8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2020 1:08 PM by Katie O'Connell

    Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien


      I have a U.S. state census document from 1917 that was done to determine the number of young men who had military service and/or may be available for service.


      My grandfather filled out the form with the following information:

      Have you ever done any Military or Naval Service in this or any other Country?  U.S. Army

      Where? Philippines

      How Long? 2 yrs

      What Branch? Inf.

      Rank? Corporal

      Have you any serious physical disability? Yes

      If so, name it. Bullet wound and Bolo cut left leg and thigh


      I located a General index Card that shows his service in Company E, 9 Massachusetts Infantry (Spanish War) as a Corporal. However, cannot find the full record. I wrote to the National Personnel Records Center and was told they could not find information but that might possibly be due to the 1973 fire.


      Tried Fold3 with few likely results (given his common name, there were many results but only a scattering that could possibly fit).Considering the injury stated on the census, might there be a separate hospital records file that I could search? Any suggestions / advice / help offered is appreciated!


      General Index Card - Military

        • Re: Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien
          Susannah Brooks Pioneer

          You did not say which state your ancestor lived in either at the time they served in the military or when they were listed in the special state census in 1917.  John J. O'Brien's service record may have been destroyed during the fire at the personnel records center in the early 1970's, but pension files were not destroyed and contain a lot more information about a person than the service record.  If he lived in Maine at the time of the special census and later, this would be the index entry for his pension application record.

          You will need these numbers (including the C # at the bottom) to obtain his pension file, which is at the National Archives in Washington DC.  (To request go to https://www.archives.gov/research/order )

          It appears that he was in and out of a veteran's home in Maine.

            • Re: Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien

              Suzanne -


              Thank you for your considered response.


              My John Joseph O'Brien was born in Ireland, raised in Massachusetts then married and lived in the Connecticut.


              I believe is military service would have occurred while he was still unmarried and living in Massachusetts.

              By 1917, he was married and living in Connecticut with wife and young son (my dad).


              I don't believe the gentleman ever lived in Maine. I have him documented as living in and around Hartford, Connecticut from the time of the birth of his first child (1916) up through his death (1954).


              I'm very interested in taking a closer look at the records you posted. Unfortunately, my 'older eyes' cannot make out the text in this samples. Could you possible provide a URL to where I can view the documents a bit larger?


              And, if you would. be so kind, where exactly did you find these records? I've never before seen them.


              Thanks for your time.

                • Re: Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien
                  Susannah Brooks Pioneer

                  Based on the information that you now have provided, the person that I found records for in Maine, would not be your ancestor, since this person was born in NJ not Ireland.  I found these records on Ancestry.com.  The service record card you had  matches the person who ended up in Maine, so it also did not belong to your ancestor. 

                  I think that you should follow up one the two possible John J. O'Brien's that Jason Atkinson showed in his reply. 

                    • Re: Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien

                      Susannah -


                      The index card that I originally posted (JJ O'Brien / Spanish War / Company E 9th Massachusetts) was actually one of two that I'd thought might be my grandfather. Honestly, I forgot that I had more than one possibility.


                      The second index card is shown below. If you would be so kind as to instruct me on how you found all that information on the first card I'd posted, I would like to be able to do the same for this card which, I believe, is different even from the two that Mr. Atkinson posted.


                      Thanks once again for the generosity of your time.



                      John J O'Brien | Battry K | 1st Massachusetts | Hvy Artillery

                • Re: Seeking Spanish War Service records of John O'Brien
                  Jason Atkinson Ranger

                  Dear Ms. O’Connell,


                  Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                  We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Indexes to the Carded Records of Soldiers Who Served in Volunteer Organizations During the Spanish-American War in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office (Record Group 94). The index card you located can be viewed at OBrien, John Joseph - State: Massachusetts - Regiment: 9 Massachusetts Infantry, Company E. The index card indicates that there should be a Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) for this soldier in the record series Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the Spanish-American War in Record Group 94. While some of the records in this series have been digitized and may be viewed through the Catalog, the CMSR for John O'Brien of the 9th Massachusetts Infantry is not yet available online.


                  These records are in the custody of the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1), which may be contacted via email at Archives1reference@nara.gov.  These records were unaffected by the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri. NPRC’s Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) for Army soldiers only include enlisted personnel discharged from on or after November 1, 1912 and Army officers discharged on or after July 1, 1917. Based on the information you provided, your grandfather would not have had an OMPF at NPRC.


                  To order records that have not already been digitized, please fill out a NATF Form 86 for the service records and a NATF Form 85 for the pension records referenced by Ms. Brooks and mail the completed forms to the address listed on the form. You may also attach copies of the index cards that you and Ms. Brooks located to expedite the search for the records. Currently the option for online orders using eservices.archives.gov is suspended.  For more information see Requesting Copies of Older (pre-WWI) Military Service Records.

                  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. Also, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has suspended non-emergency reproduction and digitization services until further notice due to COVID-19. Orders will not be serviced until operations can resume safely. Once operations resume, document reproduction requests will be filled in the order in which they were received. We apologize for any inconvenience.


                  We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

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