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Trans-Mississippi Musings

Researching your Civil War Ancestors

Posted by The Muse (themuse) on Feb 27 2016
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If you have ever wondered how to go about finding out detailed information about one of your ancestors who served during the American Civil War, Daniel Welch over at the Emerging Civil War Blog has your answer. Dan recently posted a four part series on this topic.

"Discovering Your Civil War Past, Part 1" introduces the Soldiers and Sailors Database, a website hosted by the National Park Service.

"Discovering Your Civil War Past, Part 2" discusses how to obtain service and pension records for Union service members from the National Archives and Records Administration.

"Discovering Your Civil War Past, Part 3" introduces Frederick Dyer’s A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, which provides a cross reference of which fighting events each regiment or battalion participated in. 

"Discovering Your Civil War Past, Part 4" discusses referencing unit histories, many of which were compiled by former members of the unit. Examples of these that I have used are William F. Scott's "Story of a Cavalry Regiment" and "Roster of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry" about the 4th Iowa Cavalry and Will Tunnard's "A Southern Record" about the 3d Louisiana Infantry.

I would add a fifth source of information to use when researching an individual's service during the Civil War. During the war, each state had an adjutant general who reported to the governor of that state and kept detailed records of the volunteers from their state. The adjutant generals generally printed an annual report, many of which are available online at the Internet Archive (and Google Books). Here are a few examples that I have used in my research.


Last changed: Feb 27 2016 at 8:49 AM