United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops (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.

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Record Description

The collection consists or Union service records of soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops. The records include abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in the following original records:

  • Muster rolls
  • Returns
  • Rosters
  • Payrolls
  • Appointment books
  • Hospital registers
  • Union prison registers and rolls
  • Parole rolls
  • Inspection reports

For each military unit, the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier's surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm.

This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office 1780s - 1917 and includes NARA microfilm publications pertaining to the compiled service records of the United States Colored Troops. Index is courtesy of www.fold3.com (Previously called Footnote.com).

Service records were kept for each Confederate soldier. Those records, or their abstracts, were compiled into individual files. Each envelope/jacket contains information and cross references to original records relating to the soldier. The records cover the years 1863 to 1865.

The information in this index is quite reliable. However, keep in mind that even though this index is very accurate it still may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations.

Record Content

The records are in individual files and usually include the following:

  • A jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, rank, and the unit in which he served
  • A card (or cards) with abstracts of entries from original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, parole rolls, and inspection reports
  • The originals of any papers relating only to the particular soldier

The index to these records contains the following:

  • Jacket name
  • Soldier’s full name
  • Year
  • Age (often estimated)
  • Military unit served in
  • Type of records in file
  • NARA publication number, title, and roll number

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 service 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. For example:

  • Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date.
  • Use the age and location of the military unit to find the soldier’s family in census, church, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

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

How You Can Contribute

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 also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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

Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing "Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored), 6th United States Colored Cavalry." Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com.

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 Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865.


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  • This page was last modified on 17 November 2015, at 23:25.
  • This page has been accessed 4,909 times.