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Naval Officers Service Records

Fold3 Image - First page (out of 5) of service record abstract for Martin Anderson
Do you have ancestors who served as officers in the U.S. Navy between 1829 and 1924? Come explore Fold3’s collection of Naval Officers Service Records!

This collection is composed of abstracts of individual officers’ naval service, covering the dates February 1829 to July 1924. Officers’ records are included in this collection if their service in the Navy (from earliest commission to end of service) roughly falls between these dates

There are 38 volumes, arranged by time period. Within each volume, organization is chronological by date of appointment. There is also an index, which lists the officers in alphabetical order by last name and provides the volume and page number on which that individual’s information can be found.

Many officers’ service record abstracts span several pages, though the number of pages often depends on the length of their service. Their abstract information is recorded on a form entitled “Record of Officers, U.S. Navy.” This form contains columns for date of service, name of officer, time devoted to sea service or unemployed, and remarks, though not all forms have these columns filled out. However, the forms do reliably list a date and a description for milestones and events in an officer’s career, including appointments, orders, promotions, leave, retirement, and more. It also includes the individual’s birth and death dates, if known.

These service record abstracts can provide a wealth of information about the officers listed. An example of a typical form is that of Martin Augustus Anderson, who served from his appointment to cadet engineer in 1877 until he was relieved from active duty in 1919 at the age of 62. His service record abstract is 5 pages long and lists the dates and details for the ships he served on, his other assignments, his promotions, the leave he took, and more. We also learn from the abstract that he died in 1926 in Washington DC from a cerebral hemorrhage. In the remarks section of the form, his next of kin and address are listed.

Do you have any ancestors who appear in the Naval Officers Service Records? Tell us about them! Or get started searching or browsing the collection on Fold3.

13 Comments

  1. I can’t find a record for John W. Kittredge who was a volunteer acting lieutenant, USN, during 1862 and 1863.

    • The key may be the word “acting”. If his acting status was never converted to an actual commission, he might not have been included.

    • I don’t think the volunteers had the same record keeping. They were viewed as substitute soldiers taking over the little stuff that ‘guards’ can do. Lots less written records when the commanding officer note his men not the volunteers unless some unique circumstances like the 11th Maryland Regiment that helped save Wash. DC by a day. But notes are about the regiment not individuals. I doubt the officers got to know the volunteers as well. IMHO.

  2. Are there any records for officers as early as 1812? After 40 years of research the below is all I have on my ancestor.

    David Mitchell, Midshipman rank, 18 June 1812. See Book D, ordered to Wilmington, NC from Onslow, NC., 9 July 1813, on bd. the Rattlesnake.

    American Prisoners of War Held at Halifax During the War of 1812; Vol 1, page 279. Transcribed by Harrison Scott Baker II: Mitchell, David Prisoner 6577. Rank: Midshipman. From: Rattle Snake, Sloop of War. Captured: 11 July 1814 off Shelburne by HMS Leander Interned: 15 July 1814. Discharged: 14 Mar 1815. Received from Leander. Union 7 Transport for Salem.

    Taken from General Navy Registery: David Mitchell18 June 1812. Last appearance on Records of Navy Department was 1818 taken from General Navy Registery: David Mitchell 18 June 1812. Last appearance on Records of Navy Department was 1818

  3. Do you have any records for Joseph Dobson

  4. Do you have anything on Joseph Dobson

  5. Do you have anything on Werdna Nianza Gibson

  6. Why in your heading do you have a picture of lee! And why do you not have a picture of grant. VERY UPSETTING

    • Dang Doc, you won the war, one picture isn’t really a big deal. Smile!

    • I agree with most of your points, but a few need to be discussed further, I will hold a small talk with my partners and maybe I will look for you some susiggteon soon.

  7. what about non-officers–my Uncle Jake served around 1902 in the navy—can I access his record>

  8. Well i geuss all of you dumb ass need to stop acting 😉