Ancestry.com, a Web site designed to allow users to trace their family history, announced today that it has posted what it describes as the largest collection of U.S. military records available and searchable online.
The U.S. Military Collection, which includes 90 million names, spans more than four centuries of American history, from the 1600s through the Vietnam War, Ancestry.com said. It includes the complete collection of World War II United Newsreels from 1942-1945 as well as the counter-propaganda films produced by the Office of War Information that were shown in theaters and dropped behind enemy lines.
The Stars and Stripes newspapers from World War I and World War II, commemorative military yearbooks and a complete record of WWI draft registration cards -- most digitized from original documents on microfilm at the National Archives and Records Administration -- are also available at the site.
"So many of us have had an ancestor or a loved one sacrifice to serve our country, and some may not even be aware of their military heritage and how proud they should be of their forebears," said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com, in a statement. "This new military collection now available online will offer Americans the opportunity to discover their military heritage and the role their own families played in forging this country."
Users can create a family tree, upload photos and find personal stories as a way to memorialize their ancestors who served in the military, he added.
The collection includes documents from more than 700 databases and 37 million images of documents, including:
- World War I and World War II draft registration cards.
- Prisoner of war records from the War of 1812, Civil War, World War II and Korea.
- Unit rosters for the Marine Corps 1893-1958 and WWII.
- U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier unit rosters, 1939-1949.
- U.S. Military burial registers, 1768-1921.
- Service Records from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War.
- Casualty listings from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
The collection is available for free to the public through June 6, which is D-Day.