United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937 .
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 Muster Rolls
Record Group RG 127: Record of the United States Marine Corps
Collection years 1798-1937
Microfilm Publication T1118. Muster Rolls of the United States Marine Corps, 1798-1892. 123 rolls.
  T977. Muster Rolls of Officers and Enlisted Men of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1893-1940. 461 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 546
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What Is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1798-1937.

This collection consists of an index and images of muster rolls of the United States Marine Corps located at the National Archives. The records are arranged chronologically by month, then by post, station or ship, and are part of Record Group 127 Records of the U.S. Marine Corps The muster rolls are from two National Archive microfilm publications, T1118 (1798-1892, 123 rolls) and T977 (1893-1940, 460 rolls). The muster rolls from T1118, 1798 -1892 have been indexed. Only those rolls from T977,1893-1940 listed below have been indexed.

The following rolls and dates from T977,1893-1940 have been indexed.:

  • roll 46 Sept-Oct 1905
  • rolls 87-99 Sept 1912-Dec 1913
  • rolls 122-123 May -Jun 1917
  • roll 133 Feb 1918
  • rolls 135- 160 Mar 1918 -Jan 1919
  • rolls 163-180 Feb 1919-Sept 1919
  • rolls 282- 400 Mar 1928-Mar 1937

The browse collection for the two publications are arranged by roll number. Images for the following rolls from T977,1893-1940 are not available in this publication.

  • roll 2 Jul-Dec 1893
  • rolls 100-121 Jan 1914-Apr 1917
  • rolls 124-132 Jun 1917-Jan 1918
  • roll 134 Feb 1918
  • rolls 161-162 Feb 1919
  • rolls 181-186 Oct 1919-Mar 1920
  • rolls 401-460 Apr 1937-Dec 1940

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937.

Collection Content

Sample Images

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.

Muster rolls were used to record an idividual's service and pay. These records are generally accurate.

What Can This Collection Tell Me?

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

  • Name of officer or enlisted man
  • Rank and unit in which served
  • Date of enlistment
  • Date of re-enlistment
  • Name of ship
  • Notes regarding promotions, transfers, physical description, etc.

In some cases, muster rolls also contain the following:

  • Injuries or illness and type of treatment
  • Date of death or discharge
  • Date of desertion
  • Date of apprehension
  • Date of court martial
  • Sentence of court-martial

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate dates of service.
  • The vessel your ancestor served on.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Years, Month Range" which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Allow for variations of physical descriptions since officers enlisting marines did not use measuring devices and standard lighting was not used. General trends will show through multiples enlistments.

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 Marine Corps Muster Roll, 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

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, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937" Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm publication T1118. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

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, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1937.

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