California Military Records

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This entry was originally written by Dwight A. Radford, Thelma Berkey Walsmith, and Nell Sachse Woodard for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the California Family History Research series.
History of California
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California Military Records
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The California State Archives has become the state’s official repository for service records of Californians from the Indian Wars through the World Wars, including National Guard records. Among the archives collections are organizational papers, correspondence, election of officers, muster rolls, loyalty oaths, and material relating to independent militia units. Some of these collections are on microfilm at the National Archives. Some are also on microfilm at the FHL.

Another collection of California military records is housed at the California State Military Museum, 1119 Second St., Sacramento, CA 95814 www.militarymuseum.org. Its collection housed at the Major General Walter P. Story Memorial Library and Research Center is among the best archives of Western Americana military history in the nation, including original unit rosters of early California militia units. The website has links to various websites on California military history.

Richard H. Orton, ed., Records of California Men in the War of Rebellion, 1861–1867 (Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1890) and J. Carlyle Parker, comp., A Personal Name Index to Orton’s…, vol. 5 of Gale Genealogy and Local History Series (Detroit: Gale Research, 1978) provide printed sources for those serving in the Civil War. The National Archives’ seven-roll microfilm index to compiled service records for California’s Union Army Volunteers is available for research at the California State Library and through the FHL.

The California State Library also has the National Archives’ seventeen-roll microfilm series of the California War History Committee’s “World War I Records of California Service Men.” The information in this collection was submitted voluntarily and therefore does not cover all California veterans, but includes birth date, parents, service records, and sometimes material such as educational background and newspaper clippings. The World War I Draft Registration Cards for California are available on microfilm from the National Archives with copies at the FHL.

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