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Guide To Working on Military Ancestors

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What should I include in a military profile?

If your Grandpa John fought in World War II, try to be more specific than "John fought in World War II."

For this example, see if you can answer any of the following questions:

  • What are his or her dates of service?
  • What theater of the war did he or she fight or serve in? (Examples: Europe; Africa)
  • What specific countries did he or she serve in?
  • What branch did he or she serve with? (Ex: Army; Navy)
  • Do you know what part of the branch? (Ex: Infantry; Naval Construction Brigade)
  • Do you know the name of the division, unit, ship, etc? (Ex: 382nd Field Artillery Battalion)
  • What was his or her rank?
  • Where is he/she buried? Include the appropriate cemetery category.
  • Did he or she receive medals? Wounds?

Any other information you might have, such as specific battles he or she participated in or medals he or she received, are of course welcome.

Depending on how many of the questions you are able to answer, you might end up with a Military Service section like this:

"John enlisted in the United States Army in 1942. He fought as an Infantryman in France and Germany. He was honorably discharged at the end of the war with the rank of Sergeant." [don't forget a citation!]


To honor our ancestors who served, we make sure their profiles are as correct as possible using sources to back our facts up.

When you collect sources to be used on a profile, keep in mind what is considered uncertain sources and make an effort to find the good ones.

The Military and War project page lists some Helpful resources and more resources can be found in the individual Sub-Projects.

Don't forget to add military records as sources for their military life.

Creating new profiles

Dont create duplicates. Before you create a new profile, check WikiTree to make sure the profile doesn't already exist. Make sure your source has an exact date or year of birth, or exact date of death, so that this process will be easier. You might find a great roster list for a Navy ship that fought in the First World War, but other than the names and the current year 1917, it doesn't have any dates or ages for the sailors. I would avoid using this source to create profiles! Do some research on the names first and see if you can find a different source with a firm date of birth. Then, you can check WikiTree for any matches before you create the profile. Never create a new profile that doesn't have any dates.

You should also be wary of creating a profile for someone with a very common name and not a lot of information. For example, maybe you found a United States Civil War muster roll for an 18-year-old named "T. A. Smith." If you created a profile for T. A. Smith, born about 1844 in Virginia, fought in the Civil War...and that's it...would anyone be able to figure out who that is? See if you can positively identify the person before you create the profile! He may already exist on WikiTree.


Before you add any photos to the profile, please make sure you have permission to upload it to WikiTree.

Military Categories, Profile Stickers, and Project Boxes

If you go to the Military and War Sub-Projects section you will find all available wars listed with links to their categories, stickers and project boxes.


When you have questions — any questions at all — ask in G2G and include the tag military_and_war.

Military and War Project members will be happy to help you improve the profiles of veterans.

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