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Beginning Your Research: Guides and Finding Aids

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!


Important! The core collections of Revolutionary War records are at the U. S. National Archives [NARA]. The Archives assigns publication or microfilm numbers to its collections, for example, M804, M246. These collections or portions of them may be found in online digital sites, in books, or in articles. Often the source does not use the original NARA title. Always note which NARA number the particular records you are looking at were taken from to avoid duplicate search efforts and to know which sources you have not yet seen.

Order a soldier's records from the National Archives by going to this page and down to the section "Obtaining Copies of Military Service Records".
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Online Record Collections

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition is available in all library branches. Search in Catalog by “Title” or “Filter by Collection" for "Military".

  • “Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783" (muster rolls and other documents) M246.
  • “Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records, 1775-1783” M880 and M881
  • “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900” M804.
  • "U.S., Revolutionary War Pensioners, 1801-1815, 1818-1872" contains Treasury Dept. records for pension payments made semiannually.
  • “North Carolina and Tennessee, Revolutionary War Land Warrants, 1783-1843”
  • "U.S., Black and Indigenous Soldiers in the American Revolution, 1775-1783"

Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card

  • “United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783” (Indexed, you can search and browse images). M246.
  • “United States Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783” (Indexed and searchable; does include images). M881.
  • “United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900” (Indexed and searchable; does include entire images). M804.
  • “Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864” (Indexed, searchable images). RG 217
  • “Final Revolutionary War Pension Payment Vouchers: Georgia” (Indexed, searchable images). M1746
Heritage Quest

HeritageQuest includes images of microfilm M804, "Revolutionary Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files", which contains all the papers in the files. Selected pages will appear first in the file and then the non-selected pages.
Go to: Log into NCLive with your library card

Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Applications & Rosters

Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters provide transcriptions for pension applications filed by Revolutionary War Soldiers.
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National Archives
Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, ca. 1800–ca. 1912

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List of Free African Americans in the Revolution:  Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware

List of Free African Americans in the Revolution by Paul Heinegg "Over 420 African Americans who were born free during the colonial period served in the Revolution from Virginia. Another 400 who descended from free-born colonial families served from North Carolina, 40 from South Carolina, 60 from Maryland, and 17 from Delaware."
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Also family history of colonial militia and French and Indian War soldiers by Paul Heinegg. "There were over 75 free African Americans in colonial militias and French and Indian Wars in Virginia, North and South Carolina." 
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North Carolina Digital Collections

The Revolutionary War Era digital collection is comprised of selected documents from the government and private collections of the State Archives of North Carolina that highlight this important time in history.
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Troop Returns collection includes lists, returns, records of prisoners, and records of draftees, from 1747 to 1893. The majority of records are from the Revolutionary War North Carolina Continental Line.
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South Carolina Digital Collections

Search under Series and then select S108092 Accounts Audited Of Claims Growing Out Of The American Revolution. All documents pertaining to the same name (not individual) are contained in each file.
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Accounts audited of revolutionary claims against South Carolina. Edited by A. S. Salley, secretary of the Historical commission of South Carolina.
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Stub Entries to Indents Issued in Payment of Claims Against South Carolina Growing Out of the Revolution South Carolina. Treasury, Alexander Samuel Salley, Wylma Anne Wates Historical Commission of South Carolina, 1915. Book B, Book I, Book L - N, Books O - Q, Book R - T, Books U - W, Book X Part 1 and Part 2.

American Revolution in South Carolina. Materials contained in the collection include the personal papers of soldiers, statesmen, merchants, planters, and diplomats, and prints, paintings and other artwork drawn from the extensive visual image archive of the South Caroliniana Library.
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Virginia Digital Collections

