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FREE Online Resources to Research your Military Ancestors this Memorial Day


Anthony "Tony" Marx (1886-1978), standing, and a friend, about 1918. Anthony served in the Quartermaster Corps, Butchery Company during WWI, delivering meat to the troops on the font lines of Europe. Anthony was born in Springfield, IL and lived most of his life in Aurora, IL. From the family photo collection of Candace Marx, ISGS Marketing Chair

Memorial Day is the perfect time to honor the military history of your ancestors. The links below offer a great opportunity to learn more about your Illinois ancestors' military service!

  • Fold3 will be offering FREE access to their collection of more than 550 million military records from May 21st thru May 25! Available records cover military conflicts as early as the Revolutionary War. You can also create Memorial pages on Fold3 to honor your military ancestors.
  • Ancestry is providing FREE access now through June 1st to nearly 500 million records and images from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), including all 36 million available World War II young man's draft cards. Ancestry has also announced their virtual Memorial Day "Parade of Heroes" taking place on May 25th- and YOU can participate! Learn more here!
  • The Illinois State Archives online offers nearly a dozen searchable databases of Illinois Veterans, including those who served in the Black Hawk War, Civil War, Mexican War, Spanish-American War, and the War of 1812. the Veterans' Databases also include those who were listed in the 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor, and residents of the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy. The Archives also provides a helpful pamphlet on researching in their military records collections. 
  • The FamilySearch Wiki has a great reference page for Illinois Military Records that provides a ton of important information and links for researching your Illinois veterans!
  • Be sure to visit the National Archives to view the digitized index of WWII Army Casualties in Illinois, organized by county.
  • The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) offers a handy guide to finding military records, originally published in Family Tree Magazine.
  • Our friends at the Fountaindale Libary in Bolingbrook have a terrific YouTube channel that includes the 5-part webinar series "Here Come the Dougboys: Tracing your WWI Military Ancestors," originally presented as part of their 2018 special program honoring the centennial of the end of WWI. 
How will you be honoring your military ancestors this Memorial Day? Tell us about your veterans' projects on our Facebook page!

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