United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army - FamilySearch Historical Records

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United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914
CID1880762
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.

United States
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Record Description
Record Type Military Enlistment Registers
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant' General's Office, 1780s-1917
Collection years 1798-1914
Microfilm Publication M233. Registers of Enlistment in the United States Army, 1798-1914. 81 rolls.
Arrangement Enlistment between 1798-June 30, 1821 are in alphabetical order. Those from July 1821-1914 by date, then the first letter of the surname then by date of enlistment.
National Archives Identifier 575272
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
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National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of registers and index of men that enlisted in the United States Army between 1798 and 1914. The Regular Army is comprised of career soldiers and is maintained through peacetime. The registers are from the Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, DC NARA M233 part of Record Group 94 Records of the Adjutant General's.The records are arranged chronologically, then by the first letter of the surname. The registers will not usually include individuals who enlisted as part of a militia or reserve unit or in a volunteer military unit raised by a state. Data in these registers was compiled from a variety of other military records, including enlistment papers, muster rolls, and unit records.

Key to Abbreviations (See Remarks Column)

  • D.R. Descriptive Rolls
  • Hospl. Ret. Hospital Return
  • I.R. Inspection Return
  • M.R. Muster Roll
  • Mo. Ret. Monthly Return
  • O.B. Order Book
  • Ord. Order
  • Pri. or Pvt. Private
  • Rect. or Rct. Recruit
  • Regtl. Regimental
  • R.R. Recruiting Return
  • S.A. I.R. Semi-annual Inspection Return
  • S.A.M.R. Semi-annual Muster Roll
  • “See Pension Case” is added to records, part or whole of which, were copied at the Pension Office
  • Additional abbreviations will be found if Gardner’s Dictionary of the United States Army. See related digital books in this article

These records were created as a permanent record of those individuals who enlisted in the Army.

The records are generally reliable although some ages may have been falsified. Physical descriptions will generally vary in height and hair color over time due to the observation (not direct measurement) of the officer recording the enlistment.

See also Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens Tracking a Soldier between Enlistment and Discharge: The Example of Private Charles Plucker. National Genealogical Society Quarterly 82 (December 1994): 245 -2554. FHL 973 B2ng

Related National Archives Collections

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

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For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States Registers of Enlistment in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Name of enlistee
  • Age at time of enlistment
  • Physical description (color of eyes, hair, complexion and height)
  • Birthplace
  • Occupation
  • Date and place of enlistment and by whom
  • Rank, company, and regiment
  • Date and cause of discharge
  • Notes on death, desertion, apprehension, physical description, etc.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of the soldier
  • The birth date and birth place of the soldier
  • The county and state where your soldier lived at the time of enlistment

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Volume Number, Years, Letter of Surname Range to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Birthplaces can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • Allow for variations of physical descriptions since officers enlisting soldiers did not use measuring devices and standard lighting was not used. General trends will show through multiples enlistments

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]

Army Register[edit | edit source]

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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