U.S. Civil War History & Genealogy

Where to Begin.

So... you've found you have a "Civil War" ancestor... what now?
First you will want to order 6 sets of NATF (National Archives Trust Fund) Form 86 so you can send for his military and pension records. You can do so at: http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/tools.htm
(There is a link on the right side of the page to click on that will bring up an email form, fill it out and send it)
or you may write to (again requesting 6 copies):

When you receive the forms, you will need to provide the last name of your soldier or sailor. You should include his first initial or better yet his full name. You must also provide his military unit, ie: 4th Delaware, Twenty-sixth Mississippi Infantry, USS Monitor, CSS Alabama or whatever it may be.

Take two complete sets of forms and fill out the first one checking that you want Pension Records. On the second one, check that you want Military Records. If your soldier was an enlisted volunteer, the chances are that not more than 10 pages of records exist. If however, your soldier was an officer, there is a much better chance that there are extensive records. If you have reason to believe from the rank and position of responsibility that there may be more than 10 pages of records, the best thing to do here is to staple a note or write across the top of your NATF forms, "Copy complete File" .

If records show your ggrandfather was given a court-martial, (probably a big family secret) pull out another NATF form, fill it out and either staple or write a note across the top "Please copy all court-martial records"

Also, if records show that your soldier was sick, wounded or disabled in anyway--pull out yet another NATF form, fill it out and this time write "Please copy complete medical records". Unless you ask specifically for the court-martial or medical records, you will never even know they exist.

If you don't know the Regiment your ancestor was in, you may want to check some of the following references. If your soldier was Union, you can write to the appropriate State Archives, giving his name and any other pertinent info you may have. You can visit your Regional Branch of the National Archives and check the name and all the various spellings yourself in their indexes. Of course the very best thing to do is to go to the National Archives in Washington, DC.

If you can't get to your Regional Branch of the National Archives or to the National Archives in Wash. D.C., your local FHC (Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is a wonderful place to look for military information. They have much of the same info that is available in the Archives branches Original records, however, are only available in the National Archives

Another option is:
The Roster of Union Soldiers; 1861 - 1865; Edited by Janet B. Hewett; Published by Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, North Carolina. As an update (10/21/02), this is complete now - 33 Volumes - 3,000,000+ names
  1. Maine & New Hampshire
  2. Vermont & Massachusetts (Aaron, Otis F. - Grutter, Christian)
  3. Massachusetts (Guared, Thomas - Zydoe, Albert)
  4. Missouri (A-P)
  5. Missouri (P-Z); Kansas; Arkansas; Louisana; North Carolina; Texas; Alabama; Florida; Georgia; Mississippi
  6. Michigan
  7. New Jersey & Deleware
  8. New York (Aab, Geroge - Culyler, James)
  9. New York (Cumber, John - Hemtson, Robinson A.)
  10. New York (Hen, Baker - McKuman, James)
  11. New York (McLachlon, Archibald - Scoville, Winslow L.)
  12. New York (Scrace, Samuel - Zyraggen, Joseph)
  13. Ohio (A-F)
  14. Ohio (F-M)
  15. Ohio (M-S)
  16. Ohio (S-Z)
  17. Pennsylvania (Aaler, Martin - Fory, John)
  18. Pennsylvania (Fosbemier, Levi - Mazy, Joseph)
  19. Pennsylvania (McAalccher, Levi - Smythes, Samuel A.)
  20. Rhode Island - Connecticut
  21. US Colored Troops (Aanderson, Henry - Jente, Peter)
  22. U.S. Colored Troups (Joost, John J.H. - Zumwalt, Levi)
  23. Other states completed are: Maryland; District of Columbia; West Virginia; Virginia; Illinois; Indiana; Minnesota; Iowa; Kentucky; Tennessee; Wisconsin; Arizona; California; Colorado; Dakota: Nebraska; Nevada: New Mexico: Oregon; Utah; Washington; and Regular Army (enlisted and officers). But the volume numbers are unknown at this time.

If your soldier was Confederate you will want to check the following:
The Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865 Edited by Janet B. Hewett Published by Broadfoot Publishing Co. Wilmington NC 1995 There are 16 Volumes of these rosters all assembled in Surname Alphabetical order listing their Regiment & Company

One must have book is called "Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor" by Bertram Hawthorne Groene published by John F. Blair, 1973

Another is: "Portals to Hell - Military Prisons of the Civil War" by Lonnie R. Speer Published by Stackpole Books, 1997 This is the ONLY consolidated gathering of prison camp information we have seen.

If your gggrandfather's Regiment fought for the Union, and you want the history of that Regiment, you will want to check the following:
A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer 3 Volumes (Union) with a complete set of Regimental Histories in Volume III and just recently available online Dyer's Compendium http://www.public.usit.net/mruddy/dyer.htm

For regimental histories of Confederate Armies, see:
Compendium of the Confederate Armies by Stewart Sifakis @ 1992 Published by the Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group

Compendium comes in 10 volumes each featuring different states or groups of states. They are as follows:

Here are some web sites you might find interesting and helpful:

U.S. Army MIlitary History Institute
23 Ashburn Drive
Carlisle Barracks
Carlisle, PA 17013-5008

Civil War Photos

The following site has MANY Civil War links -
Rosters, Histories, Battlefields, etc.

American Civil War Alphabetic List of Civil War Battles

Brothers Bound

Civil War Music

One stop Mall for Info about the Great American Civil War

U.S. Civil War Center at Louisiana State University
the above site gives you links to MANY Civil War sites

Dictionary of Old Diseases

Civil War Links
includes links to The Civil War Center, Civil War Mail Members websites, Civil War Rosters, John Henderson Freeman Diary, Dyer's Compendium, Confederate Military History: What is CMH? Oficial Records: What is the OR? Substitures and Conscripts, Civil War List Success: Julie Bright, Smith Family Letters,
32nd TN CSA, The Civil War Homepage, Civil War Ancestory Genealogy Help Page, Cindi Howell's Civil War Research Links, The Fenian Brotherhood, Search Texas Pensionsers List, People interested in specific units, soc.history.war.us-civil-war, Civil War Reenactors Homepage, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Sons of Union Veterans

Cemetery Index - US Civil War Center
you can search burials at the following cemeteries
They are updating all the time so be sure to go back often

Sources used: "Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor"
by Bertram Hawthorne Groene
"The Source, A Guidebook of American Genealogy"
Edited by Arlene Eakle & Johni Cerny

Although we are no longer affiliated with AOL, as a service to our users, and as a favor to our old friends, we make the following additional information available:
Come join GCH Jayne CW, GCH Rua CW on Thursday nights 11 PM ET and GCH Jayne CW and GCH Sandy J on Friday nights 10 PM ET in the AOL Ancestral Digs chat room for American Civil War History.

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