United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps (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.


Collection Time Period

This collection covers the years 1798 through 1892.

Record Description

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.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

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.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records.

Record Content

Muster Roll volumes include indexes to ship names, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows:

United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps DGS 5013506 189.jpg
  • Name of officer or enlisted man
  • Rank
  • Date of enlistment or reenlistment
  • Name of ship
  • Station
  • Unit

In some cases, muster rolls also contain the following:

United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps DGS 5013506 187.jpg
  • 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 names. It is also helpful to know their approximate dates of service and the vessels 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.

Record History

The Continental Marines were founded in 1775 to aid the original 13 colonies in their fight for independence. The Marine Corps was created in 1798. It was part of the Navy Department from 1834 until 1952, when it became a distinct branch of the military.

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

Records of Marine Corps soldiers and officers are available at the National Archives in Record Group 127 for the years 1798 to 1904.

Why the Record Was Created

Muster rolls were used to record an idividual's service and pay.

Record Reliability

These records are generally accurate.

Related Websites

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should 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 wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for Records Found in This Collection

"United States, Muster Roles of the Marine Corps, 1798-1892"  digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 17 November 2011). r Thomas Burke,  1 September 1865; citing Marine Corps Records, 1865 Jan.-Feb., Image 7; Record Group 127, NARA publication T1118, Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C. United States.


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