West Virginia, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
West Virginia, United States
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Flag of the United States of America
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Flag of the United States at the outbreak of the civil war
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Compiled Service Records
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant General's Office
Collection years 1861-1865
Microfilm Publication M508. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of West Virginia.
National Archives Identifier 300398 423
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
  • Ancestry ($) Searchable Civil War service records
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of Union service records of soldiers who served in organizations from West Virginia for the years 1861 to 1865. The records include abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in the following original records:

  • Name, rank, company and regiment in which served
  • Muster rolls showing when soldier was mustered-in, discharged
  • Returns
  • Rosters
  • Payrolls
  • Appointment books
  • Hospital registers
  • Union prison registers and rolls
  • Parole rolls
  • Inspection reports

For each military unit the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier's surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm. This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s - 1917, and is National Archive Microfilm Publication M508. Index courtesy of Fold3 (previously Footnote.com).

Service records were kept for each soldier. Those records, or their abstracts, were compiled into individual files. Each envelope/jacket contains information and cross references to original records relating to the soldier.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The index to these records contains the following:

  • Jacket name
  • Soldier’s full name
  • Year
  • Age (often estimated)
  • Military unit served in
  • Type of records in file
  • NARA publication number, title, and roll number

Collection Content

The records are in individual files which usually include the following:

  • A jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, his rank, and the unit in which he served
  • A card (or cards) with abstracts of entries from original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, parole rolls, and inspection reports
  • The originals of any papers relating only to the particular soldier

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the soldier
  • Identifying information such as age

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?

  • Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date
  • Use the age and location of the military unit to find the soldier’s family in census, church, and land records
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have served in the same unit or a nearby unit
  • 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 unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, check for variant spellings of the surnames

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
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities
  • 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 with the same family number

Record Finder

Consult the West Virginia Research Tips and Strategies and its Record Finder to search other records

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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
"West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of West Virginia." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d. Citing NARA microfilm publication M508. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1964.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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