Every military conflict in the country included servicemen from Kentucky. The National Archives in Washington, D.C. and its regional branches keep pension, bounty land, and service records for military servicemen, including those from Kentucky. Some records from the time of the Revolutionary War onward can also be found at the Military Records and Research Branch, Kentucky Department of Military Affairs. Bounty-land, service, and pension records can also be found at the Kentucky Historical Society and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
There were not many settlements in Kentucky around the time of the Revolutionary War, but some men from Kentucky did serve in it. Some of them served as Virginia residents and later obtained land in Kentucky as payment for serving during the war. George Rogers Clark military expedition records contain names of many Kentucky residents and those who got Kentucky land grants.
The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives holds records of Confederate and Union Civil War rosters and indexes to those rosters. It also holds records of the pensions provided to Confederate widows and veterans. Copies of those records can also be found at the Kentucky Historical Society.
Indexed rosters of Kentucky residents who served in the military during the Mexican War (1846 to 1848) and those who served in the Revolutionary War who were buried in Kentucky can be found at the Kentucky Historical Society. Kentucky Civil War regiment information has been published by Eastern Kentucky State University. The Kentucky Historical Society and the University of Kentucky each house copies of the Kentucky Sons of the American Revolution records.
Department of Military Affairs records can be found at Military Records and Research Branch, Kentucky Department of Military Affairs. Those records contain more than 300,000 Kentucky veteran discharge records, which span from World War II through the end of Desert Storm. Also available there are Kentucky militia records and National Guard records. Online databases included Kentucky military records as well.
Kentucky in the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War Website Links
Kentucky in the War of 1812
War of 1812 Website Links
Kentucky in the Civil War
Civil War Website Links
- Civil War links from fold3.com with original data from the National Archives:
- Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Kentucky – Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Kentucky units, labeled with each soldier’s name, rank, and unit. Original data from the National Archives
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Kentucky.
- Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index from Kentucky
- Kentucky Confederate Amnesty Papers – Case Files of Applications from Kentucky of former Confederates for Presidential Pardons (“Amnesty Papers”), 1865-1867
- Kentucky Civil War “Widows’ Pensions”
- Barred and Disallowed Kentucky Claims – The Southern Claims Commission denied these claims by Kentucky citizens seeking compensation for property loss. They were barred or disallowed for a number of reasons. Original data from the National Archives
- Kentucky Civil War Maps – Maps, charts, and atlases depicting battles, troop positions and movements, engagements, and fortifications in Kentucky during the Civil War, 1861-1865.
- Kentucky, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 (familysearch.org) Confederate service records of soldiers who served in organizations from Kentucky. The records include a jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, his rank, and the unit in which he served. The jacket-envelope typically contains card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, inspection reports; and the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier. For each military unit the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier’s surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm. This collection is a part of RG 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records and is National Archive Microfilm Publication M319. Index courtesy of Fold3.
- Kentucky, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 (familysearch.org) Union service records of soldiers who served in organizations from Kentucky. The records include a jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, his rank, and the unit in which he served. The jacket-envelope typically contains card abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, inspection reports; and the originals of any papers relating solely to the particular soldier. For each military unit the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier’s surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm. This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917 and is National Archive Microfilm Publication M397. Index courtesy of Fold3.
- Kentucky, Confederate Pension Applications, 1912-1950 (familysearch.org) Images of pension applications filed by surviving former Confederate soldiers or their widows who lived in Kentucky. The law providing for pensions was enacted in 1912 by the Kentucky State Legislature.
- Civil War links from ancestry.com:
- U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 – This database contains an index to compiled service records (CSRs) for soldiers who served with units in the Confederate army. Most of the men whose names appear in this index served with units from 15 different states or territories; others were soldiers raised directly by the Confederate government, generals and staff officers, and other enlisted men not associated with a regiment. Compiled service records are files of cards that abstract original military records relating to an individual soldier. A typical CSR will include an envelope that lists a soldier’s name, rank, unit, and card numbers, followed by cards with details extracted from muster rolls, rosters, hospital rolls, Union prison records, payrolls, and other records, with a new card being created each time a soldier’s name appeared on a new document. The CSRs may also include original documents pertaining to the soldier. The CSRs do not constitute an exhaustive list of all men who served in the Confederate army.
- U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865
- Kentucky Civil War Union Volunteers
- Report of the adjutant general of the state of Kentucky Both volumes (Union and Confederate) of the original report are covered by these indexes.
- Kentucky Confederate Volunteers
- History of the First Kentucky Brigade
- History of the Ram Fleet and the Mississippi Marine Brigade in the War for the Union on the Mississippi and its tributaries
- History of the 3d, 7th, 8th and l2th Kentucky C.S.A.
- Kentucky Pension Roll for 1835
- Notes on Kentucky Veterans of the War of 1812 by G. Glenn Clift
- Report of the adjutant general of Kentucky to His Excellency Governor McCreary for the year 1875
- Report of the adjutant general, state of Kentucky, to the commander-in-chief, for the year 1881
- The Paper Trail of the Civil War in Kentucky, 1861–1865 Abstracts of Pension Papers of Soldiers of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Indian Wars Who Settled in Kentucky. 20 vols. Washington, D.C.: the author, 1935- present.
- Confederate Pensioners of Kentucky: Pension Applications of the Veterans and Widows, 1912–1946 (amazon.com) Alphabetical list of 4,7000 Confederate pensioners. Data includes name, military unit, date and place of birth, and death information. Widow’s data lists both married and maiden names, date and place of birth, date and place of marriage, husband’s names, military unit, date and place of birth, and date and place of death.
- Confederate Soldiers of Kentucky: A Roster of Veterans, 1861– 1865 (amazon.com) Names taken from various sources, including the Report of the Adjutant General of Kentucky, pension files, Confederate Home records, records of Veterans’ organization, and others.
- Index of Kentucky Confederate Pension Applications (amazon.com) is helpful in locating these materials in Kentucky.
- Kentucky Civil War Books (amazon.com)
Kentucky Modern Wars
War Website Links