Not sure if you have a Civil War ancestor, or need to discover more detail? Here's a quick guide to the best resources for finding your Civil War roots.
Not sure if you have a
Civil War ancestor, or need to discover more detail? Here's a quick
guide to the best resources for finding your Civil War roots:
? Your first step should be to try to find what regiment your ancestor was in. The best sources for this are the 39-volume Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 and the 16-volume Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865,
both by Janet B. Hewett, available in major libraries. For the Union
volumes, you'll need to know the state in which your ancestor might
have joined the military; don't forget that regiments were often formed
regionally, so men from Indiana might have joined an Ohio regiment, for
example. Check neighboring states if you're not sure. These records are
being put online at the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System <www.itd.nps.gov/cwss>, an ongoing project administered by the National Parks System. Five states' rosters have been computerized to date.
Once you know your ancestor's regiment, you can learn a lot more from
regimental histories. Ask if your library has the microfiche of “Civil
War Unit Histories” and “Regimental Histories of the American Civil
War.” You may also find firsthand reports of your ancestor's unit in
War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the
Union and Confederate Armies (known as the “OR” for “Official Records”)
or its companion naval series.