Military Records Request
The MN State Archives collection includes a variety of records related to servicemen and women, and these records can be very useful sources for family history. They can provide information on everything from a person's physical description, service experience, biographical data, and names of family members. Sometimes there are even photographs!
You can research in our collections yourself, but if visiting isn't the best option for you, we offer a variety of research services related to military records. Three of our services are specific to World War I-era records and one is more generally for non-World War I records. For more information and ordering, click on the links below.
**Please note: Although our collection includes rosters, bonus records, service record cards, and pension letters, we do not have full official service records. Full military service records are held by the National Archives.
World War I records:
The Minnesota Public Safety Commission cooperated with the War Records Commission to compile information on men and women who died while in military service during World War I. These Gold Star Rolls Records are mainly four-page forms giving biographical and service information. Clippings, photographs, and sometimes letters accompany many of the forms.
In 1919 Minnesota State law authorized relief assistance payments--called bonuses--for people who were in U.S. military or naval service during World War I. The qualifications included being a MN resident at the time they entered into the service and receiving an honorable discharge. Payments were made until at least 1943 and were made to veterans and/or their survivors. Bonus records consist of the information on the payments, as well as the applications. Applications include details on applicants' military service, proof of residence, proof of honorable discharge, and other data.
A brand new addition to our collections online system, you can order digital or print copies of these images. There are over 4,100 photographs of individual Minnesotans who served in the Great War. To browse the entire collection, use this link. You can then use the filters on the left side of the screen to narrow your results by first name, last name, place, etc. To search for a specific soldier's image, visit our Collections Online system and search for the name plus the phrase "World War I soldiers' photographs." Once you find the image you are seeking, click on the buy button to order through our online shop.
General Military Records
We also offer a more general Military Records Request research service. The State Archive collection at MNHS includes records of Minnesota's Adjutant General and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Materials cover Mexican-American War, Civil War, U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862, Spanish-American War, World War I, Korean War, Minnesota Home Guard, Minnesota State Militia and Minnesota National Guard. Depending on the time period, records available may include pension, bonus, rosters, service record cards, etc. (Note: Records of World War I veterans requested through this service will not include bonus records, Gold Star Roll records, or photographs. These can be ordered separately using the services listed above.)