Posted in Civil War, FamilySearch Wiki, Mexican War, Military, Military pension, Research tips, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, World War 1, World War 2

Cheatsheet: Table of Wars and Ages of Servicemen

Military records are a valuable source of genealogical information—one of the best!  Military service records, bounty land files, and pension files are some of the more commonly used in this record group, but don’t stop there.  Draft cards, discharge papers, prisoner of war records, veteran cemeteries, soldier homes, and veteran/lineage societies can be rich resources for the researcher.

Do you know if your ancestor served in the military?   The FamilySearch Wiki provides an Ages of Servicemen table to help determine this. From this table I created the Table of Wars – Ages of Servicemen downloadable cheatsheet with a timeline of wars servicemen might have been involved with, according to their birth dates at the time of the conflict. This is a table for wars the United States was a part of, but since most of these wars involved foreign countries, it can be a helpful tool for your foreign-born ancestors, as well.

We tend to think of wartime service for veterans, but don’t forget that men and women served in peacetime, too.  Use this cheatsheet to determine if your ancestor might have been part of a military conflict, and then check the FamilySearch Wiki for search strategies specific to each war.

Table of Wars - Ages of Servicemen.  Source:
Table of Wars – Ages of Servicemen. Source:

Downloadable Cheatsheet:  Table of Wars and Ages of Servicemen


I am an Accredited Genealogist® professional living in California. I have been researching and teaching since 1988.

7 thoughts on “Cheatsheet: Table of Wars and Ages of Servicemen

  1. Thank you so much! I have a question about what classes would put me on the path to be an “accredited genealogist”? I’m a stay at home mom and have been researching for nearly 20 years, but have only recently started to learn the proper ways to validate and document sources! I’ve got a LOT to learn and I’ll be 50 day after tomorrow! I’d better get going! 🙂
    Any sources you could provide would be most appreciated!
    Have a wonderful day! Be safe and stay well!

    1. Hi Lynda—that’s great you are considering Accreditation! There are a couple of resources I recommend you consult. First, on the website there is an “ICAPGEN Guide to Applying for an Accredited Genealogist Credential”, and also “Accreditation Readiness Assessment”. Then, there are study groups you can sign up for. As for classes, I would suggest you access the ICAPGen YouTube channel and work your way through all the instructional videos there. They will provide a good foundation for the skills needed and are free. They will also help you to see which areas you need more work in. There are also many outstanding genealogy institutes which offer a deep dive into a particular area of interest. Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy offers a virtual intermediate course in the Fall that is excellent. The Legacy Family Tree Webinars have many helpful methodology classes, and a yearly membership is a cost effective way to take a LOT of classes. I hope that helps! Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have.

      1. Wonderful! That’s perfect, thank you very much! Now I have a jumping off point. It can be so overwhelming with so many sites and can get pretty expensive to keep subscribing when you just do the same wrong things over and over. This will also help with my research for my DAR group.
        Thanks again!

  2. Great find! I often go back to my tree to check birth dates of individuals in order to figure out if they got involved with the military (time consuming), now I have a cheat sheet, thanks a lot!

    1. Thanks, I’m glad it will be useful to you, too. It’s pretty interesting to see just how broad the dates are when considering who might have been involved in a particular war. That really was an eye-opener for me!

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