United States, Civil War Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 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
Civil War flag 1861 (33 stars)
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Civil War
Collection years 1861-1865
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of unfiled papers and slips of Confederate service records of soldiers that were not interfiled in the compiled service records. The card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, inspection reports; and the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier. The collection is alphabetically arranged by surname. This collection is a part of RG 109 War Department Collection of Confederate Records and is National Archives Microfilm Publication M347. The index courtesy of Fold3 (formerly Footnote.com).

These records date from the beginning to the end of the Civil War 1861-1865

When the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, many Confederate records were sent away, destroyed, or left behind. Some of the records found their way into the hands of the Union Army and were forwarded to the War Department. In July 1865, the Adjutant General established a bureau for the “collection, safekeeping, and publication of Rebel Archives.” In 1903 the Secretary of War persuaded the Governors of most Southern States to lend Confederate military personnel records to the War Department for copying.

This record was created because the War Department wanted to keep records of who served during the Civil War and who/how many soldiers have died during that time. These records are generally reliable

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Unfiled papers

  • Full name of Confederate Soldier
  • Where the soldier was born
  • Date of Death
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of Death
  • The certificate number
  • When the record was reported and when it was returned

Collection Content

The indexed record contains minimal information. When searching in the index, click on the camera icon to view an image with more information.

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search you need to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The age and birth place 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?

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • 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.

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 Unfiled Papers of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Unfiled Papers and Slips Belonging to Confederate Compiled Service Records." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : 2010. Citing NARA microfilm publication M347. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Adminstration, 1962.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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