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- Neagles, James C. U. S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1994. Ancestry is a trademark of Ancestry, Inc. FHL Book 973 M23nu This book describes federal military records, then discusses each state individually. Pages 231–37 provide details of military records housed in various archives in Illinois, many of which are not microfilmed.
For each war listed below, additional federal sources are listed in U.S. Military Records. It contains search strategies and information to guide you to the best records for your objective.
The Illinois State Archives provides online searchable indexes for several wars, titled Databases of Illinois Veterans. Search this database for the following Illinois veterans' records:
- War of 1812
- Winnebago War
- Black Hawk War
- Mexican War
- Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls
- Civil War (U.S. Navy)
- Civil War (Missouri Units)
- Spanish–American War
- 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor
- Illinois Solders' and Sailors' Home Residents
Records Covering More than One War
An indexed source covering the nineteenth century conflicts through the Spanish-American War is:
- Illinois. Adjutant General’s Office. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois. Nine Volumes. Springfield, Illinois: Phillips Bros, 1900–1902. FHL Film 1001124 (first of 63 films) Volumes 1–8 contain the rosters of officers and enlisted men for the Civil War (1861–1866). Volume 9 contains a record of the services of Illinois soldiers in the Black Hawk War (1831–1832), the Mexican War (1846–1848), and the Spanish-American War (1898–1899). An appendix lists the services of the Illinois militia from 1810 to 1813. The index for each war lists each soldier’s name, rank, regiment, and company. It also gives the volume and page where the entry appears in the report.
The first eight volumes for the Civil War are also indexed in:
- Delap, Fred. "Database of Illinois’ Civil War Veterans." In Illinois State Archives [database online]. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Archives, 27 April 1999– [cited 6 Sept 2011]. Available online. The index shows name, company, unit, and residence.
The Illinois State Archives has many original military records of various wars, such as muster rolls and other records of the Black Hawk War, the Mexican War, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. The archives maintain military databases at their Internet site, consisting of the Adjutant General’s report mentioned above, for the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Regimental histories for Illinois regiments in the Civil War are also in their collection.
The Civil War sparked interest in providing for disabled or elderly veterans of various wars. Records of national soldier homes, including the one in Danville, Illinois, are found in:
- United States. Veterans Administration. Registers of Veterans at National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1937. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. The original records are at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The records for the home at Danville, Illinois, cover the years 1898 to 1934. FHL Film 1536167 (first of 15 films) Content varies, but the Historical Registers may list the soldier’s name, date and place of enlistment, rank, military unit, length of service, date and place of discharge, place of birth, age, physical description, religion, occupation, previous residence, marital status, nearest relative, pension, soldier home admission and discharge dates, disability, death date, or cause of death.
Admission registers of the state soldiers’ home at Quincy have been transcribed and indexed in:
- Illinois Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home at Quincy, Illinois. Two Volumes. Thomson, Illinois: Heritage House, 1975. Owensboro, Kentucky: McDowell Publications, 1980. (Family History Library book FHL Fiche 6048333–4; Book 977.3 M2i Indexed. Volume 1 contains admissions of Mexican War and Civil War veterans, 1887 to 1898. Volume 2 includes admissions of Mexican War, Civil War, and Spanish-American War veterans 1898 to 1908. The more than 8,000 entries may include name; age; company and regiment; state or country of birth; rank; hometown and county; occupation; whether married, widower, or single; and date of admission. The original case files of the Quincy Home veterans are available at the Illinois State Archives.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (833 South Spring Street, Springfield, IL 62794; telephone 217-782-6641) has files of veterans from the American Revolution through the most recent wars who are buried in the state. A copy of the file up to the Spanish-American War is:
- Soldiers Burial Places in State of Illinois for Wars, 1774–1898. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975.FHL Film 1001183 (first of 31 films) The original records are at the Department of Veterans Affairs (formerly known as the Illinois Veterans Commission) in Springfield. The index cards give name, unit, war, next of kin, and location of grave.
