United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
This collection covers the years 1798 through 1892.
This collection consists of images of muster rolls of the United States Marine Corps located at the National Archives. The rolls are arranged chronologically by month, then by post, station, or ship.
Muster Roll volumes include indexes to ship names, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows:
- Name of officer or enlisted man
- Date of enlistment or reenlistment
- Name of ship
In some cases, muster rolls also contain the following:
- Injuries or illness and type of treatment
- Date of death or discharge
- Date of desertion or apprehension
- Sentence of court-martial
How to Use the Record
These records are a valuable source of information for those wishing to learn more about ancestors who served in the Marines, particularly if only limited military information is known. To search for your ancestors you will need to know their full name. It is also helpful to know their approximate dates of service and the vessel served on.
If you are having difficulty finding your ancestor, look for variations in the spelling of the name. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Comparing the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors will help you determine if you have found the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
If your surname is unusual, you may also find it helpful to compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. If the Marine had a common surname, be sure to check all records for the name before deciding which record is correct.
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:
- Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or burial records.
- Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.
Muster rolls were used in military organizations before America was even considered a separate country. During a muster, each soldier or officer was physically checked against his name on the roll, with notes made for deaths, desertions, discharges, and absences. For more information about muster rolls in early American history, see the web article Loyalist Muster Rolls
During the Civil War, muster rolls grew to include personal information including:
- Nativity (state or country)
- Date and place joined
- Age when enlisted
- Date and place mustered in
- Place and date mustered out
Why this Record Was Created
Muster rolls were used as a form of recording an officer's service in the Marine Corps to pay them for their service.
These records are generally accurate but depend upon the reliability of the informat.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
Sources of Information for This Collection
United States. Muster Rolls of the United States Marine Corps, 1798-1892. Record Group 127, NARA publication T1118. Federal Archives and Records Center. Washington D.C.