United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States, Muster Rolls of the United States Marine Corps, 1798-1892 .

Record Description

This collection consists of images of muster rolls of the United States Marine Corps located at the National Archives. The rolls are arranged chronologically by month, then by post, station, or ship.

The Continental Marines were founded in 1775 to aid the original 13 colonies in their fight for independence. The Marine Corps was created in 1798. It was part of the Navy Department from 1834 until 1952, when it became a distinct branch of the military. 

During the Civil War, muster rolls grew to include personal information including: 

  • Nativity (state or country) 
  • Date and place joined 
  • Age when enlisted  
  • Date and place mustered in 
  • Place and date mustered out

Records of Marine Corps soldiers and officers are available at the National Archives in Record Group 127 for the years 1798 to 1904.

This collection covers the years 1798 through 1892. 

Muster rolls were used to record an idividual's service and pay.

These records are generally accurate.

For a list of records by dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798-1892" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication T1118. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Muster Roll volumes include indexes to ship names, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows:

United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps DGS 5013506 189.jpg
  • Name of officer or enlisted man
  • Rank and unit in which served
  • Date of enlistment
  • Date of re-enlistment
  • Name of ship
  • Notes regarding promotions, etc.

In some cases, muster rolls also contain the following:

United States, Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps DGS 5013506 187.jpg
  • Injuries or illness and type of treatment
  • Date of death or discharge
  • Date of desertion
  • Date of apprehension
  • Date of court martial
  • Sentence of court-martial

How to Use the Record

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Years, Month Range"category which takes you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

These records are a valuable source of information for those wishing to learn more about ancestors who served in the Marines, particularly if only limited military information is known. To search for your ancestors you will need to know their full names. It is also helpful to know their approximate dates of service and the vessels served on.

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. Comparing the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors will help you determine if you have found the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

If your surname is unusual, you may also find it helpful to compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. If the Marine had a common surname, be sure to check all records for the name before deciding which record is correct.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records.

For example:

  • 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.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"United States, Muster Roles of the Marine Corps, 1798-1892"  digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 17 November 2011). r Thomas Burke,  1 September 1865; citing Marine Corps Records, 1865 Jan.-Feb., Image 7; Record Group 127, NARA publication T1118, Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C. United States.