United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army (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 Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798-1913 .

Collection Time Period

The records in this collection cover the time period 1798 to 1913.

Record Description

The collection consists of registers and index of men that enlisted in the army between 1798 and 1913. The registers are from the Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, DC NARA M233. The records are arranged chronologically, then by the first letter of the surname.

Record Content

United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army (10-0709) DGS 4719503 291.jpg
The following information is generally found in these records:
  • Name of enlistee
  • Age at time of enlistment
  • Birthplace
  • Date of enlistment
  • Enlistment place
  • Occupation
  • Physical description (eye color, hair color, complexion, and height)
  • Rank, company, and regiment
  • Date and cause of discharge

How to Use the Record

To search for your ancestors in the index you will need to know their full names. Check the index for the surname and then the given name. 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. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

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:

  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • 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.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records.

You may also find these search tips helpful:

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Record History

The Regular Army is comprised of career soldiers and is maintained through peacetime. Therefore, this database will not usually include individuals who enlisted as part of a reserve or during wartime for limited periods of time, or in a military unit raised by a state. Data in these registers was compiled from a variety of other military records, including enlistment papers, muster rolls, and unit records.

Why this Record Was Created

These records were created as a permanent record of those individuals who enlisted in the Army.

Record Reliability

The records are generally reliable although some ages may have been falsified.

Related Websites


Related Wiki Articles

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 also 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 keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

"United States. Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914," FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 8 June 2011). entry for Robert J Cook, enlisted February 4, 1911; citing Enlistment Records, 127, 1909-1912, C-D, Image 78, number 47-6; Adjutant General's Office, Washington D.C., United States.

Sources of Information for This Collection

“United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798-1913,” images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from the Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, D.C. NARA M233. FHL microfilm, 81 reels, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.