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Civil War

Beginning Your Research

A Note about
Many of the sources given here are found on This site is continually adding new files and indexing existing files. Be sure to keep checking for new information!


In our Catalog do a Keyword search for: United States--History--Civil War or [Name of State]--History--Civil War

  • 369.17 CON NCC. The Confederate Veteran. A magazine published from 1893 to 1932. The Gastonia Main Library has a complete set with an index.
    • The N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans also provides free online downloads to The Confederate Veteran.
      • Go to:
  • 929 NOR NCC. Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors: The Research Resources You Need for Success! by David A. Norris.
  • 929.1 NOR NCC. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History (2nd ed.) by Helen Leary should be consulted for information on North Carolina records.
  • The Ancestry Library Edition has over 40 specialized databases you can search related to the Civil War, including lists of soldiers, pension indexes and service records.
  • The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System contains 6.3 million soldiers [Union and Confederate] including 18,000 African-American Union sailors.
    Go to:
  • Fold3 includes “Civil War Service Records” (search images by name or browse by state), “Civil War Pensions Index” (Union), “Southern Claims”, “Confederate Amnesty Papers”, “Confederate Casualty Reports”, and more.
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
  • contains Civil War record collections including service records for both the Confederate and the Union armies, pension records, and more. Filter by collection name with keywords "civil war", "confederate", or "union."
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Carolina Confederates

We recommend that you start with NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS when looking for a North Carolina Confederate:



  • 973.7025 MAN NCC. North Carolina Troops, 1861 - 1865: A Roster by the N.C. Dept. of Archives and History. 20 vols + corrections volume. Service record information for soldiers is included.


Service Records

Prisoner Records

  • 929.3 CON N.C.C Confederate soldiers, sailors, and civilians who died as prisoners of war at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., 1862-1865
  • 973.7 KIR NCC. Dark hours: South Carolina soldiers, sailors, and citizens who were held in Federal prisons during the war for southern independence, 1861-1865. by Randolph W. Kirkland, Jr.
  • United States Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865 (browse images)
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  • U.S., Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 (search by name or browse images) Ancestry Library Edition (available only in the libraries).



Obituaries, Burials

Headstones and Markers

Pre-World War I Era Headstones and Markers

According to the National Cemetery Administration, proof of military service prior to World War I requires detailed primary documentation, such as Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR), extracts from official State files, Federal pension documents or land warrants, to be considered for a Government-furnished headstone or marker.

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Carolina Unionists

  • 973.741 ROS v.2 NCC. The Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861 – 1865, Vol. 2. Includes North Carolina.
  • "1890 Veterans Schedules" are a special census of Union veterans and widows; in some areas, Confederate veterans were listed as well. While often used as a partial substitute for the damaged 1890 federal census, nearly all of the census for states alphabetically before Kentucky have not survived. The existing schedules are available in the Ancestry Library Edition.


         Service Records

  • North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861 – 1865 (Indexed and searchable; does not include images)
    Go to:
  • Fold3 has compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers belonging to units organized for service from the State of North Carolina. NARA M401. (Searchable and browsable. Includes images)
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
    Go to:
  • U.S. Colored Troops Formed in North Carolina includes name, rank, etc.
    Go to:
  • Fold3 has compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers belonging to the 31st through 35th infantry units, organized for service with the United States Colored Troops (USCT). NARA M1992. (Includes 35th US Colored Infantry raised in North Carolina)
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
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  • Fold3 has “Pension applications for service in the US Army between 1861 and 1900, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.” Includes North and South Carolina.
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.


The National Archives and State Repositories

More Resources

  • 929.1 NGS NCC 31. "Tracing African Americans during the Civil War," by Christopher A. Nordmann. NGS NewsMagazine. Vol. 31, No. 3 (July/August/September 2005). Pgs. 19-23.
  • 929.1 NGS NCC 34. "Anatomy of a Union Civil War Pension File," by Prechtel-Kluskens Claire. NGS NewsMagazine. Vol. 34, No. 3 (July-November 2008). Pgs. 43-48.
  • 929.373 DOL NCC. Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era: Online and Published Military or Civilian Name Lists, 1861-1869, and Post-War Veteran Lists by William Dollarhide. Describes national and state resources, on the Internet, in print, and repositories.
  • 973 UNI NCC. The War of the Rebellion : A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Prepared under the Direction of the Secretary of War... 127 vols. Based on Union and Confederate records; might contain a mention of your ancestor, especially if he was an officer. Hint: The "Index" is to the volumes only. Once you get to that volume, check the volume index for individual page numbers. Also note that the "Index" is not complete so also try the online search mentioned below.
  • Library Research Guides:
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  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet – United States – U. S. Military: Civil War includes genealogy links covering everything from African-American soldiers, Civil War cemeteries, prisons, photographs, etc.
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Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Finding Civil War Soldiers
Revised: 11 July 2023

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