Explore Civil War genealogy records and history at these top 10 online destinations. Plus: State-by-state Civil War websites and resources for offline research.
As America commemorates the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, you can explore the history of that conflict -- and your ancestors' roles in it -- in ways those fighting men in blue and gray never could have imagined. Today, you can look up the name and unit of every known Civil War soldier on the web, along with histories of his (and, yes, her, in some cases) regiment. Many of the service records that, until recently, you could get only by writing to the National Archives
can now be downloaded to your desktop. Pension applications, which can solve mysteries
about a Civil War veteran's whole family, are increasingly available without even a trip to the library. And you can walk in Civil War ancestors' battlefield footsteps with animated maps, collections of letters and photographs, and even the complete Official Record of the conflict -- all online.
It's all a far cry technologically from those pioneering Mathew Brady photos of the war (yep, also online -- see the National Archives website) or Abraham Lincoln scribbling his Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope. (Today, we bet Abe would've used an iPad.)