Kentucky Union Muster Records

All kinds of bigtime KUDOS to the Allen County Indiana Public Library for scanning in Kentucky’s Union Civil War muster records!  Why in the world they did Kentucky and not Indiana I don’t know and maybe they did…really need to find them if they did. :/

It takes some work to effectively BROWSE the records but I’m not going to argue that point against them.  Having them available at all is a HUGE blessing.  Here’s how to make good use of these records.  First, click here to get to the records themselves.

Notice the page has two main blocks of information.  The large one on the right entitled “Compiled service records…” has the bibliographic information followed by a Description area which is essentially the index for the records.  An example of the contents of the Description area:

reels 1-13. First Cavalry — reels 14-24. Second Cavalry — reels 25-37. Third Cavalry — reels 38-49. Fourth Cavalry — reels 50-59. Fifth Cavalry — reels 60-75. Sixth Cavalry — reels 76-86. Seventh Cavalry — reels 87-94. Eighth Cavalry — reels 95-99. Ninth Cavalry — reels 100-105. Tenth Cavalry — reels 106-113. Eleventh Cavalry — reels 114-122. Twelfth Cavalry — reels 123-127. Thirteenth Cavalry — reels 128-133. Fifteenth Cavalry — reels 134-136. Sixteenth Cavalry — reel 137. Seventeenth Cavalry — reels 138-142. Seventeenth Cavalry — reel 143. Ward’s Independent Co. (Scouts), Kentucky Cavalry ; Second Heavy Artillery ; Independent Battery A, Light Artillery — reels 144-145. Independent Battery A, Light Artillery (cont.) — reels 146-147. Independent Battery B, Light Artillery — reels 147-148. Independent Battery C, Light Artillery —

This was alittle confusing to me at first but I tinkered and figured it out…felt like I was decoding some long lost Rosetta stone-ish thing.  Anyway, the locations of each organization’s records are separated by double dashes.  For example, the First Kentucky Cavalry’s records may be found on reels 1 through 13.  The Second Kentucky Cav will be found on reels 14-24.  See how that works?

I hear you screaming, “Yeah, I see how it works but none of that is clickable!  I WANT THE DARNED RECORDS!”

You will notice the web address for this page:

Notice the “0001” in the address.  That is Reel 1 or the first reel for the First Kentucky Cavalry.  Change “0001” to, say, “0137” to see the Seventeenth Kentucky Cavalry.  When I say “change” I mean highlight the number in the address itself, type in the number you want to see, and press the enter key on the keyboard.

Cavalry and Artillery records can be reached by first going here, then editing the number as suggested.  Infantry Records can be reached by first going here, then editing the number as suggested.  I’m thinking there are still some issues with this process but we’ll keep plugging at it.

This leads us to the smaller box on the left of the screen entitled “View the book”.  Inside the box you have two options.  Read Online and PDF.  If you click the READ ONLINE link, the records open for easy viewing with a nifty intuitive interface.  You can also get a PDF of the reel.  I do NOT recommend trying to view the PDF by simply clicking on the link.  Some of these PDFs are HUGE(well over 100mb).  Some would suggest that 100mb isn’t large but if you try to load this inside your browser curious things can happen.  Curiosity is generally a good thing but not when it comes to web browsers.  If you want to keep the reel, right click on the PDF link and select either “save link as” or “save target as” or whatever your browser’s version of “give me that file” is.  You will be asked where you want to save it…which leads me to the next item.

Back in the “Compiled Service records…” box, find the item entitled “Volume”.  That is the official name of the reel.  Toward the end of the name you will see “A-Bo” or something similiar.  That is an alphabetical range of Surnames.  If the particular reel you are interested in has more than one reel(most if not all will), the muster records will be saved alphabetically and broken into groupings based on this range.  I encourage you to save the files to your local computer using file names that include this range.  For example, I have saved the 7th Kentucky’s muster records locally and have file names like:


Each reel I saved I just made sure to include that surname range at the end of whatever I wanted to call the collection itself.  You will thank yourself later for doing this.

While you are planning to thank people…stop over at Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and consider dropping some coins on them.  Having these records digitized is a HUGE benefit to the Civil War and Genealogy researchers.

1 Responses to Kentucky Union Muster Records

  1. Pingback: Info on researching your Civil War Ancestor – Kentucky Historical Studies Foundation, Inc.

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