file cost me $40 so I think I got a bargain considering the rate now! I was thrilled when I received them - it took around 4 months or so tho!

  5. Patti, thanks for reminding me of that. I'll have to go back and read about that again, but the way I'm remembering, that event does not have a bearing on the U.S. Navy records for 1927-1931. V. . . .

  6. The fire in St. Louis only affected Army and Army Air Corps records, not Navy. I'm sorry you're having such a time with getting the record. I had a little bit of a wait for my father's record, and at one time got a communication saying they were working on it, but the record was not in its spot. Turns out it was being prepared to have a copy sent to my sister!

    I eventually got the record, though, and it was worth it. My father died when I had just turned 7 years old, and I never really knew him, except through what my mother and other relatives told me. With the service record, I was able to learn a lot more about him.

    I hope your order comes through real soon!