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Military Records for Genealogy Research: Men of Color and Women

A guide for navigating the military records useful for genealogy research.


While the U.S. military has always eagerly recruited white men to serve their country, it has a long history of discrimination against men of color and women. Native Americans and African Americans have served in every U.S. conflict, but usually in segregated units; African Americans were officially excluded from the Army between 1820 and 1862; and women were not permitted to serve in the military at all until WWI, although a few managed to enlist by disguising themselves as men.

Warm Spring Indian Scouts in the field

Resources relating to the records of individuals in these categories serving in specific conflicts are included under the tabs for those conflicts, but there are also many works dealing more generally with military service by men of color and women. These additional resources are described below.