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SALT LAKE CITY -- Family history researchers or history buffs now can view millions of digitized Civil War records online free of charge at FamilySearch.org.
FamilySearch announced the release of the records at the National Genealogical Society's 2011 Family History Conference in South Carolina on Thursday.
The online collections include service records for both the Confederate and Union armies, pension records and more. They are made up of some new records combined with some previously available, all added to familysearch.org/civilwar.
"These records are significant because nearly every family in the United States at that time was impacted either directly or indirectly by the war," FamilySearch project manager Ken Nelson said in a news release.
"Each soldier has a story to tell based on what his unique experience was during the war. Each family has their own story to tell. This is the paper trail that tells the stories about that period in our nation's history."
About 10 million of FamilySearch's Civil War records are already indexed and millions more will be added through an on-going volunteer campaign. Information about volunteering is available at www.familysearch.org/volunteer/indexing.
The website familysearch.org/civilwar includes links to articles about each regiment that fought in the conflict and records created by each state that participated in the war. There are also free online classes and tips for family history beginners.
Here is a sampling of records available there:
- 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows
- Arizona, Service Records of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863
- Arkansas Confederate Pensions, 1901-1929
- Civil War Pension Index
- Civil War Soldiers Index 1855-1865
- Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904
- Louisiana Confederate Pensions 1898-1950
- Missouri Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers' Home Admission Applications
- Navy Widows' Certificates, 1861-1910
- Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914
- South Carolina Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers
- South Carolina Probate 1671-1977
- South Carolina Probate Records, Files, and Loose Papers, 1732-1964
- Union Provost Marshall Files of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians, 1861-1866
- Union Provost Marshall's File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861-1866
- Vermont Enrolled Militia, 1861-1867
- Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
In April the National Archives and Ancestry.com made newly digitized Civil War records available online for the first time at Ancestry.com. Those records were available free of charge to the public for one week. Now a paid subscription is required to access them.
Newest Family History Center
A new family history center opens in Puerto Rico Saturday, as reported in the LDS Newsroom blog by Dave Porter. The center is a joint venture between the LDS church, Sociedad Puertoriqueña Genealogica, and Interamericana University. It's located in the law school of the university. The church donated 500 rolls of microfilm for use there. The center also has four computers, three microfilm readers and one scanner.
The LDS church has 4,600 family history centers in 126 countries around the world.