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United States, Revolutionary War Rolls (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
This article describes a collection of records at
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Muster and Pay Rolls
Record Group RG 93: War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records
Collection years 1775-1783
Microfilm Publication M246. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. 138 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 602384 422
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 collection contains an index for and images of muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other personnel, pay, and supply records of the American Army during the Revolutionary War. The main function of the many Revolutionary War rolls kept by the American Army was to provide basic information about the identities, numbers, condition, equipment, and pay status of the men and units of the Army to make administration easier. This collection was obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from microfilm publication M246 which is part of Record Group 93 War Department Collection of Revolutionary War Records. The collection is arranged by type of service, military unit, and jacket or folder number. The microfilm publication pamphlet may be downloaded from NARA’s Microfilm Catalog.

General Information about Revolutionary War Records[edit | edit source]

After the French and Indian war ended 1773, the British Parliament imposed a series of taxes on their American colonies in an attempt to recover some of the cost of the war, to have the colonies pay for their own defense, and to assert authority over the colonies. The taxes were not well received by the colonists, who felt that as they lacked representation in the Parliament, their rights as Englishmen were being violated and the taxes were unlawful. The colonists attempted to gain representation in the British Parliament without success. When gaining representation failed each colony began to form their own parliaments or governments. These colonial government bodies would then overturn British laws that they felt were unlawful and created an undue burden. In response, Britain sent in more soldiers, and the colonies were occupied by a standing army. The already overburdened colonists were required to feed and clothe the army. This series of events led to the outbreak of war on April 19, 1775. The colonists’ original aim was to restore their rights as Englishmen; however, by early 1776 the idea that the American Revolution was a bid for independence began to form and take root, and by July the Colonists had declared their independence from the rule of the British Empire.

In 1775, when war seemed like a possibility, a congress was formed with delegates from all 13 original colonies. This congress, the Continental Congress, was a loose confederation of the colonies soon to become states. As part of their duties, the Continental Congress formed an army originally of enlisted men of short duration, but over the course of the war became a standing army of both enlisted men and conscripts, soldiers who were drafted into service. In addition to the Continental Army formed by the Congress, states, counties, and towns formed militias who fought and protected around their local area or for with the Continental Army. Revolutionary War records are the enlistment or muster roles both for the local militias and the Continental Army, pension files, and bounty land warrants. These records may include information on leave, mustering out or separation from the army, and any pension or benefits received as part of service or upon separation from the army or the militia. Military Rosters and Enlistment or Muster Rolls provide a record of when a soldier or sailor served, where they served, and for how long. They also provide details of who they served under, rank, promotion, leave information, and when their service ended. These records tell where a soldier or sailor lived and where the enlisted which were not always the same place.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

War Rolls

  • Name of soldier
  • Rank, company, and battalion
  • Terms of service
  • If service was in the field
  • Event place
  • Age or estimated birth year
  • Date of enlistment
  • Possible injuries, illness, hospitalization, or furloughs

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

Coverage Table[edit | edit source]

The United States, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 Coverage Table provides information on which regiments are in each image browse folder. Digital file folder numbers and event place information for locating your ancestors can be found in by searching the index then locating the corresponding digital folder or event place on the coverage table which will provide you with correct NARA Roll, Number, Type, Jacket Range information for the image browse folder to view the original record.

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the soldier
  • The state and county of residence
  • The approximate dates of military service
  • Military Unit

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

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

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
Select the NARA Roll Number, Type of Service, Jacket Number Range to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

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?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later
  • Use the age or estimated birth date to determine an approximate birth date to find church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage and death records
  • Use the information in each record to find additional family members in the censuses
  • Use the information found in the record to find land or probate records
  • Repeat this process with additional family member’s records to find more generations of the family
  • Church records were kept years before counties began keeping records. They are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. You could browse through the original record collection at the [] which may help you find who you are looking for or provide additional leads
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

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:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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