Since at least 2004, the United States National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has held free public programs on a wide variety of topics about their holdings at the Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland facilities. Some of these recorded programs of particular interest to genealogists began making their way online in 2012 as part of the “Know Your Records” series. Twenty such videos are now available for viewing on the National Archives YouTube channel.
Three short introductory videos concerning military records are online, featuring Archives Specialist and resident military expert, John P. Deeben. I have embedded the videos below for convenience:
Military Research at the National Archives: Volunteer Service
This video tells us about military service records compiled for Volunteer soldiers who served in wartime from the Revolutionary War to the Philippine Insurrection, with specific examples of the CMSR for a Revolutionary War soldier.
Military Research at the National Archives: Regular Service
Registers of Enlistments for professional soldiers in the United States Army (1798-1914) available on M233 give information relative to the registration of soldiers and their discharge or separation from service.
Deeben also discusses the equivalent records for the United States Navy, called “Rendezvous Reports”. These reports (indexed as T1098 and T1099) cover the time frame between the Mexican War to about 1891. The records themselves are part of M1953.
Military Research at the National Archives: Pension Records
In this final video, Deeben introduces military pension files for service members (or their widows) stored at Archives 1, covering the period between 1775-1916. He shows examples of the records and information gleaned from them of interest to military historians and genealogists. He also reminds us that pension files for service in the Confederate military forces during the American Civil War are not held at the National Archives and must be sought at the state level.
In early February 2015, an announcement was made that future programs would be live-streamed. Check the monthly calendar and plan your viewing schedule accordingly by clicking in to this link: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/events/.