United states military heritage in North Carolina started with the establishment of the colonial militia early in the seventeenth century typically to fight to prevent assaults from native inhabitants. The applications and value of North Carolina military records in family history and genealogical research for ancestors who have been veterans are evident but North Carolina military records can also be very important to researchers whose immediate ancestors weren’t soldiers in any war. A result of the amount of genealogical details contained in a number of North Carolina military pension documents they should not be overlooked throughout the research process.
Records from wars in North Carolina start from 1675 to 1677, when the Chowanoc Indian War took place. The Tuscarora Indian War then took place from 1711 to 1715, but most records from that war no longer exist. After that came the 1739 to 1744 War of Jenkins’ Ear, which was immediately followed, from 1744 to 1748, by King George’s War. That war was between Spain, England, and France. Some residents of North Carolina did serve in those wars, but only a few records and muster rolls from those conflicts still exist today. In 1755 the French and Indian War started. It ended in 1763. Again, several residents of North Carolina served in that war, but most of those records have been lost over the years. The records that are still extant can be found at the North Carolina State Archives.
Revolutionary War Records: A fire destroyed some of North Carolina’s Revolutionary War records, but there are many still available at the National Archives. They are made up mainly of militia muster rolls. The FHL, the National Archives, and other libraries can also provide a 58-reel microfilmed index of Revolutionary War Records.
During the Revolutionary War, new states needed to increase the number of soldiers that they provided for the Continental Line. They used land to entice residents to join the war effort. Those from North Carolina who agreed to serve for a minimum of 2 years got bounty-land warrants for land in present-day Tennessee. Some Continental Line soldier records can be found at the North Carolina State Archives. Researchers should also note that several North Carolina residents stayed loyal to England throughout the Revolutionary War conflict.
War of 1812 Records: War of 1812 service records contain information similar to the information found in Revolutionary War records. However, there may be errors in the War of 1812 muster rolls. So, researchers must be careful to verify information using original documents whenever possible. There are pay vouchers from the war of 1812 available for 28 counties in North Carolina. They can be found in the North Carolina State Archives and examined in the Search Room there.
Civil War Records: The North Carolina State Archives holds service records from the Civil War. Those records include bounty payrolls and other documents. Confederate veterans received pensions from North Carolina, as did widows of veterans. That pension plan began in 1885. It gave pensions to widows and veterans who had lost eyes or limbs. Those who died of diseases were added in 1887. In 1889 and 1901 further amendments were made by a new law. That required that the veteran and widow had to have been married before April of 1865. It also required that the pension recipients live in North Carolina for at leas tone year. The FHL and the North Carolina State Archives hold indexes to pension records. The original records are also located at the North Carolina State Archives,
Spanish American War: Spanish American War volunteers from North Carolina are listed on a printed roster, which can be accessed at the North Carolina State Archives.
North Carolina in the Colonial War
Colonial War Website Links
Revolutionary War Website Links
- Research in the Revolutionary War 1775-1783 (uswars.net)
- Organized military North Carolina units in the Revolutionary War (uswars.net)
- Revolutionary War links from fold3.com with original data from the National Archives:
- North Carolina Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864 These slips serve as an index to final and last payments to over 65,000 veterans of the Revolutionary War and some later wars.
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Pensions Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files.
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Prize Cases – Captured Vessels Prize cases heard on appeal from Colonial and state courts by the Continental Congress and the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture.
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 Muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Service Records Compiled service records of soldiers who served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783.
- Revolutionary War links from http://search.ancestry.com:
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Books (amazon.com)
North Carolina in the War of 1812
War of 1812 Website Links
North Carolina in the Civil War
Civil War Website Links
- Research in the Civil War 1861-1865
- North Carolina Confederate Soldiers Burial Database (ncgenweb-data.com)
- 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 North Carolina – Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from North Carolina 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 North Carolina.
- Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index from North Carolina
- North Carolina Confederate Amnesty Papers – Case Files of Applications from North Carolina of former Confederates for Presidential Pardons (“Amnesty Papers”), 1865-1867
- North Carolina Civil War “Widows’ Pensions”
- Barred and Disallowed North Carolina Claims – The Southern Claims Commission denied these claims by North Carolina citizens seeking compensation for property loss. They were barred or disallowed for a number of reasons. Original data from the National Archives
- North Carolina Civil War Maps – Maps, charts, and atlases depicting battles, troop positions and movements, engagements, and fortifications in North Carolina during the Civil War, 1861-1865.
- North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 (familysearch.org)
- North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 (familysearch.org)
- North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953 (familysearch.org)
- 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
- Roster of North Carolina troops in the war between the states
- The last ninety days of the war in North-Carolina
- List of staff officers of the Confederate States Army
- Reminiscences of the Civil War, 1861-1865
- North Carolina Civil War Heritage Trails (civilwarheritagetrails.org)
- North Carolina Civil War Books (amazon.com)
North Carolina Modern Wars
War Website Links