Trevetta Wunderlin, our chair, opened the 18 March 2011 meeting of the Genealogy Interest Group – Ancestor Trackers. She made announcements regarding upcoming meetings of the Imperial Polk Genealogy Society and the Florida Genealogical Society. There were no new members in attendance.

Our speaker was Peter Summers, President of the Pinellas Genealogy Society, who spoke on the topic “Military Records.” Peter began by showing us charts that he compiled to assist us in finding the Internet locations of military records and the possible contents of the different sorts of records. He told us why military records are important to genealogists, listed the information we would need to know to start our searches and suggested places we might find our answers. He explained the general organization of records by type of service and reviewed the different types of records. Most important to the genealogist are the Pension Applications, especially those pensions requested by the military widow. Peter taught us about the valuable Compiled Service Records and BountyLand Grants and then he talked about different wars and showed us examples of documents tied to particular conflicts. He began with the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and continued with the War of 1812 (1812-1815), the Indian Wars (1815-1898), the Mexican War (1846-1848), the Civil War (1861-1865), the Spanish-American War (1898-1899), ending with World War I (1917-1918) and World War II (1941-1945). Records from wars prior to 1912 are generally accessible and then for privacy’s sake they become more restricted and, in most cases, are available only to next-of-kin. Lastly, Peter explained genealogical sources, Internet sources and recommended some books. He said that military records are important because every generation has its war.

Respectfully submitted,

Rosalyn Davenport Gibbs

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