A Guide to Civil War Research.
Finding Your Ancestor

Many of the Civil War records have only the initials of the man listed. This is particularly true of Payroll Vouchers which are one of our primary sources. Remember also that all of these records were written in longhand, many under trying circumstances, and often the letters can be misinterpreted. Here's an example from the NC 43rd Infantry Regiment, Company H.

This particular example has the men's signatures in the right column. What a find to be able to have you're ancestor's signature and to know that he touched that piece of paper.

Note the fourth man up from the bottom. The left column shows David M. (or maybe W.) Stigall, yet he signed it D. M. Steagall. This alternate spelling would generate two entries in the National Archives Index which is on line as the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System.

In my North Carolina index I also see spellings of Stigaul and Stighall. These would apparantly all be the same family, but the alternate spellings would mean that a search of the CWSS index would not find them. It's only when you have a browsable index as we do that the alternate spellings become apparent.

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This set of OnLine lessons is excerpted from our "Guide to Civil War Research" books. We have specific volumes for some states and a general volume which will help you research other states.

For Additional Research