- IL Dept of Veterans Affairs
833 S Spring St
Springfield, IL 62704
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
- IL Dept of Veterans Affairs
- There are 7 National Cemeteries in Illinois: Alton National Cemetery, Alton, IL; Danville National Cemetery, Danville, IL; Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL; Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City, IL; Quincy National Cemetery, Quincy, IL, Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL; Camp Butler National Cemetery, Springfield, IL. All but the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, established in 1999, may contain Civil War burials. The Quincy National Cemetery is adjacent to the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home and serves as the primary burial place for inmates of the home, in addition to other veterans from the Quincy area. A number of IL veterans are also buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in adjacent St. Louis, Missouri, which housed both large training and medical facilities during the Mexican and Civil Wars. Burials in all National Cemeteries administered by the Veteran's Administration can be found using the Nationwide Gravesite Locator. National Cemeteries in which burials are closed are administered by the National Park Service and burial information can be obtained from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.
Names from five national cemeteries in Illinois are in:
- Illinois. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans National Cemetery Records, Illinois. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. 1308571-1308572
Original records are at the Illinois State Department of Veterans Affairs in Springfield. This source includes national cemeteries at Rock Island, Mound City, Alton, and Danville, Illinois.
Fort Armstrong --1816-1836
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
The Revolutionary War was fought long before Illinois became a territory in 1809. Many veterans, however, came to Illinois later and may be listed in:
- Soldiers of the American Revolution Buried in Illinois: A Bicentennial Project of the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Springfield, Illinois: The Society, 1976. at Other Libraries (WorldCat)FHL Book 977.3 M2s The soldier’s birth date, death date, place of burial, spouse, and military service information are given for many entries.
An earlier version has been microfilmed:
- Walker, Harriet J. Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois: From the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, April, 1912–January, 1917 Inclusive and April, 1926–January 1927. 1917. Free Name Search ; publisher's bookstore: Genealogical.com; FHL Film 1674248 and 908831 item 3; digital version at Genealogy Trails.
The 1835 Pension Roll
On June 5, 1834, the U.S. Senate required the Secretary of War to submit a statement showing the names of pensioners who were on the pension rolls or had previously been on the pension rolls. For more information on the 1835 Pension Roll see Revolutionary War Pension Records. The 1835 Pension Roll for Illinois is available online:
- Report from the Secretary of War... Vol. III (Google Books)
- The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. IV (Ancestry) ($)
Surname index of Virginia veterans given bounty land in Illinois. Courtesy of Signal Mountain Press.
Many patriots who came to Illinois are included in federal or national sources cited in United States Military Records.
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
The Family History Library has indexes to the federal service and pension files for the War of 1812. See United States Military Records for details and for sources not mentioned below.
An index for War of 1812 bounty land warrants for land located in Illinois is:
United States. General Land Office. Federal Land Records: 'Transcripts of the Locations of Military Warrants on Which Patents Have [Been] Issued Under the Acts of Congress Passed On and Since the Sixth of May, 1812 for Illinois; 1817–1819.' Springfield, Illinois: Office of the Secretary of State, Record Management Division, 1966, 1968. FHL films 882927–29 (indexes); 899785, items 1–3 (transcription of military warrants vols. 807–8, 1817 to 1819) The warrant numbers given in the index refer to:
- Bounty land in Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri was issued to soldiers who served in the War of 1812. Copies of the bounty land warrants are on 14 films at the Family History Library. The names of Illinois patentees are indexed in "War of 1812, military bounty land warrants, 1815-1858" (NARA M848) (FHL 983163) (Worldcat). The records provide the name of the soldier and his rank, unit, date of warrant, and the date the land was located.
- War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois. 1840. Reprint, Thomson, Illinois: Heritage House, 1977; originally published, as House Document 262, 26th Congress, 1st Session, 1840. FHL Film 1035624, item 7;fiche 6051272; Book 977.3 R2w
- The IL Secretary of state website provides a searchable Illinois Veterans of the War of 1812 database.
