United States Civil War Soldiers Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This index was culled from 6.3 million soldier records in the General Index Cards to the Compiled Military Service Records in the National Archives. This index was a joint project of the U.S. National Park Service, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). This is an index of soldiers who served in the Civil War, 1861 to 1865.

This in an index to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) which is a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The initial focus of the CWSS is the Names Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives. The facts about the soldiers were entered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a cooperative effort by the National Park Service (NPS) and several other public and private partners, to computerize information about the Civil War.

The goal of the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is to increase public understanding of this era in American history. The index was created to enable the public to make a personal link between themselves and their ancestors.

The information in the index is accurate regarding the locator information. However, any index may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Record Content

Each record provides the following:

  • Full name
  • Regiment
  • Whether Union or Confederate
  • Company
  • Soldier's rank
  • Sometimes alternate names
  • NARA publication and roll numbers

How to Use the Record

To begin your search you need to know

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Other identifying information such as age or military unit where served

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records. For example:

  • If your ancestor was a union soldier, he may have service or pension records at the National Archives.
  • If your ancestor was a confederate soldier, he may have service or pension records in the state archives.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Compile the entries for other individuals who have the same surname. This is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been also belonged to the National Guard.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.


Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We especially need language translations for both content and images. For specific needs, please look for callout boxes throughout the article or visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.


Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Civil War Soldiers Index." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing multiple microfilm publications, Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 24 March 2015, at 15:26.
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