May 24, 2016

Free Military Cemetery and Casualty Databases Online

(Kimberly Powell’s About Genealogy Weekly Blog – May 24, 2016)

From 1775 through 1991, over 41 million men and women served in the U.S. military during wartime. Of these, 651,031 died in battle, 308,800 died in theater, and 230,279 died while in service (non-theater). Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who died while on active duty is eligible for burial in a U.S. National Cemetery. Other members of the military may also be eligible.

Explore the following free websites and databases to learn more about U.S. military personnel who died in service or are buried in a national veterans cemetery or in a private cemetery with a government grave marker.

US flags on graves at a military cemetery - Gary Conner / Getty Images

Gary Conner / Getty Images

1. Nationwide Gravesite Locator Database

Search for burial locations of U.S. veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries (from 1997) when the grave is marked with a government grave marker. Private cemeteries with government markers furnished prior to 1997 are not included in this database.
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Rows of crosses at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France - Dennis K. Johnson / Getty

Dennis K. Johnson / Getty

2. American Battle Monuments Commission

Search or browse for information on 218,000 individuals buried or memorialized overseas at sites maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Information includes the cemetery and specific burial location, branch of service, war or conflict in which they served, date of death, service number, and awards (Purple Heart, Silver Cross, etc.).
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Blossoming cherry trees stand guard over tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, DC - Danita Delimont / Getty

Danita Delimont / Getty

3. Arlington National Cemetery – Find a Grave

Arlington National Cemetery's app, ANC Explorer, available for desktop computers, IOS and Android, makes it easy to locate grave sites, events or other points of interest throughout Arlington National Cemetery. Search by name, section, and/or date of birth or death to find information on individuals buried in Arlington, including front-and-back headstone photos and directions to the gravesite.
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Brass buttoned sleeves of Continental Army soldiers. American Revolution. - Jerry Millevoi / Getty

Jerry Millevoi / Getty

4. National Society Sons of the American Revolution Patriot and Grave Index

The National Society Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) oversees this ongoing project to identify graves of those who served in the U.S. Revolutionary War. The data has been compiled from the NSSAR Revolutionary War Graves Registry, the NSSAR Patriot Index and from various State Grave Registry databases. This is NOT a comprehensive list of all the individuals who served in the American Revolutionary War.
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getty-gettysburg-cannon.jpg - Getty / Nine OK

Cannon at the site of Picket’s Charge, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.
Getty / Nine OK

5. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

Search this online database administered by the National Park Service for information on 6.3 million soldiers, sailors, and US Colored Troops who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. In addition to basic information on each soldier, including full name, side, unit, and company, the site also includes prisoner of war records, burial records, medal of honor recipients, and other historical information. Soldiers who died in battle are identified. Information on 14 national cemeteries overseen by the National Park Service is also being added, such as records of the Poplar Grove National Cemetery at Petersburg National Battlefield, with images of the headstones.
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Soldiers of the Great War

Soldiers of the Great War

6. Soldiers of the Great War (World War One)

This three volume publication compiled by William Mitchell Haulsee, Frank George Howe, and Alfred Cyril Doyle, documents American soldiers who lost their lives in Europe during World War One, compiled from official casualty lists. When available from family members, photographs of the military men and women are included as well. Available for free browsing on Google Books. Don't miss Volume 2 and Volume 3 as well.
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5th Army Air Force Crew of B-25 Bomber, World War II - Archive Holdings Inc. / Getty

Archive Holdings Inc. / Getty

7. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel

Arranged by state, these lists from the U.S. National Archives document War Department casualties (Army and Army Air Force personnel) from World War II. Entries in the list are arranged first by name of county and then alphabetically by name of deceased. Information provided includes serial number, rank and type of casualty. 
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Luiz Ab / Getty

Luiz Ab / Getty

8. World War II War Casualties of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel

This free database from the National Archives identifies those men on active duty with the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, whose deaths resulted directly from enemy action or from operational activities against the enemy in war zones from December 7, 1941, to the end of World War II. Casualties which occurred in the United States, or as a result of disease, homicide, or suicide anywhere are not included. Entries in the list are arranged into the following sections: Dead (Combat), Dead (Prison Camp), Missing, Wounded and Released Prisoners, and thereunder alphabetically by name. The list includes the rank of the decedent, and the name, address and relationship of next-of-kin. 
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Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC - Doug McKinlay / Getty

Doug McKinlay / Getty

9. Korean War Casualty Databases

The Korean War Project Uniform Casualty File allows you to search all available government and private databases of casualties from the Korean War.
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The Vietnam Memorial with Sculpture Of Soldiers Reflected In Wall - Education Images / UIG / Getty

Education Images / UIG / Getty

10. State-Level Fatal Casualty Lists for the Vietnam War

 Browse by state to find lists of U.S. military casualties of the Vietnam War from the National Archives. Information includes name, branch of service, rank, birth date, home city and county, incident or death date, and whether their remains were recovered.
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