Black Hawk War (1832)
The Black Hawk war was peculiar to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Unhappy with the large number of immigrants filling land previously held by the Sauk Indians, Black Hawk led a group of Sauks, Kickapoos and Meskwakis back into Illinois for resettlement. Hostilites began in April 1832. American militia troups were initially defeated by the Native Americans. But, the militia groups were joined by regular army and the fight resumed in southern Wisconsin. The Native Americans were defeated in August 1832. The conflict was brief, but generated military records. Some militia lists exist on the county level. A statewide list is found:
- Database of Illinois Black Hawk War Veterans (Illinois State Archives) - Online searchable index. Copies ordered from the state archives generally include name, rank, unit, place and dates of enrollment, and remarks concerning the soldier's service.
- Illinois. Adjutant General’s Office. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois. Nine Volumes. Springfield, Illinois: Phillips Bros, 1900–1902. FHL Film 1001124 (first of 63 films)Black Hawk War records are in Vol. 9.
Civil War (1861–1865)
See Illinois in the Civil War for information about Illinois Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the Illinois regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental pages often include lists of the companies with links to the counties where the companies started. Men in the companies often lived in the counties where the companies were raised. Knowing a county can help when researching the families of the soldiers.
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiment for the soldiers. Then you can check the Wiki regiment page to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.
Many of the companies of the 29th United States Colored Infantry Regiment enlisted from Illinois counties.
National Headquarters Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War incorporated by an act of Congress.
The GAR became the largest Union veterans organization in the country. Over 715 post were organized in Illinois. In 1888 Illinos had 552 post with a membership of 30,293 veterans.
Spanish-American War (1898–1899)
See sources listed under the subheading "Records Covering More than One War" at the end of this section.
World War I (1917-1918)
World War I draft registration cards for men ages 18–45 may list address, birth date, birthplace, race, nationality, citizenship, and next of kin. Not all registrants served in the war. For Illinois’ cards, see:
United States. Selective Service System. Illinois, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987–88. At Other Libraries FHL Film 1452428.
To find a person’s draft card, it helps to know his name and residence at the time of registration, since the cards are arranged alphabetically by county, within the county by draft board, and then alphabetically by surname. Counties may have had more than one draft board.
Large cities like Chicago, however, had several draft boards. Find a person’s street address in a city directory, then find the draft board closest to that address. Draft board addresses for Chicago can be found in:
Second Report of the Provost Marshall General to the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Selective Service System to December 20, 1918. Selective Service Addresses for Major Cities. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. FHL Fiche 6039066; Book 973 M2ww
A street map of Chicago for this time is on:
United States. Selective Service System. List of World War One Draft Board Maps. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. FHL Film 1498803. These maps are helpful in determining which draft boards were closest to where a person lived. Maps of some cities in this collection show the actual boundaries of the draft boards. For Chicago, however, it is necessary to pinpoint the ancestor’s street address on the map, then locate the address of each draft board until the closest ones are identified.
Polish volunteers all over the United States were recruited for the Polish Army in France, and many from Illinois are listed in United States (with some from Ontario, Canada) Recruits for the Polish Army in France, 1917–1919, cited in Illinois Minorities.
A pictorial history of soldiers with brief sketches and genealogical information is:
Fighting Men of Illinois: An Illustrated Historical Biography. Chicago, Illinois: Publishers Subscription, 1918. FHL Film 934978, item 3
World War II (1941-1945)
Browsable images of World War II Draft records are available. These records are for the 1942 draft registration of the "old men" age 45–64. Cards are arranged alphabetically. Be sure to check the second page for additional information. United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
Additional Military Records
There are other military records that are not available on microfilm at the Family History Library. Many original records are at the Illinois State Archives or one of the universities in the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System (IRAD). The Illinois State Historical Library also has many published military histories and records. See the "Archives and Libraries" section for addresses.
Soldiers’ discharge records, which contain service and discharge information, are often filed by soldiers upon completion of their service. They may be found at individual county courthouses or at regional IRAD depositories.
Military Records can be found on state, county and local levels. Links to county pages appear below. Additional resources for Illinois military records may be found in the Illinois-Military topic page of the Family History Library catalog (FHLC). More military records can be found by doing a Subject Search of the FHLC for Illinois Military. Copies of records on FHL microfilm and microfiche can be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers. Also find Illinois Military resources available at other libraries (WorldCat). Explore how to search WorldCat and the FHLC.
Illinois Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2006.
- NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.
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