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Genealogical Resources: Military Records

Timothy H. O'Sullivan​ [Public domain],_FORT_MARCY,_SANTA_FE,_NEW_MEXICO_-_NARA_-_524308.jpg

Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762 – 1984 (Record Group 94)

The Adjutant General's office provided administrative and support services to the War Department and, after 1947, to the Department of the Army including the maintenance of personnel records. 

Compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the Territory of New Mexico

The compiled service records consist of a jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, his rank, and the unit in which he served and typically containing (1) card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier found in original muster rolls, returns, hospital rolls, lists of deserters, and descriptive books; and (2) the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier. There are cross-references for soldiers' names that appear in the records under more than one spelling. The records are arranged according to an organizational breakdown ending with the regiment or the independent battalion or company. Under each unit the service records are arranged alphabetically by soldiers' surnames.

The record of a volunteer Union soldier from the Territory of New Mexico may not appear in this microcopy for several reasons. First, he may have served in a unit from another State or in the Regular Army. Second, he may have served under a different name or used a different spelling of his name. Third, proper records of his service may not have been made; or, if made, they may have been lost or destroyed in the confusion that often attended the initial mobilization, subsequent military operations, and disbandment of troops. Fourth, the references to the soldier in the original records may be so vague that it is not practicable to determine his correct name or the unit in which he served. The New Mexico State Library has the entire collection consisting of 46 reels of microfilm. These records have also been digitized and are available from as New Mexico Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 and on Fold3.

Returns from Military Posts, 1800-1916

On the 1,550 rolls of this microfilm publication, are reproduced returns from U.S. military posts from the early 1800's to 1916, with a few returns extending through 1917. The commanding officer of every post, as well as commanders of all other bodies of troops such as department, division, brigade, regiment, or detachment, was required by Army Regulations to submit a return (a type of personnel report) to The Adjutant General at specified intervals, usually monthly, on forms provided by that office. Several additions and modifications were made in the form over the years, but basically it was designed to show the units that were stationed at a particular post and their strength, the names and duties of the officers, the number of officers present and absent, a listing of official communications received, and a record of events. Most of the records reproduced in this microfilm publication are monthly post returns. Most of the records reproduced in this microfilm publication are monthly post returns. The Adjutant General’s Office filed post returns alphabetically by the name of the post and thereunder in chronological order. Posts with names such as D.A. Russell or George G. Meade, however, either were arranged alphabetically by the last name or by the first name or initial; seemingly, there was no standard practice. On Rolls 1-1491, each roll contains returns for a single post, although returns for a specific post may be filmed on more than one roll. On Rolls 1492-1550, where the number of returns is less than 20, returns for several posts are reproduced on each roll. The New Mexico State Library has select reels of the microfilm. Digitized formats are available from as U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916​.

Records of the Selective Service System (World War I) (Record Group 163)

World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, 1917-1918

The collection consists of an index and images of draft registration cards for World War I. Three registrations occurred between 1917 and 1918. The 1st was held 5 Jun 1917 for men ages 21-31. The 2nd was held 5 Jun 1918 for men who turned 21 since the 1st registration. The 3rd started 12 Sep 1918 for men ages 18-45. The collection includes cards for 24 million men. The cards are arranged by state, by city or county, by local draft board, then alphabetical by surname.

Again, World War I had 3 different draft registrations and each registration was slightly different; however, they generally included the following information:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Draft registration date
  • Sometimes, father’s birthplace
  • Name of nearest relative
  • Age in years
  • Sex is implied, since all registrants were males
  • Marital status
  • List of any dependents
  • Address

The New Mexico State Library has select reels of microfilm.  Digitized formats are available from, Fold3, and

Mexican Archives of New Mexico

Mexican Archives of New Mexico I or MANM

Official administrative records of the Mexican government in New Mexico. The materials in the collection vary but include records from the provincial administration, treasury, legislative, local government, judicial cases, military, Indian affairs, and some period newspapers. Lists in the hacienda, military, and miscellaneous record groups have been indexed; other record groups can be browsed by year and record group. To aid in locating additional materials in this collection, there is a detailed finding aid, Calendar of the Mexican Archives of New Mexico, 1821–1846, by Myra Ellen Jenkins. The New Mexico State Library has this collection on microfilm and it is available digitally at as New Mexico, Census, Military, and Other Records of Mexico, 1821-1846. 

Spanish Archives of New Mexico II, 1621-1821

Spanish Archives of New Mexico (SANM II), 1621-1821 

This collection contains the administrative and judicial records and journals of the Spanish government in New Mexico, 1621-1821.  Census records, military, and financial records of New Mexico's Spanish Colonial Government are also included.  Records cover both the local and provincial levels, and include correspondence between officials in Santa Fe and Mexico. These microfilms reproduce the extant official Spanish archives of New Mexico in the custody of the Archives Division of the State of New Mexico Records Center concerning the administration of the region from the period of Spanish colonial sovereignty to the establishment of the Mexican national government in 1821. The New Mexico State Library has this collection on microfilm and it is available digitally at as New Mexico, Civil Records of New Spain, 1621-1821.