Saturday, June 12, 2010

Military Records for Massachusetts--A Treasure Trove

A fire on 12 July 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis left the top floor of the military personnel records facility in ruins. This floor had contained some 22 million personnel folders, filed alphabetically, for U.S. Army personnel discharged from 1912 thru 1959 and of the U.S. Air Force discharged from September 1947 through 1963.

However, for Massachusetts we have good news. The military records of Massachusetts veterans from 1636 to1940 are at the Military Museum in Worcester. Included are the archives of the Office of the Adjutant General as well as military records of Massachusetts soldiers, marines, and sailors from 1775 to 1940. Records are found at the Massachusetts National Guard Military Museum and Archives, 44 Salisbury St., Worcester, MA 01609. Telephone: (508) 797-0334, open Tuesday through Friday, 9-4. Col. Len Kondratiuk, Director of Historical Services, has been a guest speaker for CCGS in the past.

(Records from 1941 to the present are located at the Office of the Adjutant General at 239 Causeway St. in Boston, (617) 727-2964.)

Military history in Massachusetts began on 13 Dec 1636, when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the colony's militia companies into the North, South, and East Regiments.

The Military Museum and Archives, established in 1995, has objects and exhibits from all of the wars in which citizens of Massachusetts served. The Civil War Room has original colors, weapons, equipment, and documents on display.Of particular Civil War interest are the muster books and correspondence of the various Massachusetts regiments. A data card can be found on every one of the approximately 160,000 Massachusetts soldiers, marines, and sailors who served in the Civil War.

Other exhibit rooms include the early Massachusetts Militia, the 23rd Infantry "America" Division (1942-1971) and the Yankee Division honoring the service of the 26th Infantry Division, Massachusetts National Guard (1917-1993). Rooms are also dedicated to the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

For anyone searching Massachusetts military ancestors, a visit to Worcester needs to be on the agenda!

[Information provided by Brenda Hayes, CCGS Genealogy Room and Library]

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