Military Censuses

From 1840 to 1890, census records of those serving in the military were taken. Enumerators of the 1840 federal census were required to list living pensioners who had served in the military, whether as part of the Revolutionary War or other battles. That census includes the names, ages, and homes of the veterans in question.States in Alphabetical order from Alabama through Kansas have no existing pension census records from 1890. Around 50% of the records for that year’s pensioners census in Kentucky are also unavailable. Schedules for the second half (alphabetically) of Kentucky through Wyoming (again, alphabetically) have been placed on microfilm, along with the records for Washington D.C. Those records are included in Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War. It consists of 118 rolls of microfilm known as M123. Information in those records includes the veteran’s time of service, residence at the time that the census was taken, enlistment and discharge information, injuries received during service and other information, including any aliases used by the veteran. Veterans who served in the rebellion as members of the Marine Corps, Army, or Navy are included, as long as they were alive still when the 1890 census was taken. In cases where the veterans had passed away, their widows are listed, instead, but information about the veterans is still given.

Confederate veterans and their widows may also be listed in certain cases. Although, they were not supposed to be included at the time.

1910 census records list whether or not a veteran belonged to the Army or Navy, and whether he served on the Union or Confederate side of the year. The 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses also have separate military personnel categories. Soundex indexes are available for the military censuses of 100 and 1920.

Local and state jurisdictions kept their own military records, in many cases. Some of them called those records militia records. Those records contain a lot of the same information in the official federal censuses and pension records. However, if available, they can still contain a lot of useful extra information. Unfortunately, there is no single collection of militia records. Many have been lost over the years. The remaining records are held by county clerk offices, military forts, museums, historical societies, state archives, and other organizations. Researchers should also be aware that many records can only be found in private collections of citizens, colleges, and other organizations.