Genealogical Society of Monroe County, MI

Civil War Research

Here are just a few places to do research on  Civil War soldiers.  If you find other sites or sources of information, let us know so we can all take advantage of them
Military Service Info
  • Soldiers & Sailors website- - THE official site for checking for soldiers and sailors.  It does not allow for Soundex searches, so be creative in your spellings to help find your soldier.
  • Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-1865-commonly referred to as "The Brown Books"-which include the history and roster of infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineers and mechanics and "colored troops." - available in hard copy at Ellis Library and Monroe County Museum, and on-line at
  • pay site, but can use at Ellis Library for free.  Has several different databases of Civil War soldiers, including pension application index, 1890 Veteran’s census schedule and 1863 draft registrations
  • Fold3, formerly, another pay site, but can access from an LDS library for free. This site is concentrating on mainly military records (hence the new name).   Has SOME Civil War pension files (mainly for widows of men who died during the war) and complete pension application index.  These pension cards are different from the ones on Ancestry.  They are easier to read and some contain the death date and place of the soldier.  Check both Ancestry & Fold3 for the soldier.  They give different information. 
  • LDS FamilySearch- pension applications, headstones provided by the government, many census records, Michigan marriages 1867-1925, Michigan deaths 1867-1897, to mention just a few.
  • 1883 Pensioners- available on-line, searchable by keyword/name, and on Ancestry.  I’ve typed up the names for Monroe County soldiers and will include in future newsletters.  Note those certificate numbers listed… they match those given on the pension cards from Fold3 and Ancestry. 
  • 1890 Veteran’s Census Schedule, available on Ancestry and on microfilm at Ellis Library
  • Don Harvey’s Michigan in the War website-
Contains a list of all known Michigan soldiers, regiments, company and some burial locations.
Residence Info
  • Federal census schedules- available on pay site, but can use at Ellis Library for free,  also available on (access via Ellis Library’s webpage), LDS FamilySearch (, GSMC’s transcribed copies and on microfilm at the county libraries
  • Land/Deed records- available at Registrar of Deeds on Macomb Street, a copy of the index is on microfilm in GSMC archives
  • Probate files- available at Monroe County Courthouse in Probate Court (need appointment to view), early probate records also available at the Archives of Michigan in Lansing (on microfilm) or can be ordered from the LDS family history centers.
  • City Directories- Ellis Library and Monroe County Museum.  Fold3 has some larger city directories, including Detroit and Toledo for years up to 1920’s.
  • Obituary- museum index, most Monroe papers on microfilm at Ellis Library.
  • Cemetery records (DAR and 1980 cemetery transcriptions) available at Ellis Library, Monroe County Museum, and GSMC archives.
  • Death record/certificate- GSMC Death Book publications, Vol 1-8 and City of Monroe, 2 Volumes, available at Ellis Library, Monroe County Museum, and GSMC archives.  Death certificates for entire state of Michigan available on for 1897-1920, death ledger entries available for entire state on (LDS site).  Both FREE.
  • Find-A-Grave- ( a free site containing tombstone transcriptions and photographs of stones (and sometimes of the person).  All entered and maintained by volunteers. 
  • Nationwide Veteran’s Grave Locator- -this site is managed by the government and is a work in progress.  Not all soldiers are listed- even those that died during the wars.  This site contains veteran grave info for all time periods in our history, not just the Civil War.
  • Michigan Sons of Union Veterans Grave Registration -  this site has grave information submitted by volunteers for Michigan Civil War Veterans.
Out of County or State Soldiers
For those soldiers who moved away from Monroe County, there are many other records to search for records of death/burial.  This is by no means a complete list!  Some of my favorites are: – a site organized by state and then by county…there is no data on this site, but it leads you to the sites with data.  Several Michigan counties have indexes to their death records, including Branch, Genesee and Charlevoix.  Saginaw has an outstanding obituary and cemetery index on their library’s website.  Detroit has indexes to the deaths in the CITY from 1920-1970’s at the Burton Collection in the Detroit Public Library.  They are on microfiche by decade.  Several Detroit cemeteries have on-line indexes to their records; those include Mt. Elliott (, Woodmere (  and Mt. Olivet (same as Mt. Elliott site). 
Other states have indexes or actual death certificates on-line.  North Dakota has an index to deaths in their state from the 1890’s through 2011 (death has to be at least one year ago)  at;  Missouri gives you access to a digitized copy of death certificates (free!) from 1910 through 1950 at