What I found in the MyHeritage free military records archive

What I found in the MyHeritage free military records archive

In honor of Memorial Day this weekend, MyHeritage is opening up its military records to non-subscribers for free (note: registration required). While not as extensive as other online records repositories such as Fold3 or the National Archives, I was able to find a gem in a basic search of the MyHeritage free military records.

In a collection titled “Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, January 1, 1930,” I found my grandfather. I knew he had retired from the Navy in the late ‘20s after attending Annapolis, going to “Torpedo School” in Newport (where he met my grandmother), and serving on various ships before an injury at sea and a mistaken TB diagnosis forced an early separation.

He didn’t want to leave, but had no choice. When the U.S. entered World War II, he was able to rejoin the Navy and served in Europe and North Africa. At the top of this page is the USS ATR-1, one of the ships in the salvage group he commanded during minesweeping, firefighting, and safety operations during the invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

A closer look at the MyHeritage free military records

The document on MyHeritage shows service details that we did not know, including his start date for the Naval Academy (July 12, 1919), length of sea service (5 years 2 months), and the date of his first retirement (July 3, 1927). Flipping back to the key that explained the statutes involved, it confirmed that he had “Retired for incapacity resulting from an incident of service.”


While these facts aren’t brick wall breakthroughs, the information could be used to track down more detailed service records at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis in the future.

I am going to discuss these documents with my mother, and share them in a private Facebook group for relatives. If you're visiting relatives over Memorial Day weekend, be sure to print out some of our free genealogy PDFs to spark conversations about ancestors who served and their families.

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