Begin a search for Union records
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Union military units existed for every state except South Carolina and these units kept records.
- Check each state for an index to the Compiled Military Service Records. The FHL lists these indexes by state. Search first by Locality <state>; then Military records - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Indexes; then alphabetically by the name of your ancestor. Be sure to check alternate surname spellings. If your ancestor is in the index, write down the military unit.
- Look for your ancestor's service record in the Compiled Military Service Records. If you ancestor enlisted in a unit for the Union army in a southern or western state, the FHL has these records. Search first by Locality<state>; then Military records - Civil War, 1861-1865; then by compiled service records of volunteer Union soliders. If your ancestor enlisted in other states, you must request copies of the record from the National Archives.
- Search for your ancestor's pension record. Not all veterans received a pension. Find the application or pension numbers you need to request Union pension records (pension files). The indexes are online at Footnote ($) or they can be accessed in The General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (FHL films 54757-41300). If your ancestor was alive between 1907 and 1933, search Veteran's Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. The actual files are not microfilmed.
- Request a copy of the pension file from the National Archives.
- Search other sources. Search this Wiki for the state in which your ancestor enlisted to find other military records, such as state roster, Adjutant General's reports, regimental or unit histories, and county histories.
- Search the records of veteran organizations and lineage societies.