Monday, May 10, 2010

Adjutant General’s Papers

Hidden Military Records

After writing the posts entitled DD214 Substitute which gives the researcher the option of using Morning Reports to search for proof of military service or combat, I have been inundated with questions. Here is one repeated issue: my grandfather’s (great-grandfather) final payroll did not list the company name, and therefore I cannot use a morning report, any other options?

Well, it is true, you need a division/regimen and company name to obtain the correct Morning Reports, unless you have an infinite amount of time (and I mean infinite) to search. If not, we need another angle.

Adjutant General’s Papers
For one, hopefully, before attacking Morning Reports, you have already contacted your Adjutant General’s Office or State Historical Society (who may hold copies of the Adjutant General’s Papers, as does Missouri) for a copy of the veteran’s file. These papers usually include a copy of a veteran’s discharge records.

Who is the Adjutant General?
The Adjutant General, appointed by the state Governor (except for Vermont, Washington, D.C., and South Carolina) is the state’s senior military officer and “de facto” commander. His papers hold information on the National Guard and State Defense Forces, as well as the naval Militia.

Adjutant Generals were appointed as early as 1775.

What Can Be Found?
The Office of the Adjutant General not only assist in present day searches (i.e. DD214’s lost in the fire), but has a plethora of papers on the state Civil War information, state militia and more. I often refer to the Missouri Digital Heritage, Guide to Civil War Resources at the Missouri State Archives, Office of the Adjutant General. Here you can find Record Groups (RG) for the Civil War, Union and Conferederate Materials, Milita Claims, The US Colored Troops (USCT) and the Veterans Home Applications.

Where Do I Find These Papers?
Although not all states are as organized as Missouri, your Adjutant General still has a series of archived records for the researcher to access.

Be sure to search the State Archives or State Historical Records first for records up to WWII. The release for such records to become public is 62 years; therefore, the WWII records are now considered public (according to NARA).

In North Carolina, these records can be located at the North Carolina Sate Archives.

Much of the older Kansas records can be found in the Transactions for the Kansas State Historical Society, Volume 6. 

My State Archives Does Not Have Information
If you are looking for a replacement of a DD214 prior to WWII, and your State Archives or Historical Society does not have copies, you can solicit a copy from your Adjutant General’s Office directly. To obtain information from the Adjutant General Office directly, you will probably need a SF-180 form completed. . Be sure to send this request to your Sate Adjutant General’s Office, if your service record was destroyed in the St. Louis Fire of 1973.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

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