Next after U.S. Federal Census Records, I think that U.S. military records can furnish us much information from one source. Military records offer evidence of service rendered and family connections (pension collecting). Military records are most effective when correlated with other sources.
This was Rick Sayre’s advice for the final talk of the day at the 2018 Montana Genealogical Society’s conference in Great Falls. He stressed that we must (1) Know America’s wars; (2) Know the records; (3) Know the law (laws governing military service and pensions).
For a desktop visual aid to help keep the wars straight in your mind, here’s a help:
List of Major American Wars
- The Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
- War of 1812 (1812-1815)
- Mexican – American War (1846-1848)
- American Civil War (1861–1865)
- Spanish-American War (1898)
- World War I (1914-1918)
- World War II (1939-1945)
- Korean War (1950-1953)
There are many resources, both in books and online, to assist your personal education of the specific war your ancestor might have been involved in. You might start with the Wiki at FamilySearch: www.familysearch.org/wiki