Researching in the US Navy


Source: Navy Bulletin


Many people are interested in how to get in contact with their former crew members. The Navy World Wide Locator has duty stations for active duty personnel.

BUPERS (Bureau of Personnel) does not have custody of crew lists or current addresses for former members. However, this information can be compiled from several sources. The names of the officers usually appear on the first page of each Ship Deck Log, which were submitted monthly. The enlisted men assigned to a naval ship or command are listed on muster rolls which were also submitted monthly.

The Military Reference Branch, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 20408, holds copies of most deck logs from 1801 through June 1945, as well as microfilm copies of the muster rolls through 1966. In some cases during the 1950's and 1960's, a list of the officers was included with the muster rolls. The Military Reference Branch also has custody of the Bureau of Naval Personnel Casualty Files, which have the official list of Navy casualties for each World War II action. By using the list of officers in the deck logs and the muster rolls, one can compile a list of the crew. Then by using the crew list and the list of casualties, the names of the survivors of a World War II ship or vessel can be created with relative accuracy.


The Suitland Reference Branch, National Archives, Washington D.C. 20409 has custody of the deck logs from July 1, 1945 through 1960. The deck logs from 1962 through 1978 are maintained by the Washington National Records Center, but access to them is controlled by the Deck Logs Section, Ships History Branch, Naval Historical Center, 901 M Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20374-5060. From 1978 to the present, the logs exist only on microfiche, which is also held by the Deck Logs Section.

The muster rolls from 1967 to 1974 are in the custody of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Pers-0243), Washington D.C. 20370. From 1975 to present, the muster rolls are held by the Enlisted Personnel Management Center, Diary Control/Research Branch (Code 312), New Orleans, LA 70159.


Individuals have had success in locating former and retired military personnel by placing advertisements or reunion notices in military oriented periodical. These magazines have a combined circulation of more than one million, and their readership includes many former and retired military personnel. The editors of the magazines should be contacted separately about placing advertisements.

Disabled American Veterans magazine offers reunions services. Send notices to:

Reunions, DAV Magazine PO Box 14301 Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers a vet/retired locator service. For a small fee they will send a list of matching names and supply all known facts about a person's military history. If the service is unable to find a matching name, you will get your money back. You can write for information at:

Vets National Archives, Finders/Seekers
1809 Vandiver Dr. Columbia, MO 65202-1916

The Navy World-Wide locator will forward letters to retired members of the Navy. For this assistance, send a letter in a stamped envelope with the name of the retired serviceman on the front and no return address to:
Navy Reserve Personnel Center
4400 Dauphin Street
New Orleans, LA 70149


Nautical Links

The United States Navy

United States Naval Academy

US National Archives & Records Administration

Naval History

Proceedings Magazine

Reunion Reveille

Posted 12 Dec 1997

Be advised I no longer actively participate in genealogy - Jan2005
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