Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spanish-American War/Philippine Insurrection

6 More Places to Locate Records
So you’ve checked with the microfilm, M860, General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers, and M881, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. And, your ancestor is listed as having served in the Spanish American War (1898) or Philippine Insurrection (1899 - 1902).

So you filled out National Archives Trust Fund (NATF) Form 86 Military Service Records and the patented response of “No. We are unable to locate the file you requested above. No Payment is required” is in your mailbox. Why?  We know the compiled military service records and the carded medical records of volunteers for those who served in the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection should be in Washington, D.C Archives I.  (See An Overview of Records at the National Archives Relating to Military Service).  But, your ancestor’s files can’t be “located!”

Where Are The Records?
Many years have passed since the 1898 - 1902 era and this war…well… barely made the history books requiring the typical researcher to piece together disjointed service record information with troop information to recreate their ancestor’s military experience. We have found Spanish American War records in the most obscure places. Learn more about the Spanish American War (1898) and Philippine Insurrection (1899 - 1902) 

1. Adjutant General's Office
In many cases soldiers were called up from the National Guard to serve in this war. So you will want to begin with the Adjutant General’s records for the states of enlistment (and discharge if different state). Many of these records are no longer housed at the Adjutant General’s Office but one key to a successful search is knowing your ancestor’s specific infantry, regiment and company.
Four key searches:
  • ancestry.com Adjutant General records (not all states)
  • Hathi Trust collection which includes additional states.
  • National Archives RG 94.
  • Adjutant General’s Office for hints on archival locations. 
2. Troop Activities
It is possible your ancestor served under more than one troop. The key to following an ancestor’s movement within the military may be told by following the troop's activities. Be sure to keep an eye out of where did the troop go and where /when was unit discharged. You may wish to begin with RG 391: 

3. Pension Application Files
If your ancestor lived past 1922, a veteran, widow or dependent pension application file may be included. Review NARA, RG 15.7.3 Pension application files based upon service in the Civil War and Spanish-American War("Civil War and Later").

4. Bibliography Search for Record Keeping Hints
Here's a bit of information that may give you a lead. The Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection, 1898-1902 by Mark Barnes is our go-to book on this topic: Be sure to check the bibliography for hints to where author got information.  

5. State Archives
Certificate of Disability for Discharge
Some state archives hold volumes of textural (not microfilmed) Spanish American War records.  New Jersey State archives “has 122 volumes of Spanish-American War records.” For an easy access to these records, be sure to reference familysearch.org catalog for your ancestor’s state.  Where as Kansas Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection records may be found at the Kansas Historical Society.

6. Spanish American War Centennial Website
Have you reviewed the Spanish American War Centennial Website?  This site is great for battle reports and accounts, and gravesite recordings. The Unit Profiles, Rosters, and Photos have proven to lead researchers to bringing down brickwalls.

Kathleen Brandt
Website: a3genealogy.com