Are you using the Soldiers and Sailors database effectively?

At last month’s NERGC luncheon, I had a discussion with someone researching his Civil War ancestor. He wanted to find out where and when his ancestor served. He had looked  at the Compiled Military Service Records (card summarizing the documents on which your ancestor is listed) but hadn’t found much. I asked if he had looked at the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database. The blank look said it all…

The database is best known as an “index” to the soldiers who served in the Union and Confederate armies. Go the main page (or click on Soldiers) and enter a name and, if possible, a state. A search should return a list of men of the same name and their units.

But the site has many more features. One of my favorites is the “Battle Units” section. Search by the type (infantry, artillery, etc.), number, and state. Click on a unit in the results list, and you’ll discover a short history of the unit. It was exactly what my luncheon conversation needed.

And there are  features beyond that. “Sailors” permits the search of records about African-American sailors; “Prisoners” searches Fort McHenry and Andersonville.

If you are just using Soldiers and Sailors as an index, you’re missing out!

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