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United States Gotoarrow.png Military Records Gotoarrow.png United States Navy

Naval History and Heritgae Command

Histories of ships, biographies, and much more are housed avialable from the Naval History and Heritgae Command in Washington, D.C.

National Archives

National Personnel Records

Service Records

Of particular value to the researcher are the following:

  • Muster and Payrolls. Muster rolls usually provide the sailor’s name, ship, and service dates. Post-1860 records often give a personal description and data concerning discharge, desertion, or death. Payrolls give the sailor’s name, rank, enlistment date, and term of service. Muster and payrolls, 1798 to 1859, are arranged alphabetically by name of ship and then chronologically. These are found in Record Group 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library at the National Archives.
  • Muster rolls of vessels, 1860 to 1900, are arranged chronologically in three separate series and then alphabetically by name of vessel. They are found in Record Group 24, Records of Naval Personnel at the National Archives.
  • Enlistment Records. Enlistment records usually give the sailor’s name, enlistment date and place, birthplace, age, occupation, and personal description. Enlistment records have not been microfilmed, but they are available at the National Archives. They include:
  1. Registers of Enlistments, 1845–54.
  2. Quarterly Returns of Enlistments of Vessels, 1866–91. 43 vols.
  3. Weekly Returns of Enlistments at Naval Rendezvous, 1855–91.

The Family History Library has an index to the above records:

The weekly returns are also indexed in the following:

To find specific microfilm numbers for the above two sources, look in the Locality search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Records of Officers

  • Abstracts of Service of Naval Officers (“Records of Officers”), 1798–1803. National Archives Microfilm Publication M330. (FHL films 1445969–87.) Alphabetically arranged by the first letter of the surname, then date of appointment. Entries list name, rank, date of naval assignments, and where assigned.
  • Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers (“Records of Officers”) and Related Name Index, 1829–1924 National Archives Microfilm Publication M1328. (FHL films 1579079–96.) These abstracts are indexed by the first letter of surname available on the first roll with volume and page references. The information includes birth date and place and chronological listing of naval service and death information.
  • Callahan, Edward W., ed. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900. 1901. Reprint, New York: Haskell House Publishers, 1969. (FHL book 973 M2ca; film 1036121 item 4.) Contains the names of officers of the Navy and Marine Corps from 1789 to January 1901 and lists name; assignment; date; and retirement date, if known. The document also contains a list of midshipman, acting midshipman, and naval cadets at the Naval Academy, 1840–1900, arranged alphabetically in annual classes by name, date, and status. It also contains an alphabetical list of vessels from 1797 to 1901.
  • Cogar, William B. Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy. 2 vols. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1989–90. (FHL book 973 D36cg.) Contains a brief sketch of service history of admirals.
  • Index to Officers’ Jackets, 1913–1925 (Officers Directory). National Archives Microfilm Publication T1102. (FHL films 1578411–12.) Location registers for personnel files. They are arranged by file number; name, rank, classification, location of files (as of 1948), and file number.

Pension Records



Old War Index to Pension Files, 1815-1926

  • The "Old War Index to Pension Files, 1815-1926" (NARA T316) includes pensioners of the U.S. Navy. The records are available online. They relate mainly to pensions based on death or disability incurred in service between the years of 1816-1861 and cover regular army, navy and volunteer soldiers.

Other Record Types

FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

Online collections containing these records are located in

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Related Digital Books

Sources for Further Reading