4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2019 4:57 PM by Wendy Leute

    Seeking Civil War Records


      I recently ordered the CMSR from the NARA for my GG grandfather.  I felt that I gave a lot of information to help them find him:  HIs enlistment/muster out dates, his company and regiment, where he lived, and his Pension Application number.  I was hoping that I could find out other information that I was missing, such as his birth date (I think he lied about being 18 when he joined) and his death date.


      I received an email stating they couldn't find any records, although when I track my order on the NARA site, it does still say "Servicing".


      The information I gave:


      Jacob Walter (Youngstown, OH)

      Enlisted:  10 Sep 1861

      Company I, 37th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry

      Mustered out:  7 Aug 1865, Little Rock, AR

      Rank:  Private


      Born:  1843 (I feel it was more like 1845), Switzerland

      Died:  unknown


      Pension Application filed on behalf of minor child(ren):  21 Sep 1897, Number:  662.541


      The email I received gave no reason as to why they couldn't find the files based on the information I gave.  After receiving this, a quick search of the NARA site revealed the following information about the CMSR of Jacob Walter of the 37th regiment:  M552, Roll 113


      What do I do next?  I'm guessing that I should wait for the status to change on the NARA tracking to "Negative Search", but then what?  Are there any next steps I should follow?




        • Re: Seeking Civil War Records

          Update:  the NARA site has changed over to "Negative Search".  Hoping anyone has any ideas.  I don't like the thought of it, but I COULD actually drive up to DC...  Just wouldn't know where to start even if I WAS at the NARA in DC.


          OR... should I mail my request in writing along with some of the backup documentation I have?

          • Re: Seeking Civil War Records
            Jason Atkinson Ranger

            Dear Ms. Wendy Leute,

            Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!

            We assume you meant National Archives Microfilm Publication M553, which consists of the “Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Ohio” instead of NARA Microfilm Publication M552 that consists of the “Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of New York.”  

            In either case, both of these microfilm publications are subsets of the series titled “Indexes to the Carded Records of Soldiers Who Served in Volunteer Organizations During the Civil War, 1899 - 1927” (National Archives Identifier 654530). We searched this series in the National Archives Catalog and located an index card for [Ohio] Walter, Jacob - 37th Infantry, Company I.

            While the index card is not the full military record for Jacob Water, it indicates that there may be a copy of his military service record in the series “Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, 1890 - 1912 (National Archives Identifier 300398).”  Most of the service records in this series have been made available via microfilm and through digitization of the microfilm. Unfortunately, the records for Ohio Volunteers have not been microfilmed or digitized.

            These series mentioned above as well as several series containing Civil War related pension records are in the custody of the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1).  We checked with one of the supervisors in RDT1. She recommended that you contact them directly via email at archives1reference@nara.gov and request another search.  Please include all the information you listed in your History Hub request and include the link to the index card for Jacob Walters in your email message. Please attach scans of any supporting documentation you have.  RDT1 is also the point of contact for any questions about visiting the National Archives at Washington, DC to request the search in person.

            We hope this information is helpful.  Best of luck in your family research!

            1 person found this helpful
              • Re: Seeking Civil War Records

                Thank you so much, Jason!


                I really appreciate your contact with the NARA on my behalf!  I have been so eager to get my hands on those records and find out more about Jacob!  He enlisted with his father, Benedict, so his father will be my next target.  In the meantime, I am grateful to you for guiding me on where to go next!



              • Re: Seeking Civil War Records

                Just wanted to give an update, in case anyone else has a similar situation.  I had received my paper form of my negative search in the mail.  So as advised, I emailed the NARA.  A very nice lady helped me out, and took it upon herself to verify that both Jacob's CMSR and Pension records ARE there, and she could not understand why I received notice of a negative search.


                To correct myself, she pointed out that my application number indicated that I'd asked for Pension Records, and not the CMSR.  Well, she was absolutely correct.  And my negative search record indicated that they had FOUND the pension records, which probably added to my confusion.  AND begs the question why they didn't send them.  Anyway, I had to get online and order them again, so hopefully, this time they will "find" them.  She also emailed back to suggest I leave out his birthdate (since I was unsure), and give all the information as shown on his index card.


                Thank you again for the email and advice!



                1 person found this helpful