How to Index War-Damaged Army Records Accurately

Many old war records contain crucial information that is extremely challenging to read and interpret. We help index these army records so that genealogists, historians, and researchers seeking historical armed forces and wartime record information can access them quickly.


The archiving of war records or army records is essential to preserving history.

Although there are plenty of wartime records in the various government archives, their contents are not always accessible to the public. By indexing these records, researchers, genealogists, and others who have an interest in the past will have access to these records and will be able to locate the information they require for their research.

Indexing is a vital step for organizing documents since it enables researchers to populate specific information from large collections.

As is evident, a war-damaged record indexing process can be a laborious and time-consuming endeavor. It is pertinent to ensure that no relevant information related to war soldiers is omitted while deciphering and indexing the information from the damaged images. However, the process becomes a complex one as many documents contain manifold errors.

The majority of the war-damaged records exist not only in English but also in other non-English languages. Besides, most records are not traceable as they are usually destroyed or lost. Such challenges create many hurdles for professionals to create accurate indexed records from war-damaged records.

This article explores the challenges associated with indexing war-damaged documents and how SBL Corp can help you overcome them.

Why is Indexing War Damaged Army Records Important?

War-damaged records carry a wealth of valuable historical information. Indexing the war-damaged army records allows to preserve the records and helps researchers to locate specific information easily. This will simplify the research process as the data is easier to find. From an emotional point of view, indexing these records preserves the memories of those who were part of these wars.

Challenges in Indexing War-Damaged Records and Measures to tackle them

Challenges: The process of indexing war-damaged records carries many challenges. The first challenge is to identify how to categorize the information on a record. Furthermore, it is highly difficult to index the names of people who were killed or displaced during wars and conflicts.

The information pertaining to the war-damaged records must be collected from authentic sources. The majority of the information sources are difficult to track and cannot be easily found in the military archives. For example,  if someone alters or fakes records to hide their tracks the information in the record becomes false.

Another hurdle is the poor quality of most records. With the passage of time, the majority of the records are unreadable and may be damaged by water or fire. Indexers are often unclear on how to handle these damaged records and file them. A number of factors influence the process such as the type of damage sustained and the cause of the damage. 

How do you build an index of war-damaged records?

The best way is to start by organizing and segregating the damaged records. This is followed by an identification process where the parameters such as sections that are damaged by the war and the level of the damage caused, are assessed. Next, you need to locate the specific records that are damaged and categorize them based on the type and extent of the damage. The third step is to document all the damaged records, enlist them and update them based on the earliest possible availability of new information about the war-damaged records.

Multiple problems may arise during the military records indexing process, such as the loss or destruction of data following a fire, water damage, or mold infestation. As there is no single solution to all problems, it’s important to determine the type of damage and also assess the possible ways to address it before starting any indexing efforts.

Many indexing companies offer services where they review war-damaged records including military medical records. But it’s not everyone’s technical forte to guarantee the accuracy of the indexing process as it is a complex and multi-level process. To ensure the proper management of the war-damaged records indexing process, you can engage the services of a company like SBL Corp which has in-depth knowledge and expertise in indexing and digitizing such complex records.

SBL’s professional indexers will carefully review the old and damaged records and ensure that the data is captured accurately and indexed and made accessible to the public.

SBL’s Expertise in Indexing Old War Records

Most of the historical records of the wars are fragmented and incomplete. Often, physical records are not recorded and indexed consistently and are not available in any standard format. As a result, there is a lack of clarity on past information.

SBL Corp‘s indexing services, however, make it easy to index war-damaged army records and provide accurate and useful information in a short period of time.

We strive to preserve historical records and war history right down to the minutest detail. With outstanding precision and proficiency, our team indexes a variety of hard-to-comprehend war records within record time. 

Our indexing services make it easy to find every old war record that is still in use or needs updating. We ensure that you find data quickly whenever you need it. Our pre-processing team captures the details from the damaged or faint military service records and images. In addition, during the keying process, we verify that all details are entered accurately.  

Contact our Genealogy Division to know more about how we help in indexing war-damaged army records.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find someone’s military record in the UK?
You can use various sources like Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and National Archives for service records. There will also be an army records portal that will help you locate the required information faster.
Are military personnel records public?
Public access to military personnel records is allowed up to 62 years after their retirement.  All records of personnel who retired from the military 62 years or more can be obtained for a copying fee.
How do I find old Army records?
You can find old army records by mailing a request to National Personnel Records Center. You can also contact the Veterans agency in your state. However, it is best to simplify the process by hiring an experienced genealogist to help you collect the information quickly.