Spotlight on Courses: Military Records

Continuing our series to focus on the courses being offered this year is a piece written by Craig R. Scott, CG, coordinator of “Military Records: From Cradle to Grave.” A former Navy man himself and genealogical publisher, Craig understand the records and how the information and evidence in the well-known and the least-known records flesh out a picture of not just our ancestors but his kith, kin, and neighbors as well.

Military records are one of the places where it is well to use the F.A.N. principle (looking to the Friends/Family, Associates, and Neighbors) to break down brick walls. It is in studying all the records pertaining to our subject that we can uncover who he is and how he fits in our family picture.

As Craig states below, this course is unique because it will talk about the records and how to wring every last detail from them. Along with Craig, other instructors include Debra S. Mieszala, CG, and Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL. Please review the course description for lecture details.

Military Records: From Cradle to Grave
written by Craig R. Scott, CG

 Most military genealogy lectures have titles like, “Researching Your ___[Fill in the blank]____ War Ancestor” or some catchy title that means the same thing. I know I have taught enough of them over the last 22 years of standing in front of people talking about wars and our ancestor’s involvement in them. It is not that they are boring, but after a while they all begin to sound the same, even to me. There are sources, there is evidence, and there is fact. Most lectures focus on how to get to the sources not on what to do with them once we actually touch them, other than read and transcribe.

Records speak to us. They tell us things that are not written in the ink on the page. In order to hear, you will have to know how to listen. In order to listen you have to know the history of the record. Why did it come into being? What was its purpose? Whose voice are we listening to? What does the record say and then what does the record tell us? Is this the same person that we are interested in, or just another of the same name? Are the two people the same person or different people of the same name? What is said and what is left unsaid?

If you think that these are interesting questions than this course is for you.

We will examines the types, uses and functions of military records and the organizations that created them. Records that exist outside of compiled military service records and pensions that must be searched for to get a full picture of a soldier, sailor or marine’s military and post-military life. We have to be very careful not to stop too soon.

It is a course that I would want to take.

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