United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865 .
The collection consists or Union service records of soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops. The records include abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in the following original records:
- Muster rolls
- Appointment books
- Hospital registers
- Union prison registers and rolls
- Parole rolls
- Inspection reports
For each military unit, the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier's surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm.
This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office 1780s - 1917 and includes NARA microfilm publications pertaining to the compiled service records of the United States Colored Troops. Index is courtesy of www.fold3.com (Previously called Footnote.com).
Service records were kept for each Confederate soldier. Those records, or their abstracts, were compiled into individual files. Each envelope/jacket contains information and cross references to original records relating to the soldier. The records cover the years 1863 to 1865.
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.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865." Index.. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing "Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored), 6th United States Colored Cavalry." Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d.
The records are in individual files and usually include the following:
- A jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, rank, and the unit in which he served
- A card (or cards) with abstracts of entries from original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, parole rolls, and inspection reports
- The originals of any papers relating only to the particular soldier
The index to these records contains the following:
- Jacket name
- Soldier’s full name
- Age (often estimated)
- Military unit served in
- Type of records in file
- NARA publication number, title, and roll number
How to Use the Record
To begin your search you need to know
- The name of your ancestor
- Other identifying information such as age or military unit where served
Search the Collection
To search the collection 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 video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
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.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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, check for variant spellings of the surnames.
Related Wiki Articles
- Union Service Records
- 28th US Colored Troops
- United States Civil War, 1861 to 1865
- United States Military Records
Contributions to This Article
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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
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 keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.