United States Naval Enlistment Rendezvous (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Naval Enlistment Registers
Record Group RG 24: Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798-1991
Collection years 1855-1891
Microfilm Publication M1953. Weekly Returns of Enlistments at Naval Rendezvous ("Enlistment Rendezvous") Jan. 6, 1855-Aug. 8, 1891.
Arrangement Chronologically by week for each rendezvous
National Archives Identifier 2363711
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?

A rendezvous was the recruiting station where the men enlisted in the Navy. Officers at the rendezvous kept a record of each man enlisted and reported the information weekly to the Navy Department. These documents are known as the “weekly returns of rendezvous reports.”

The largest number of enlistments occurred during the Civil War. The number of men in uniform for these years is estimated at between 26,000 and 51,000.

This collection consists of these enlistment registers for the years 1855 to 1891. The original records are located in the National Archives Record Group 24 (NARA publication M1953): Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel. The records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 2003.

They are arranged in the following order:

  • Volume
  • Chronologically by week
  • Name of naval rendezvous
  • Date of enlistment

The indexes to these records, both arranged alphabetically, are available on microfilm from the National Archives in the following publications:

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Information found in this collection may include:

  • Name of naval rendezvous
  • Name of new recruit
  • Date and term of enlistment
  • Rating (rank)
  • Name of ship to which assigned
  • Previous naval service
  • City and state where born
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Personal description

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate age of your ancestor
  • The birth place of your ancestor
  • The approximate dates of enlistment

If you are having difficulty finding your ancestor, look for variations in the spelling of the name. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

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?

  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or burial records
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; 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 seeking the pension
  • 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

Related Digital Books

Civil War Naval Chronology

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 Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891." Database and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M1953. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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