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     A Guide to Research Resources

Union Service Records

Compiled Military Service Records

When searching for military information on ancestors that served in the Union Army, the best place to start is with the compiled military service records: A compiled military service record consists of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from original records including muster rolls, regimental returns, and medical and prison registers. These cards typically provide enlistment information, term of service, rank, and may include age, physical description, place of birth, place of residence and civilian occupation. Records may also contain references to wounds, hospitalization, court-martials and death. Compiled military service records exist for nearly all soldiers who served in the Union Army, but some are more complete than others. Because compiled military service records are abstracted from the records of an individual soldier or his unit, they are only as complete as the surviving original records. Also, a soldier may have served in a state militia unit that was never called into service by the Federal government. Consult state archives for records of state or local militias or National Guard units that were not federalized.

Begin your search by consulting the appropriate name indexes on National Archives microfilm. Unlike the Confederate service records, there is no overall general name index for Union soldiers. However, there are microfilmed indexes for each state. The index cards are arranged alphabetically by surname and show the soldier's name, rank, and the unit or units in which he served. There are also cross-references to names that appear in the records under various spellings. Some of the Union records have been microfilmed including; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia, and some of the United States Colored Troops. If the compiled military service records have not been reproduced on microfilm, researchers may request to see the original records at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

Ordering Information:
To order the service record directly from the National Archives, click here.
For faster service, contact a professional researcher. For a list of independent researchers who work at the DC facility, click here.

Want to see what's available online?
Civil War Service Records
at Ancestry.com

Search Military Records - Fold3

Helpful Publications:
National Archives' Microfilm Resources for Research: A Comprehensive Catalog for a list of microfilmed name indexes and compiled service records.

Military Service Records: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications

Both publications are available for purchase from the National Archives.

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