Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: Various volumes. Washington, D.C.: Navy Department Library.

About U.S., Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941

This database contains casualty lists, citation lists, and other records documenting U.S. Navy and some other service personnel.

Historical Background

The United States Navy traces its founding to a 13 October 1775 resolution by the Continental Congress that established the Continental Navy. After the Continental Navy was disbanded following the Revolutionary War, the Naval Act of 1794 created the United States Navy in response to threats from abroad. Over the course of its history, the Navy has fought wars against hostile nations, hunted pirates, interdicted smugglers, and allowed the United States to project its power overseas.

What You Can Find in the Records

This database contains a number of books documenting naval history stretching back to the U.S. Navy’s early days. Most are casualty lists. These include details on sailors and officers who were killed, wounded, missing in action, or taken prisoner. Not all deaths are war related. Records include lists of personnel who drowned, were lost in shipwrecks, or died from other accidents or misadventure.

Content of the records varies, depending on the year and type of record, but you may find the following details:

  • name
  • rate
  • date (death, wounded, MIA, etc.)
  • ship or station
  • cause of death

Some lists will include next of kin and their address, and some record enlistment details. Aside from casualties, some books contain lists of medical corps members and recipients of citations, medals, or awards. While predominantly Navy, these records may include some Army and Marine Corps personnel.

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