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.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Adjutant General’s Office. “United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798-1913.” NARA M233. National Archives and Records Administrtion, Washington, D.C.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Record Content

The following information is generally found in these records:

United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army (10-0709) DGS 4719503 291.jpg
  • 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 begin your search you will need to know the name of the soldier and other identifying information such as birth date an place.

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor. If you are unable to find your ancestor check for variant spellings of the names as well as alias names.

Using the Information

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.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 the 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 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 Cite FamilySearch Collections

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"United States. Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914," database and digital images FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VRQ6-MRH accessed 25 April 2012). entry for George W. Custer, 20 Jan 1887 Adjutant General's Office, Washington D.C., United States. NARA M233. National Archives and Records Administrtion, Washington, D.C. FHL film # 1319377, Salt Lake City, Utah.