Begin a search for confederate records

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If you have a male ancestor who was born in the 1830s or 1840s and who lived in a southern state or the border states of Kentucky, Maryland, or Missouri, he may have served in the Confederate forces in the Civil War.  Most who served were in their late teens or early twenties but could have been older or younger.  It is helpful to know at least the state where your ancestor lived when the war started in 1861. 

1.  Search online indexes for possible service or pension records. 

  • The American Civil War Research Database  ($) has 4.2 million soldiers' records.  Ancestry ($) has an older version of the database with information on 2.1 million soldiers.
  • Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is sponsored by the National Park Service, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  This database is based on the National Archives General Index Cards to Union and Confederate soldier's service records.  It includes the records of 6.3 million soldiers. 
  • Footnote ($) has a consolidated compiled index to all Confederate service records.  You can search the file by either the military unit (usually a regiment), then alphabetically by the soldier's last name.  Or you may search the database by the last name of the soldier, then his given name.  Knowing the state from which your ancestor served is helpful.

Online indexes and some digital records exist for the following southern states:  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

2.  If you find your ancestor in the online indexes, you may search the Family History Library microfilm for Compiled Military Service Records for the the states that supplied troops to the Confederacy.  Search the Family History Library catalog for the state