Civil War Records
by Mandy Mathews, Family Historian
When discussing Military records, it is best to list them by war. Each war brought unique documents, enlistment and draft records, as well as pension records. This article will address the most prominent wars with mass records easily accessible. Please note there are many military records available for other wars. There are records existing for the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, and the Mexican – American War. The best known sources for access to these records are the United States National Archives and the LDS Family History Library. Both of these resources have websites available, www.archives.gov and www.familysearch.org respectively. Currently, the records are not available for viewing online from the websites mentioned, but you can obtain information about the records and order copies. The LDS Family History Library has Family History Centers all over the world. If you find records you would like to view, you may request a copy of the microfilm to be sent to the center closest to you.
The next war with mass records available is the Civil War. There are many websites available for searching information from the Civil War. One of particular interest is the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System created by the National Park Service. The web address is: www.itd.nps.gov. There is no charge to search information on the website. You may search regiment histories, enlistment lists, medals of honor, prisoner of war records, and more. The actual documents are not available via the website. It is useful to search this website for information before ordering records from the National Archives because it may save you time and money. The historical information available is excellent for adding information to your family histories or just helping you create a better mental image of what conditions may have been for your ancestor.
There are many, many other websites available for Civil War records. Many states have websites dedicated to war records specific to their state. I encourage you to search the internet and find new websites specific to your research. If you have searched before, please search again. New information presents itself on the web every day.