18 June 2013

Birth Dates Suggest What Wars an Ancestor May Have Fought In!

Family Tree Magazine posted this infographic on its Facebook (FB) page and asked readers to share it.  I am happy to do this.  It’s a great image summarizing what wars an ancestor may have served in based on his birth-date.  Additionally, it reminds of some of the lesser known conflicts that we don’t always consider.  Service paperwork and especially pension paperwork can contain so many juicy clues!

Did this infographic inspire you to check for service for one of your ancestors?  Were you successful?

Do you know of other infographics like this that would be invaluable to your fellow genealogy researchers?

copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog.
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to [email protected]. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
Follow NGS via Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter
Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!

Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to [email protected]


  1. I think there is an error in the graphic for the final square. The year-range shouldn't be the same for the Korean and Vietnam wars.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out ... I agree. For the Vietnam War, probably born about 1946 to 1954?

  3. 64yo for the start of World War II?

    50yo for the start of War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine War, and Korean War?

    My father had parental consent to enter World War II at the age of 17, and he was born in 1926.

  4. This post has been a good test to see who reads Upfront with NGS -- there have been a lot of comments to the editor about this one!

    Another reader shared ...


    UpFront Editor,

    I only checked a couple of wars that didn't make sense to me . . . like the Vietnam War which I knew a lot about having had friends and even relatives serve. Since I was born in 1947, as part of the Baby Boom cohort and in the early years of that group, I have some memories of marching and also being a pen pal with a soldier.

    To suggest that the years of birth for these men to be 1900 to 1936 is ridiculous. They were born between 1940 and 1955. Excepts are for career service people like my step-father who was born in 1915 and served in the US Army from 1940 to 1970 (30 years and 3 wars). So it is likely that men born in 1905 to 1930 were serving, but not many.

    I will also be contacting Family Tree Magazine to point out these obvious errors.


    Eileen Polakoff

    Professional Genealogist, specializing in Jewish Family History

    [email protected]


    Though, before you completely discount, other than the Vietnam War, some of the other dates, do realize that for many wars, especially the Civil War, you did have a "senior" guard -- I have researched men who were in their 60s and "served" as part of the senior guard. Many very young boys also served as musicians in the Revolutionary War. Given that there were many ways to "serve" -- the graphic is sharing a broad age range for each conflict.

    So, these are "guidelines" to suggest when someone "could" have served. I find that many people ignore the War of 1812 for example -- did you consider if a family member of yours served in that war? Was an ancestor in the "senior guard?" Just ask yourself!

    Though, as already mentioned, for the Vietnam war, do look at those typically born "later" as being those who served!