|Seaching Your Civil War Ancestor|
|We started with only a few short stories of verbal family history and also a few written in a few family histories. At Gettysburg National Battlefield, a free service was offered to check a database of civil war soldiers. My great great grandfather was listed. At that time, few records were online to the public. Later we were able to find the Compiled Service Records of our soldiers, we were then able to find documents, and found out that some of the family stories are true, some at least partially true. And some stories, well, no one knows if true.
The National Park Service, with voluteers, has created a searchable database of soldier names in the Compiled Service Records. This index wasn't available when we started.
Here is a quick way to check and find your ancestor in the Civil War. The surname could be spelled different ways.
Step One: Find Your Soldier:
The War Department undertook listing all soldiers that were members of USA or CSA forces. Each time a name was nemtioned in a muster or pow list, or whatever, it was noted on a small card with the soldiers name. These cards were arranged by regiment by alphabetical order. If the soldier served in more than one organization, it is listed in each. So, one needs to know the regiment to find a soldier's "Compiled Service Record" at the National Archives. Fortunately there is a alphabetical list of names which shows the regiment and is an index to the CSR. And this index to the CSR is online!
It can be searched at NPS "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors" http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/
In the right side, click on "Soldiers", and then search using last name, Union or Confederate, and State. This will give you a list of names and regiment. Click on the name for a bit more info, sometimes company, there could be more in his CSR.
But who is he?
Also, on the list of names searched, click on the regiment, which will show a short regimental history. Also can link to list of all soldiers in this regiment. Where the company was formed and operated are clues to who your soldier could be, as are kin or neighbors also enlisted in the regiment, and the officers that commanded. (Hint: Genealogy is the secret decoder ring )
If you then have a name and the regiment, the next step is....
Step Two: Find data by searching regimental histories, dairies, memoirs, battles, archive documents, genealogical records....
Step Three: Identify Your Soldier, service record, & genealogy
and the beginning of our searches in dusty libraries, on battlefields, and cemetaries, sometimes in their footsteps....