U.S. Military Records: A General Overview


This presentation provides a general overview of U.S. military history and records from the colonial period to the present as a tool for furthering family history.  Learn about America’s military history, how records were created, how to obtain them, and other general publications and sources regarding military history and records.

Speaker: Robert Martin Wilbanks IV

Robert Martin Wilbanks IV is a long-time genealogist who was born in Germany and grew up in Scottsdale. At age twelve, he became interested in genealogy with the advent of the television mini-series Roots. He had been interested in history since early childhood, reading virtually all the history books in his elementary school library before graduating the 8th grade. With Roots he realized that he could search for his ancestors and learn their part in the “Great American Experience” that he so loved to read about. He instantly became a fervent genealogist, researching constantly.

Eventually he obtained his B.A. in History and a degree as a library paraprofessional. Robert has worked in libraries from 1982 through 1992, and again from 1998 to the present. As a genealogist, he became involved in local genealogy societies, attended many seminars by notable genealogists and listened to them at many national conferences. He attended the Institute of Genealogy and History at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1989 to 1991. In 1989, he became a professional genealogist, publishing surname newsletters, speaking, researching, editing society newsletters and quarterlies, writing a couple of books, and writing a column for a Phoenix area Irish newspaper. He has also taught genealogy classes for the City of Phoenix and for the Phoenix Irish Cultural Center. He charted several genealogy societies and heritage organizations in the Phoenix area, and over the years he has been president, commander, and held other offices of Phoenix area genealogy and heritage societies. He was President of the Arizona Council of Professional Genealogists from 2015 to 2019 and Chief Genealogist for the Caledonian Society of Arizona from 2016 to 2021. He is a longtime member of the National Genealogical Society, Association of Professional Genealogists, and Genealogical Speakers Guild.


In-person meetings are held at the First Presbyterian Church located at 12225 N. 103rd Ave., Sun City, AZ. (click here for map) – will open in new tab in your web browser)

2022-2023 Monthly Meeting Speakers

West Valley Genealogical Society