Civil War Research Guides

Dr. David Hayes

For those researching their Civil War ancestor, David Hayes, AWTHS volunteer, is available to help thru the AWTHS Research Library. Appointments can be scheduled thru AWTHS or email David at: [email protected] .

David has experience researching his own ancestor and has compiled the following research sources to assist other researchers in their quest.

1.  Ohio Historical Society (now known as Ohio History Connection)

          Website is

          For on-line research click on library catalog and enter search

          terms, e.g. the Civil War soldiers name, or the regiment that

          is being searched.

          A visit to the Historical Society library in Columbus would be

          the best way to be certain any documents in their holdings

          could be acquired.  The site is located at 800 E. 17th Ave.,

          Columbus 43211.  Phone is 614-297-2300.  An appointment

          to research there is required and the library staff are very

          helpful.  In order to avoid copy fees, a permit can be secured

          at the help desk that would allow the researcher to photo-

          graph the documents desired.  Many of this institution’s

          documents and newspapers are on microfilm which can be

          viewed on site or can be made available to a local library

          on inter-library loan.

2.  County histories

          These can be found at the Dayton Metro Library or the

          Historical Society.  Each county in Ohio has a written

          history and most of them contain military history which

          highlights regimental commanders and, on occasion, lower

          ranking soldiers.  It is also common to find a section in

          each county’s history addressing every Civil War regiment

          that received recruits from that county.

3.  National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections

          This is based at the Library of Congress.  The website is

  In the search window enter “OCLC catalog.”

          In the OCLC catalog, enter your search term.  This web-

          site can be particularly rewarding because if your search

          is successful, it will tell you every library or research

          facility in the country that has copies of your documents.

4.  The National Archives in Washington, D.C.

          This site is particularly important because nearly every

          Civil War soldier has Military Service Records on file.  If

          a soldier or his surviving family applied to the government

          after the war for a pension, those records will be

          available also.  The pension records are the most likely

          to contain personal information on the soldier and his

          family.  On occasion, I have found photographs of the

          soldier I was researching.  The archive materials

          can be acquired on-line but there is usually a significant

          charge for the staff to research them and mail them out

          to you. 

5.  The United States Military History Institute (now known as

          the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

          The website is

          At present the research library is closed to visiting

          researchers but on-line research may be possible.

6.  Ohio Genealogical Societies

          Many Ohio counties have local genealogical societies that

          will do research on an individual and will charge a small

          fee for doing so.  Each of these groups can be found by

          entering the county society into the computer search engine.

7.  Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

          This is 127 volumes and a general index containing military

          reports of various movements and engagements in the

          Civil War.  It is an excellent source of information but does

not contain information on individual soldiers.  These can be

          found in some large libraries.  All 128 volumes can be pur-

          chased on-line on CD for $10-$30

8.  Newspapers

          Many Civil War soldiers sent letters home to their local

          newspapers during the war.  The Library of Congress is an

          excellent source of photocopies of Civil War era newspapers.

          The website is  In the search box simply enter

          “newspapers.”  You can then search for individual local

          newspapers in whatever year you choose and print them

          directly from you computer.

Thank you again to David for his excellent list of sources for research.

Again, AWTHS is open the first Saturday morning of the month but prior appointments are needed to meet with David regarding this type of research. We encourage you to contact David directly with your Civil War questions.

AWTHS has a few military records in which the topics can be viewed on-line under Research and the Reference Materials List which is not an all inclusive list. Also our library volunteers will offer tips and resources but not do research for others at this time.

Please follow AWTHS blog guidelines regarding use of this material. Credit is asked to be given to the writer and Dr. Hayes resources.

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