United States Civil War Soldiers Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: United States Civil War Soldiers Index .
This index was culled from 6.3 million soldier records in the General Index Cards to the Compiled Military Service Records in the National Archives. This index was a joint project of the U.S. National Park Service, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). This is an index of soldiers who served in the Civil War, 1861 to 1865.
This in an index to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) which is a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The initial focus of the CWSS is the Names Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 6.3 million soldier records in the National Archives. The facts about the soldiers were entered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a cooperative effort by the National Park Service (NPS) and several other public and private partners, to computerize information about the Civil War.
The goal of the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is to increase public understanding of this era in American history. The index was created to enable the public to make a personal link between themselves and their ancestors.
The information in the index is accurate regarding the locator information. However, any index may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
Each record provides the following:
- Full name
- Whether Union or Confederate
- Soldier's rank
- Sometimes alternate names
- NARA publication and roll numbers
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.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
Keep in mind:
- 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 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. For example:
- If your ancestor was a union soldier, he may have service or pension records at the National Archives.
- If your ancestor was a confederate soldier, he may have service or pension records in the state archives.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Compile the entries for other individuals who have the same surname. 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 also belonged to the National Guard.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
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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.
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 Soldiers Index." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing multiple microfilm publications, Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.