This website is the result of serendipity.  In 1992, Jim and I were randomly assigned to dig excavation units during archaeological investigations at the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site in Wyoming.  Despite our wide range in ages and backgrounds, Jim was a 40-year old former aviation mechanic from Chicago and me a 20-year old college student from Sheridan, we formed an instant connection with a mutual interest in history and especially 19th century U.S. military history.  We have a shared gravitation towards the minutia of the Old Army life.  We believe that compiling the places, events, and day-to-day activities of individuals leads to the accurate reconstruction of historic events and, ultimately brings us closer to our collective roots.

The Old Army is a general term for the regular U.S. Army between ca. 1800 and the Spanish American War (1898).  Over 2 million men served in the military in this time frame.  Most served between 1850 and 1898.  This is the period of our immediate focus, but as time goes on we intend to increase our database to encompass the entire Old Army time frame.

The Old Army, as with today’s government, was a bureaucracy that generated volumes of letters, reports, tabular summaries, personnel orders, court martial summaries, and medical documents.  The mission of oldarmyrecords.com is to compile, index, and disseminate information on a full range of 19th century U.S. military topics.  Whereas most genealogy services provide general information on a soldier’s life (i.e. enlistment date, monthly returns, and death registers) the information we have uncovered provides specific details on the soldier’s life including crime and punishment, promotions and demotions, medical/ casualty data, daily activities, and participation in engagements.  The data highlights the Old Army through the interaction of enlisted men, officers, and civilians, arms and equipment, supplies, and special duties.

Our goal is to bring the Old Army from obscurity into the rich detail it deserves.

This website is the first step in our goal to bring the Old Army to market.  Over the next months we will post a series of blog entries highlighting aspects of the data sets we have assembled.

In 2018, we will launch our database accessible through this website.  The database offers products detailing the Old Army.  These include subscriptions to access data. We have developed an efficient and cost effective way of parsing data (names, places, events, and specific subjects) from Old Army records and integrate them into a robust searchable database.  Users or institutions wishing to index specific data sets may contact us directly for custom orders.  The information contained in this database will be useful to:

  • Genealogists
  • Researchers
  • Authors
  • Historic Site Administrators
  • Screenwriters
  • Living Historians
  • Firearms Collectors
  • Educators
  • Archaeologists

We will continue to digitize a wide variety of historic records to compile the most complete and comprehensive database of the Old Army.  Be sure to visit our Records Inventory page to see the most current list of records in our collection. We encourage you to send us your comments and suggestions on our products and join in discussions on any topic related to the Old Army.  Thank you for visiting oldarmyrecords.com and continue to check in for updates.

Kevin O’Dell           Jim Powers

8 thoughts on “About

  • March 14, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    I’ve recently had my first experience as a customer of oldarmyrecords.com. I am a local historian and genealogist that was looking to acquire a pension file from the National Archives for a local gentleman of interest. Having looked on other websites to verify a pension existed, I contacted Jim Powers at oldarmyrecords.com to see about getting a copy of the file itself.

    Having ordered a few of these for my own family history several years ago, I knew the pension files could range from being a few pages to a couple of hundred. I have a couple of each in my research files. Much to my excitement, a substantial file was located and scanned. The results were more than I anticipated and certainly provided the information to delve further into my subject’s life in the American West, and in particular, shed light on the challenges faced by him as he aged.

    The images I received were high quality, clean, and very legible due to the attention to detail provided by Jim Powers. These are some of the best images I have seen from a website such as this. The legibility of the scans leaves no doubt as to the content of the writing, aside from the usual nuances associated with cursive handwriting.

    From my perspective, the services provided by this website add a lot of possibilities for any historian, whether they are a professional or a layman. Mr. O’Dell and Mr. Powers have demonstrated on numerous occasions their expertise in old government records and I feel they provide a lot of inherent value that is not offered through crowd-sourced webpages. Their hands-on approach provides a high level of expertise that is unusual in today’s information market.

    • March 15, 2019 at 9:29 am

      Thanks for your authoritative and enthusiastic comment on the product we supplied. We hope you will enjoy reviewing the data contained within the pension file and are able to use it to flesh out the character and life details of your subject. Please remember to refer us to anyone in need of in depth and quality research related to the Old Army records. Good luck with your research, Jim

  • April 16, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    This is the first site that I have found to address the type of information that I am seeking about my ancestor. Granted, I am doing genealogical research about him. But, the only thing that most sites (primarily regarding the records at NARA) refer to are the pension records and bounty land records. I want to know what it was like when my 3x G Grdpa enlisted in the regular Army in 1846. Did he have to swear an oath, since he was not a citizen? Did he fill out an application? Did he need references? Were they trained before they mustered in? How did they travel? There are so many considerations that would have been part of joining the army, it’s mind boggling. Yet no one even addresses these things. Did the War Dept advertise for soldiers? How? What was in the contract? I hope you will be able to answer some of these questions.

    • April 16, 2018 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you for your comment and your interest in our shared heritage Donna. We are glad to see there are others who are searching for the story behind the name. All of your questions can be answered with the right amount of digging into the Old Army Records. We at Old Army Records are committed to do that digging for you and everyone else who wants to know the whole story. Keep checking back in with us to read our Posts and to check our Records Inventory Page to see the additions we are making to our records index. And don’t forget to tell your friends about us. Jim

  • February 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I really enjoyed your presentation today and am excited to see the progression of your site!

    • February 14, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Thank you for the kind words Gini!

  • December 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Neat website! I can’t wait until you launch the database.


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