United States, Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
This collection is an index to records for the years 1775-1785.
This is an index to compiled service records for approximately 80,000 soldiers who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The records indexed are from the National Archives and Records Administration publication M881.
Most of the Compiled Service Record index entries include the following information:
- Soldier’s name
- State served in
- Regiment served in
- Type of records in file
- NARA publication number, title, and roll number
How to Use the Record
Use the locator information found in the index (such as roll number and the unit served in) to locate your ancestors in the service records. Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Keep in mind that 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.
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.
- Continue to search the index and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have served in the same unit or a nearby unit.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search the records of nearby military units.
This index corresponds to the National Archives and Records Administration publication M881. Compiled Service records were kept for soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War. Each envelope/jacket contains information and cross references to original records relating to the soldier.
Why This Record Was Created
This index was created to provide quick access to compiled service records.
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.
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Contributions to This Article
Sources of Information for This Collection
Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, Index, 1775-1785, database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. M881. Digital copies from Footnote.com
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
United States, Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783. digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: March 3 2011). Service Record for Francis Hamilton, NARA publiction number M881.
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