Friday, June 4, 2010

US Military Morning Reports--Genealogical Value on Military Service

The US Army, Air Corps and Air Force produced a Morning Report (MR) every morning of the year for every basic unit of the service, by the unit clerk, detailing personnel changes for the day.

These reports can be of genealogical value for those researching their ancestors' military records. A person must have the specific time frame and unit of service when requesting the morning reports. (Note: they were NOT destroyed in 1973 Fire at the National Personnel Records Center, aka NPRC, in St. Louis, MO).

I first learned about them from Steve Luxenberg when he discussed how he tried to obtain his father's WWII Morning Report when researching his book, Annie's Ghosts. He was required to go through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process- which as it turns out was not necessary.


Recently, I asked about how to best obtain the reports from US Archivist Ferriero-the NPRC is under his jurisdiction- and the FOIA process. It turns out that FOIA is not required for reports that are 62 years and older.

NARA staff replied that:


"Unit records (morning reports (MRs) & rosters) are available for public viewing if they are 62 years old or older. They mature on a monthly basis because the MR's for each unit is on it's own reel of microfilm which was compiled monthly. For example, MR's for April 15, 1948, would not be archival public records until May 1, 2010, when the entire month of April is 62 years old."

"A researcher may view these MR's by contacting the archival records specialists to schedule an appointment (e-mail address in included in Microfilm Unit Records Onsite Review document listed below). Archival unit records do not require special permission from the Army/Air Force's FOIA office.

"Unit records that are not yet archival (not yet 62 years old), do require permission from the Army's FOIA office. After permission is obtained, the researcher will need to contact, the Organizational Records Section,...to schedule an appointment. (Contact information is contained in referred documents below).

The following helpful documents can be downloaded on the IAJGS website:


  1. Microfilm Unit Records Onsite Review information sheet - The National Personnel Record Center provides this information sheet to persons interested in researching unit records (morning reports and rosters).
  2. Arch Brochure updates - provides an overview of the most recent archival accessions available at NPRC.
  3. ARR brochure (14 May 2010) - has the basic information for on site review of archival personnel records older than 62 years.
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Director-at-large
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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