United States, Union Provost Marshal's File of Papers Relating to Civilians (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866 and United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866.
The collection was digitized from microfilm and is arranged alphabetically by the first two or three letters of the surname. It consists of correspondence, provost court papers, lists of transportation permits, claims for compensation for property used or destroyed by military forces, affidavits, oaths of loyalty and other lists. Although the records were kept by the Union Army, they primarily deal with information about confederate citizens and union citizens who were suspected of supporting the confederate cause. itary police of the Union army. They dealt with a wide range of individuals including those who were suspected of disloyalty or of giving aid to the enemy, who violated military orders, were prisoners, were authorized to travel in or to enter the Confederate states, and others. During the war each division, brigade, and corps of the Union Army had a provost marshal.
This collection covers the years from 1861 through 1866.
- Provost marshals kept records of their activities as the military police
- Provost courts were established to try civilians who violated military orders as well as military personnel suspected of committing civil crimes
These records are usually reliable.
For a list of records by document type currently published in the United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866 collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Citations for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M345. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
The records contain a variety of genealogical facts which vary by the individual record. Those most often found in the collection are listed below:
- Name of civilian
- County and/or state of civilian’s residence
- Reason why civilian was brought into question
- Current residence
- Legal findings
- Resolution of matter
How to Use the Record
To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the Select a surname range which takes you to the images.
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Provost marshal records can be used to place an individual in a specific location at a specific time. They can show how individual citizens were involved in the Civil War. They may also indicate the profession of the civilian, as well as other biographical information.
When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct. These records may give initials rather than full names so you should use caution in determining if the record is for your ancestor. If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for variant spellings of the surnames.
When you have located a document about your ancestor, 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 residence or locality listed to find the family in census, church and land records.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
- "United States, Union Provost Marshal Files of Individual Civilians, 1861-1866." index and images, FamilySearch (): accessed 8 April 2011. entry for Silas M Donett; citing Provost Marshal Files. Dons-Dov, Image 245; United States War Department.
- "United States, Union Provost Marshal Filed of Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866." index and images FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): entry for Glen Winchester, prisoner from 16th Tennessee Infantry; Citing Provost Marshal Files, Prisons by Location, Gallatin, Tennessee, through New Orleans, La, varying dates, Image 4; United States War Department.