United States, Civil War Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Flag of the United States of America
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Civil War
Collection years 1861-1865
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of unfiled papers and slips of Confederate service records of soldiers that were not interfiled in the compiled service records. The card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, inspection reports; and the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier. The collection is alphabetically arranged by surname. This collection is a part of RG 109 War Department Collection of Confederate Records and is National Archives Microfilm Publication M347. The index courtesy of Fold3 (formerly Footnote.com).

These records date from the beginning to the end of the Civil War 1861-1865

When the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, many Confederate records were sent away, destroyed, or left behind. Some of the records found their way into the hands of the Union Army and were forwarded to the War Department. In July 1865, the Adjutant General established a bureau for the “collection, safekeeping, and publication of Rebel Archives.” In 1903 the Secretary of War persuaded the Governors of most Southern States to lend Confederate military personnel records to the War Department for copying.

This record was created because the War Department wanted to keep records of who served during the Civil War and who/how many soldiers have died during that time. These records are generally reliable

Collection Content

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

These unfiled papers usually include the following:

  • Full name of Confederate Soldier
  • Where the soldier was born
  • Date of Death
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of Death
  • The certificate number
  • When the record was reported and when it was returned

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you need to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The age and birth place of your ancestor.
  • The military unit in which your ancestor served.
  • The state and county where your ancestor lived.


Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
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.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension.
  • 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 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • 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.


Citing 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 Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing "Unfiled Papers and Slips Belonging to Confederate Compiled Service Records." Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : 2010. NARA microfilm publication M347. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Adminstration, 1962.

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 Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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.