One hundred and fifty years ago this week, the American Civil War started with the first shots fired on Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. More Americans were killed in the five-year conflict than in World War I and World War II combined. As the sesquicentennial arrives, memorials and remembrances abound in newspapers, magazines, television, and, of course, the internet. This week I would like to give you five free websites that you can use to research your Civil War ancestor.
The African American Civil War Museum
The Museum, founded in 1997, has an extensive collection of photographs, documents, and information to help us understand the contributions made by African Americans in the conflict. While the site itself does not have a large number of records, there is a resources tab to direct people to other organizations that do have records, online and off.
The American Civil War Home Page
Dick “Shotgun” Weeks first published this site in 1997. It contains a number of links to assist your research. Many of these links will assist you in understanding what your Civil War soldier or sailor ancestor may have gone through. Among the links are: Civil War Battles, Civil War Biographies, Civil War Medicine, Fox’s Regimental Losses, Letters About the War, and The Armies.
The Civil War Home Page
Not to be confused with the site above, this is one of several sites owned and managed by Michael Frosch. This site is rich with information, official records, images, and more. There is an entire section with information on reenactors as well as images from personal collections of soldiers who served on both sides of the war.
Civil War Rosters
This site is now run by Chuck Ewing. Although it hasn’t been updated in awhile, it does have valuable links to online rosters of various units that served in the war from the forty-four states and territories involved in the conflict. There are special links to the US Colored Troops, Civil War Monuments, Prisons, and others.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
This site, run by the National Parks Service, contains the names of 6.3 million soldiers and sailors compiled by the NPS and its partners over several years. In addition to those who served, you can get information on those who received the Medal of Honor, or who may have been imprisoned at Fort McHenry or the notorious Andersonville Prison. You can also find information on regiments that served during the war, and a listing of all soldiers who served in that unit.