Alan C. Aimone
Tracing almost 3.5 million individuals who served as Civil War regulars, volunteers, and militiamen is possible through a variety of books, microfilm and document collections. A beginning is Everton Handy Book for Genealogists, which lists archives, libraries, and historical societies by state and indexes printed census statistics, mortality schedules, maps, bibliographies, research guides, and histories. The American Association for State and Local History regularly revises its Directory of Historical Societies, which provides descriptive listings of over 13,000 historical societies, museums, and private and public historical organizations in the United States. Addresses, telephone numbers, and collection strengths organized alphabetically by state and then location make this a superb general record source.
Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor by Bertram Groene is the best single source to read before beginning serious Civil War genealogy research. Groene identifies research strategy, clarifies primary sources, and lists helpful institutions holding personnel files and rosters of nearly 7,000 Confederate and Union military units. The book is targeted for those who know nothing about Civil War veterans and those whose information is superficial. The author details how and where to unlock the records in archives and libraries, after a researcher has first identified the subject's full name and military unit.
The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is the most quoted set of Civil War records. Many officers and lower-rank soldiers are mentioned by name in the Official Records, information that often leads to the military organization and the state. Each of the 128 books has a detailed index of both Union and Confederate reports, orders, and memorandums issued, posted, filed,