Begin a search for Union records

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>Portal:United States Civil War

Union military units existed for every state except South Carolina and these units kept records.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.   If you know the area where your ancestor enlisted, you may find information about his military service in a unit history or a local community or county history.
  3. 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 actual files are not microfilmed.  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, 1907-1933Request a copy of the pension file from the National Archives.