Archive for category Military Records

Military Records: Sources for Service Records

Many indexes to records have been published on microfilm or on the Web. Original records (up to 1916) are at the National Archives (NARA) unless otherwise listed. Note: NARA uses the prefix “M” for microfilmed sets of records.

For more NARA microfilm records, see the Microfilm Catalog.

Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. The microfilm is indexed by M860.

  • National Archives
  • Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military> U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls
  • $

General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers. Indexes microfilm M881.

  • National Archives

Revolutionary War Rolls 1775- 1783.

  • National Archives
  • Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military> U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls
  • $

Index to the Complied Military Service Records for the Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812.

  • National Archives
  • Family History Library

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS).

  • Website (National Park Service)
  • Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military> U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865

Compiled from several National Archives indexes to Compiled Military Service Records. Contains 6.3 million soldier records. Both Union and Confederate.  Includes U.S. Colored Troops. Serves as an index to the military service records.  Also contains information about battlefields, cemeteries, and regiments. Note: Information is brief.

U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles.

  • Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military> U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles

A compilation of several Civil war resources, such as compiled service records indexes, histories of the war, battles, and regiments, rolls of honors, cemetery records and more. Includes standard works: Dyer’s Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Heitman’s Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, and the Official Records of the War of Rebellion (OR). Note: this database is still being compiled.

M242, 253, 263-64, 383, 385-94, 507, 532-59, 589, 636
Civil War Service Records.

  • Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military> Civil War Service Records

Civil War Compiled Military Service Records, for Union and Confederate troops.

M1801, M1817-M1824, M1898, and M1992
U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865.

M537 (Delaware only)
Index to Compiled Service Records for Union Army Volunteers — Delaware. 4 rolls of microfilm.

  • Morris Library Microfilm no. 5697
  • Delaware Public Archives
  • National Archives
  • For other states, see Ancestry Library Edition or National Archives microfilm catalog

General Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War with Spain.

  • National Archives
  • Family History Library

The service records have not been filmed and are only available at the National Archives.

General Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Philippine Insurrection.

  • National Archives
  • Family History Library

The service records have not been filmed and are only available at the National Archives.

More Information

Portal: United States Military Records. Family Search Research Wiki


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Terminology for Military Records

Bounty Lands — grants of land issued to veterans in return for military service. Issued from the time of the Revolutionary War through 1855.

Bounty Land Warrants — Veteran had to apply for a warrant and then use the warrant to apply for a land “patent.” The land patent is the document which granted him ownership of the land. Applications for warrants contain similar information to applications for Pensions. The applicant had to submit proof of identity and military service.

See: Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants (

Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) — records compiled from other sources, such as muster rolls, returns, and pay vouchers.  Record consists of an envelope (“jacket”) containing card abstracts of the sources. Typically includes rank, unit, basic biographical information, medical information, dates mustered in and mustered out. Compiled for volunteers only.

Muster — to call troops together, as for an inspection. Also used as a noun to mean the group that is assembled.

Muster in — to enlist
Muster out — to be discharged

Muster Roll — a record of the members of a company at a particular time. Includes who was present or absent. Includes other information as appropriate, such as who was sick, promoted, or discharged.

Pension — payment awarded to veterans. Laws about payments and who qualifies have changed dramatically through the years. Some veterans or claimants applied for Bounty Land instead of a pension.

Pension payment records — typically a ledger with payment notations. Contains very little genealogical information.

Pension Application records — to qualify for a pension, the claimant had to document identity and service. Information submitted may include birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, narratives of events in service, witness narratives or depositions, discharge papers, family letters, or other documentation.  Claimant may be veteran, widow, or heirs. A rich source of genealogical information on an ancestor and sometimes on a relative of an ancestor.

Records at National Archives cover 1775 to 1916.

For Revolutionary War and War of 1812, many bounty land application files have been combined with pension files.

Returns — monthly records of military organizations. The returns report the stations of companies, names of company commanders, unit strength, including men present, absent, sick, on extra duty or daily duty, and in arrest or confinement.

“Old War” series/records — name given to wars after the Revolutionary War and before the Civil War. Includes: War of 1812, Indian Wars, and Mexican War.

USCT — United States Colored Troops. Name used for African-American Soldiers who served in the Union Volunteer forces in the Civil War.

Volunteers or regular army


Regular — regular army authorized in 1776. Military service records (CMSR) not compiled for Regular Army personnel.

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Military Records in Ancestry

A sample of military information available in Ancestry Library Edition.

American Civil War Battle Summaries
American Civil War General Officers
American Civil War Regiments
American Civil War Soldiers
American Revolutionary War Rejected Pensions
American Soldiers of World War I
Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865
Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles
Confederate Applications for Presidential Pardons, 1865-1867
Confederate Service Records, 1861-1865
Confederate States Field Officers
General Photographs of the Bureau of Ships, 1914-1946
Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903
Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II
Korean War Casualties, 1950-1957
Korean War Prisoners of War, 1950-1954
Muster and Pay Rolls of the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783: Miscellaneous Records
National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers
Officers of the Continental and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, 1775-1900
Official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865
Returns from Regular Army Regiments, 1821-1916
Revolutionary War Courts-Martial
Revolutionary War Officers
Revolutionary War Pension Index
Revolutionary War Pensioner Census, 1841
U.S. Army Historical Register, 1789-1903, Vol. 1
U.S. Army Historical Register, 1789-1903, Vol. 2
U.S. Army Indian Campaign Service Records Index, 1815-1858
U.S. Army Personnel and Dependent Casualties, 1961-1981
U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914
U.S. Civil War Jewish-American Veterans, 1861-1865
U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865
U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865
U.S. Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records, 1775-1783
U.S. Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904
U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1940
U.S. Military and Naval Academy Registers, 1805-1908
U.S. Military Burial Registers, 1768-1921
U.S. Military Records, 1925: Official National Guard Register
U.S. Military: Great White Fleet (Atlantic Fleet bound for the Pacific, 16 December 1907)
U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938
U.S. Naval Deaths, World War I
U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1950-1988
U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861-1910
U.S. Pensioners, 1818-1872
U.S. Revolutionary War Miscellaneous Records (Manuscript File), 1775-1790s
U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945
U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006
U.S. War and Conflict Images, 1765-1970
U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858
U.S. World War I Mothers’ Pilgrimage, 1930
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
U.S. WWII Military Personnel Missing In Action or Lost At Sea, 1941-1946
Vietnam War, Awards and Decorations of Honor, 1965-1972
Vietnam War, Casualties Returned Alive, 1962-1979
Vietnam War: U.S. Military Casualties, 1956-1998
War of 1812 Papers, 1789-1815
War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815
War of 1812 Service Records
War of 1812, Prisoner of War Records, 1812-1815
War of the Rebellion
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas
World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945
World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946
World War II Young American Patriots, 1941-1945
WWI Civilian Draft Registrations
WWI, WWII, and Korean War Casualty Listings
WWII U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Muster Rolls, 1939-1949
WWII United News Newsreels, 1942-1946
Delaware Pensioners, 1835

For a complete list, go to Ancestry Library Edition. Go to Search> Military>

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