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Civil War Records Blog

  • Three month enlistments

    Today, April 12th, is the 160th anniversary of the first shots fired during the Civil War. After South Carolina seceded from the Union, the US Arm...
  • The 54th Massachusetts Infantry

    Have you seen the movie Glory? The movie focused on the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the first regiments in the Civil War made up of African...
  • Where do I find a photo of my Civil War soldier?

    Do you have a photo of your Civil War ancestor in uniform? If so, consider yourself very lucky. Photos of soldiers weren’t taken very often. When ...
  • Civil War injuries

    Was your ancestor seriously injured during the Civil War? There may be a clue on his pension index card that could indicate that.   Look at the ...
  • Civil War aliases

    Why does he have an alias? Occasionally you may find two names on a Civil War pension card, with one listed as an alias. Why is that?   It’s har...
  • Multiple pension index cards for the same soldier

    Did you know there are multiple versions of the same pension index cards out there? Ancestry has one version in their database, and Fold3 has anoth...
  • What do all those red numbers mean?

    What do all those red numbers mean? The short answer is that they are serial numbers. And while the numbers do have meaning behind them, they reall...
  • Civil War draft registrations

    Let’s talk about Civil War draft registration records. These can be great resources, but they can also be one of the most misused sources when it ...
  • Where are the discharge papers?

    You may be surprised to hear that there is no record group at the National Archives that contains the Civil War discharge papers. These discharges...
  • What is a Civil War pension file?

    Most Civil War soldiers were eligible to apply for pension benefits after the war. In some cases they were immediately eligible, but in most cases...
  • Civil War enlistment papers

    Looking for your ancestor’s Civil War enlistment papers? These are kept at the National Archives, but they’d be in one of two record groups there....
  • Civil War soldiers and the Homestead Act

    Another unusual place to find Civil War information about your ancestor at the National Archives would be Homestead records. The Homestead Act was...