If you are just beginning to research a Civil War ancestor, a good place to start is Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE). Ancestry LE can be used at Central Library and our branch libraries.
How you get started really depends upon how much you already know. To research a Civil War soldier thoroughly, you should know:
· RESIDENCE in 1861
· SIDE (Union or Confederate)
· REGIMENT NAME or NUMBER
· ARM of SERVICE (Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry)
· DID HE SURVIVE THE WAR?
You can start with just a name, but that can be a difficult row to hoe, especially if his name was relatively common (John Smith, Peter Brown, Michael Kelly, etc.). It’s helpful if you know the state he was living in in 1861, and better yet if you know the town or county.
You can use Ancestry LE’s Card Catalog to locate record collections of interest. The following searches in Search--Card Catalog produce the following results:
· SEARCH--CARD CATALOG--TITLE civil war 42
· SEARCH--CARD CATALOG--TITLE confederate 31
· SEARCH--CARD CATALOG--KEYWORDS 1861 civil war 53
Record collections may cover:
· Both sides
· Union or Confederate army
· Volunteers from a particular state or territory
· African American volunteers
Fifteen states are covered by one or more record collections. Two collections cover African Americans, and one collection each cover women and Jews.
What kinds of records may be available for Civil War soldiers?
· Service records/Muster rolls/Rosters
· Prisoners of war
· Soldiers' Home
Good luck, and happy searching!