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Military Service Records Research

Veterans Day Sale

This Veterans Day we invite you to learn more about the military service of your family members at the Gale Family Library! From November 5 to November 11 take 15% off the regular purchase price of all military-related Research Service orders when you enter discount code MILITARY15 during checkout. For more information, visit the Veterans Day Sale page.

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Company B, 36th Infantry, parading east on Sixth Street in St. Paul during the World War.

MNHS has many useful records documenting military service.  Most of these are in the State Archives collection under the records of the Adjutant General and the Department of Military Affairs.

The Adjutant General is a constitutional officer appointed by the governor.  The function of this office is to manage the state militia (the National Guard) and the various armories and support facilities for it.  

The Department of Military Affairs was created after World War II.  It administers a variety of veterans programs.

This guide will give you an overview on how to find records from the following wars:

Veterans Grave Registration Reports, 1930-1975
Records of military veterans buried in Minnesota cemeteries, as reported to the Minnesota Adjutant General and then the Minnesota Department of Veteran's Affairs.  
In 1927, the Minnesota Adjutant General was given responsibility to maintain a permanent registry of the graves of all persons who served in the military or naval forces of the United States and whose mortal remains were buried in Minnesota. In 1943, this responsibility was transferred to the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1947, the funeral director overseeing the burial was required to complete the form and forward it to the state. In 1969, this graves registration program was eliminated from the duties of the Veterans Affairs Department, although some counties' officials—mainly Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Ramsey, and Swift—and the Fort Snelling Cemetery continued to submit reports until about 1975. The extant records total approximately 70,000 forms.
MNHS call number: Click here for instructions on how to search for Veterans Grave Registrations in PeopleFinder. 

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Hamp Smith
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Minnesota Historical Society Library • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300