Your Family Legacy

Researching Civil War Veterans

by: Your Family Legacy

Did you have ancestors in this country during the last half of the 1800s? If so, there is a very good chance that you have a U. S. Civil War veteran in your family tree. Any of your "able-bodied" male ancestors during that time period could have been in one of the services. In fact, you may find that more then one ancestor served - we found seven... so far. Here are some tips on finding if they served, about their experiences, and preserving the information.

  1. Start with your library's local history or genealogy section. Many states and counties compiled lists of those who served from that area. The National Archives has alphabetical lists of pension records on microfilm which may help you determine if your ancestor served. See Microfilm Publication T288 General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (more about this can be found at

  2. The state's Adjutant General's office (could be called the Office of Military Affairs in some states) maintains historical records. Contact them to see if they have a record of your ancestor's service. For example, Ohio's office web site can be found at

  3. Once you ascertain that you have a veteran, get their military and pension records from the National Archives. Paper copies of these records can be ordered by mail using one NATF Form 80 for each soldier and each type of file. You can obtain the Form 80 by providing your name and mailing address to Be sure to specify "Form 80" and the number of forms you need.

    These records contain a plethora of information, so by all means, send away for them. The military file will have the enlistment form and service record while the pension file contains family and health information. Note that pension records for Confederate veterans must be obtained from the state from which they served as pensions for themwere granted by state governments, not federal.

  4. Get information about your ancestor's regiment by checking out "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies". This is a 69 volume set that you'll have to review at a library. It contains the official letters and reports from the war.

  5. Once you have information on your veteran, you might want to create a special section of your heritage album about his service, or maybe an entire album if you have several veterans. Include a title page that identifies the Civil War theme and use classic, soft colors for your paper, such as moss, hunter green, cream or black. Special patterned paper for black and white photos would also look nice. Be sure to preserve and protect photos or documents you may have. (Check out the other tips on the "YFL Tips & More" page to learn more.)

Some related links:
The oldest web site on the Civil War:

Historical information:

A variety of resources can be found at the United States Civil War center:

Look for pictures at:

You might also get the book:
Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors

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Additional articles:

  • Researching Civil War Veterans
  • Researching Ancestors' Occupations
  • Researching Marriages
  • Interviewing Relatives
  • Photo Preservation
  • Family Traditions
  • Heritage Album Ideas

    Your Family Legacy was started with a desire to serve both the family tree researcher and scrapbooker. Being family researchers, they know that there are many rewards and benefits in researching and preserving your family history.

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