Activity of the US Navy in Turkey in the XIXth century


I'm currently working on my family tree. I discovered my great great grandfather was a member of the US Navy.

The inscription on his tombe reads :
(First Name Last Name) Lieutenant Captain in United States Navy Justice of the peace 

He passed away in Turkey (Constantinople) in 1897.

I have reasons to believe he spent time there at least on two occasions. Just before 1850 and again in the late XIXth century.

In the meantime, I know he lived in or near New York, and I guess he spent some time in Louisiana around 1860-1861 where he had a child.

So I wnoder : Could he have been involved in the Civil War while in the Navy in Louisiana ? It seems strange to me, but I don't know much about it.

Could he have enrolled in the navy at a youg age and be sent abroad in Turkey ? did the US Navy had operations over there ? And then come back to serve during the Civil War, then became a Justice of the Peace ? Does that seem plausible or totally absurd ?

I am not familiar with the US archive system, not sure where to look at to find a trace of him among the military troops.

Sorry for the improper English, it's not my native language.

Thank you in advance for any information or tip you could give me.


    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    Please be advised that the Navy Department did not maintain individual service records for officers prior to 1902. Therefore we do not have individual service records for Navy and Marine Corps personnel prior to this date.

    The Navy Department did, however, create a series of volumes called, "Records of Officers," which offers brief summaries of the service of naval officers. NARA microfilm publications M1328, Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1829-1924 and M330, Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1798-1893 provide information about the service of officers during this period. In addition, NARA Microfilm Publication T829 Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library, contains Naval Officers' letters of acceptance and/or resignation.

    Some of these records have been digitized and are available on the site at:

    M1328, Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1829-1924 

    M330, Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers, 1798-1893 

    T829 Miscellaneous Records of the Office of Naval Records and Library 

    If you can obtain dates of service it would help to narrow your search. In addition, if your ancestor received a pension, it would document his service and the next of kin would most likely be noted in the pension file. Please note that pension records are arranged by pension file number.

    There are several pension indexes available online that are searchable by name. The sites and have a searchable index . In addition, the site also has an index to Navy pension files. Please note that the Ancestry and Fold3 sites are fee-based sites, but free from all NARA research facilities. The Familysearch site is free from all locations, but requires the creation of a username and password.

    In addition, the series, Logs Of U.S. Naval Ships And Stations, (Entry 118), NAID# 581208, in Record Group 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel has a listing of Navy vessels and stations. These logs usually have a listing of the officers in the beginning pages of the logs. These logs are arranged alphabetically by vessel name and thereunder,, by year. These logs were transferred to Navy Headquarters quarterly or as permitted. We only have the logs transferred to Navy Headquarters and do not have every logbook for every year. If you can obtain the vessel and year that your ancestor served we can confirm that we have the logbooks in our holdings.

    In regards to Navy operations in Turkey, you may consider searching the U.S. Navy Area Files, 1775-1910, NAID #300258. These files provide documentation of Navy operations around the world and are divided into specific areas. Area 4 covers the Mediterranean Sea , Black Sea, and North Atlantic Ocean. Some of these files are available on our catalog at the above link and on the previously mentioned website at: 

    For more specific information about the Civil War Navy records, please feel free to reach out to our office directly via email at

    We hope this assists you with your research!


    Archives 1 Reference Branch (RR1R)

  • Hello

    It's great, thank you very much for your very precise answer.

    I'll look into the links you provided.


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