Revolutionary War Virginia State Pensions – Index to and scanned images of the surviving records that veterans and their widows presented to the county courts to certify their eligibility for pension.
Revolutionary War Bounty Land Claims – "The collection consists of images of application files for military bounty land. Related bounty land certificate files are indexed, but not imaged. Following a 1779 legislative act, the state offered bounty lands for Revolutionary War military service. To qualify, a Virginia soldier or sailor had to serve at least three years continuously in the Continental or state forces. No bounty land was given by the state for militia service."
Revolutionary War Public Service Claims Index – "This is an index to the reimbursement claims submitted by Virginia residents for goods and services supplied to the Militia, State Line, and Continental troops during the Revolutionary War. These were not payments for military service. Claim records may include certificates, county court booklets and lists, rejected claims lists, and the claim commissioners account books."
Dunmore's War (Virginia Payrolls/Public Service Claims, 1775) – Index and images of the payrolls and muster rolls from Dunmore's War, a conflict between the Colony of Virginia and the Native Americans of the Ohio Valley.
LVA Discovery Search Page Go to:


Virginia Revolutionary War Warrants

The Revolutionary War Warrants database indexes 4,748 Virginia Revolutionary Warrants. There are 121 duplicate numbers, therefore the warrants range in number from one to 4,627. Before June 1, 1792, Kentucky was part of Virginia. A Resolution passed by the Virginia General Assembly dated December 19, 1778, proposed the location of the Military District. After separating from Virginia, the Kentucky General Assembly opened the military district to settlers meeting age and residency requirements.
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Carolina Revolutionary War Soldiers

  • 369.135 DAU NCC. Roster of soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution... (pub. 1932).
    • Includes a list of soldiers from Gaston County in the Battle of Kings Mountain on pages 488 - 489.
    • Available online. Go to:
    • Also Available in Ancestry Library Edition (under "North Carolina Revolutionary War Soldiers") and HeritageQuest.
    • Contains incomplete and faulty list of NC bounty land warrants. Instead, consult Bockstruck's Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments, 973.34 BOC NCC.
  • 369.135 DAU NCC.  Pierce's register : Seventeenth report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
    • Index of certificates of payments due for service issued to officers and soldiers of the Continental Army or "American Army." Includes North Carolina.
  • 929.3 KEA NCC. Abstracts of letters of resignations of militia officers in North Carolina, 1779-1840 / compiled and abstracted by Timothy Kearney.
  • 929.3 NOR NCC. Delamar transcripts : transcriptions of petitions to the General Assembly of North Carolina relating to Revolutionary War, by the North Carolina Genealogical Society.
  • 929.3 REV NCC. Revolutionary War Gravesites of Soldiers, Patriots and Ancestors Buried in North Carolina.
  • 929.3 ROS NCC. Roster of the Continental Line from North Carolina, 1783.
  • 929.373 CLA NCC (3 vol.). Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War.
  • 929.3756 GRU NCC North Carolina in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians
  • 929.3757 GRU NCC South Carolina in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians.
  • 929.3757 SOU NCC Copy of the original index book showing the Revolutionary claims filed in South Carolina between August 20, 1783 and August 31, 1786, South Carolina. State Auditor.
  • 929.4 DIX NCC. Revolutionary Soldiers and Patriots of Gaston County, North Carolina.
  • 973.3 AND NCC South Carolina Revolutionary War indents : a schedule by John Lennell Andrews, Jr.
  • 973.3 NOR NCC. North Carolina records of the soldiers in the Revolutionary War: Official state records. (Offical state record containing the names and dates of soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, along with some letters and court documents)
  • 973.314 D NCC. The Loyalists in North Carolina during the Revolution.
  • 973.34 BOC NCC. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments, by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck.
  • North Carolina in the Revolutionary War
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Books by Bobby Gilmer Moss
  • 973.345 MOS NCC. African-American Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.
  • 973.345 MOS NCC. African-American Patriots in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.
  • 973.314 MOS NCC. The Loyalists in the Siege of Fort Ninety Six
  • 929.3 MOS NCC. The Patriots at Kings Mountain.
  • 929.3 MOS NCC. The Patriots at the Cowpens.
  • 973.3 MOS NCC The Patriots in the Snow Campaign, 1775 : first land battle of the American Revolution in South Carolina.
  • 973.345 MOS NCC Roster of the Patriots in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge
  • 929.3 M NCC. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution.
  • 973.314 MOS NCC. Roster of the Loyalists in the Battle of Kings Mountain.
  • 973.341 MOS NCC. Roster of the Loyalists in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.
Books by Patrick O'Kelley
  • 973.3 OKE NCC. Be Cool and Do Mischief: Francis Marion's Orderly Book 1775-1782.
  • 973.33 OKE NCC. "Nothing but blood and slaughter": Military Operations and Order of Battle of the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas.
    v. 1. 1771-1779 -- v. 2. 1780 -- v. 3. 1781 -- v. 4. 1782.

