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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

North Carolina in the War of 1812

War of 1812 Website Links

North Carolina in the Civil War

Civil War Website Links

North Carolina Modern Wars

War Website Links