United States Civil War Soldiers Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
US 33 Star Fort Sumter Flag.jpg
Flag of the United States at the outbreak of the civil war
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Index to Compiled Service Records
Record Group RG 94 and 109: RG 94 Records of the Adjutant General's OfficeRG 109 War Department Collection of Confederate Records
Collection years 1861-1865
National Archives Identifier 300398586957
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

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.

Copies of compiled military service records are available from the National Archives. To request copies follow the instructions in the following link. Requesting Pre-WWI Service Records

To Browse This Collection

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Soldiers index

  • Full name
  • Regiment
  • Whether Union or Confederate
  • Company
  • Soldier's rank
  • Sometimes alternate names
  • NARA publication and roll numbers

Collection Content

Sample of indexed information:

John Smith United States Civil War Soldiers Index
Name John Smith
Event Type Military Service
Military Beginning Rank Private
Military Final Rank Private
Military Side Confederate
State or Military Term Florida
Military Unit 1st Regiment, Florida Cavalry
Military Company B

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search you need to know :

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The age of your ancestor
  • The military unit in which your ancestor served
  • The state and county where your ancestor lived

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • 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
  • 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

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, 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

Record Finder

Consult the United States Record Finder to search other records.

Related FamilySearch Collections

NARA Ainsworth List T817, Civil War, Rolls 44-81

Related Digital Books

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing multiple microfilm publications, Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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