US War of 1812 Service Records
Compiled Service Records
A volunteer's compiled service record consists of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. The abstracted information may include references to wounds, hospitalization, absence from the unit, courts-martial, and death.
The name indexes to the War of 1812 are on microfilm and at Ancestry.com (requires subscription) but the actual compiled military service records are not.
Copies of the actual compiled military service record, held at the National Archives, can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 86. Researchers may also request to see the original compiled military service records at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
Index to Compiled Service Records
The "Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812" (NARA M602) includes the name, rank, and unit or units of soldiers from the compiled service records.
- United States, War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815 (FamilySearch)
- War of 1812 Service Records (Ancestry) ($) - transcription of microfilmed index
- A wiki article describing the above Familysearch collection is found at:
The War Department did not compile military service records for those who served in the Regular Army. A register of enlistments is available online, see US Army Enlistments, 1798-1914.
The National Archives also maintains a textual record, entitled "Regular Army Enlistment Papers, 1798–1894" (Record Group 94, entry 91). This series is arranged alphabetically by name of soldier and generally shows the soldier's name, place of enlistment, date, by whom enlisted, age, place of birth, occupation, personal description, regimental assignment, and certifications of the examining surgeon and recruiting officer. Soldiers usually have multiple enlistment papers if they served two or more enlistments.
- Military Records: War of 1812 Muster Rolls. (Orem, Utah: Ancester Pub., c2000). FHL CD-ROM no. 223. This CD can be viewed in the Salt Lake City Family History Library.
- Fold3, War of 1812 Discharge Certificates Lists Units, Subunits, Company and Detachment Commanders, Soldiers by name and by unit.
The War Department did not maintain or compile personnel files for Regular Army officers until 1863.
The "Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army..." by Francis B. Heitman lists Regular Army and volunteer officers from 1789 to 1903 in two volumes giving a brief history of the officers service and awards received. Casualties (including prisoners of war) from 1789 to 1902 are also listed as well as a chronological list of battles, actions, etc., in which troops of the Regular Army have participated.
Also, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1805–1821, National Archives Microfilm Publication M566.
"Commissioned Officers in the War of 1812, Abrell to Zurmette" (Frankfort, Kentucky, Kentucky Historical Society, 1966) (FHL film 482878)
Additional information about Regular Army enlisted men and officers may be found in post and unit returns. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800–1916, National Archives Microfilm Publication M617 (FHL films 1663081-1663180). Returns generally show units stationed at the post and their strength, the names and duties of officers, the number of officers present and absent, and a record of events.
The National Archives also maintains a microfilm publication (M1856), entitled, "Discharge Certificates and Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Discharge of Soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815" (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94). These records relate solely to the discharge of soldiers from the regular army; no militiamen or volunteers are included, although several civilians are mentioned. Records include discharge certificates and miscellaneous other materials relating to the discharge of soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815. Most of the over 2,200 discharges are for the period 1812-15, although a few date from the 1790s.
Begin your research on navy enlisted men by looking in the pension files. A pension file may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the sailor served. Pensions usually provide the most genealogical information.
When beginning research on U.S. Navy officers, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, edited by Edward W. Callahan.
Also, consult the pension files, which may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the officer served.
Next consult the abstacts of service; see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers ("Records of Officers"), 1798–1893, National Archives Microfilm Publication M330 (FHL films 1445969-1445987).
Internet sites with information about officers:
- Naval History and Heritage Command, Officers of American Naval Victories in the War of 1812.
- Naval History and Heritage Command, Officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the War of 1812.
Navy Deck Logs
U.S. Navy deck logs typically provide information on a ship's performance and location, weather conditions, personnel (names of officers, assignments, transfers, desertions, deaths, injuries, and courts-martial), supplies received, and miscellaneous observations. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: List of Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Miscellaneous Units, 1801–1947, Special List (National Archives): no 44.
Generally, service records for enlisted marines who separated from service prior to 1905 are held at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C. Service records or "case files" of enlisted marines at the National Archives are found in Record Group 127, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, entry 76. Service records may include enlistment and reenlistment papers, descriptive lists, conduct records, notice of discharge, military history, and the issuance of campaign badges and awards. These records are arranged chronologically by year of enlistment or latest reenlistment, thereunder alphabetically by initial letter of surname of enlisted man, and thereunder chronologically by date of enlistment or reenlistment. If the enlistment date is unknown, researchers can use the card index found in RG 127, entry 75, Alphabetical Card List of Enlisted Men of the Marine Corps, 1798–1941.
To track a marine's service, the National Archives maintains a microfilm publication (T1118), entitled: "Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798–1902." The muster rolls, for this period, are arranged chronologically by year and month, and thereunder by post, station, ship detachment, or unit. There are indexes in most volumes to the names of ships, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows name of ship, station, or unit and provides name of officer or enlisted man, rank, date of enlistment or reenlistment, and if applicable, date of desertion or apprehension, sentence of court-martial (and the offense), injuries sustained or illness and type of treatment, and date of death or discharge. Depending on the date, the researcher must know the vessel on which the marine served, the unit in which he served, or duty station.
To verify the service of a marine officer, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: "List of officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900 : comprising a complete register of all present and former commissioned, warranted, and appointed officers of the United States Navy and of the Marine Corps, regular and volunteer," edited by Edward W. Callahan.
The National Archives has records relating to the Coast Guard and its predecessor agencies: the Lighthouse Service, Revenue Cutter Service, and the Lifesaving Service. These records are found in Record Group 26, Records of the U.S. Coast Guard.
For records relating to officers of the Revenue Cutter Service, the National Archives series, "Records of Officer Personnel, compiled 1797-1919," provides dates of service, citations to pertinent correspondence, and charges. This series is indexed alphabetically by name of officer.
The National Archives also maintains a series entitled, "Lists of Commissions of Revenue Cutter Officers, compiled 1791 - 1910," which is arranged chronologically as commissions were issued.