Daughters of the American Revolution

Pension Rolls

Also See Online Record Collections for online pension records.

  • Follow the Money: Tracking Revolutionary War Army Pension Payments". National Archives.
    Go to:
  • Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters provide transcriptions for pension applications filed by Revolutionary War Soldiers.
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  • 929.1 IND NCC. Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications in the National Archives (rev. ed, 1976).
    • This is index of National Archives document M804, which is also available as free online index at
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  • 929.1 N NCC. North Carolinian, the Quarterly Journal of Genealogy and History, Vol. VI No. 2 (June 1960: 677-683) A 1790 Listing; An 1807 List. Also Available Online at Family Search
  • 929.1 NGS NCC. "Revolutionary War Pension Files: An Introduction." NGS News-Magazine. Vol. 32 No. 2 (Apr/Jun 2006): Pages 34 - 37.
  • 929.373 CLA NCC. The pension lists of 1792-1795: with other Revolutionary War pension records. Murtie June Clark.
  • 929.4 C NCC. A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Service. Taken in 1840.
    • Also available in Ancestry Library Edition under "Revolutionary War Pensioner Census, 1841".
    • Also available for free online at
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  • 929.4 REV NCC. Revolutionary Pensioners: A Transcript of the Pension List of the United States for 1813.
    • Also available in Ancestry Library Edition under "Revolutionary War Pension Index".
    • Also available for free online at
      Go to:
  • 929.4 U NCC. Message from the President of the United States... [Revolutionary pensioners of 1818.].
  • 973.3 U NCC. Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Pensions, with an Added Index to States (Reprint of the 1852 ed.).
    • Also available in Ancestry Library Edition under "American Revolutionary War Rejected Pensions".
  • 973.34 BOC NCC. Revolutionary war pensions awarded by state governments 1775-1874, the general and federal governments prior to 1814, and by private acts of Congress to 1905. Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck.
  • 973.34 PEN NCC. Pension roll of 1835. 4 vols.
  • 973.3456 NOR NCC. North Carolina Revolutionary pensioners under the acts of 1818 & 1832: includes some of their applications for these pensions.
  • The Pension List of 1820. Letter from the Secretary of War transmitting a report of the names, rank, and line of every person placed on the pension list, in pursuance of the Act of the 18th March, 1818. January 20, 1820.
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Also See Online Record Collections for online pension records.

North Carolina Highway Historical Markers

"Explore North Carolina Highway Historical Markers related to the American Revolution to learn about the different people, places, and events that have played a role in shaping our past." A new statewide map of North Carolina Revolutionary War era highway historical markers that was created as part of America 250NC.

North Carolina Highway Historical Markers: The American Revolution

Southern Revolutionary War Institute

"The institute is the only center exclusively dedicated to the study of the Revolution in the Southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. Although the general scope of the Institute is the entire Southern Campaign, it has a particular focus on the Revolutionary War in the Carolina backcountry."

Historical Center of 
York County 

210 E Jefferson St.
York, SC 29745

Hours & Admission:

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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Revolutionary Places to Visit

The American Revolution 1775 - 1783. Learn more about North Carolina Colonial and Revolutionary war history or find a place to visit by exploring our interactive map! 

For More Information


Search our Catalog by Subject for:
American Loyalists
Pensions, Military
Soldiers -- Revolution, 1775-1783
United States--History--Revolution
[name of state]--History--Revolution




Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Finding Your Revolutionary War Ancestor
Revised: 17 November 2023

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