Searching for Civil War military rolls in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)
Please note: we are still digitizing this collection so not all Civil War military rolls in our collections, consisting of Texas State Troops and Confederate rolls, are on the TDA. For military rolls that have not been added, please contact us using the “Need help?” link and include the military roll number and Captain’s name.
Searching the TDA for a soldier’s name, unit, or location where the unit was organized will likely not retrieve results for military rolls, so we suggest using the following tips.
Locating a military roll number
To search the TDA for a soldier or unit’s military roll, commonly known as a muster roll, you will first want to locate the soldier or unit’s military roll number. Using resources available through Ancestry or Ancestry.com Texas, you can identify a military roll number and then locate the military roll on the TDA if it has been digitized.
Ancestry.com Texas is available for free to all Texas residents. You can access Ancestry.com Texas through our website at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/ancestry. If you are not a Texas resident and do not have a subscription to Ancestry, you may wish to check with your local library to see if they have a subscription to Ancestry Library edition.
From the Ancestry or Ancestry.com Texas home page, click on the “Search” button at the top, then select “Card Catalog” (see Figure 1, below).
Using the search bars on the left side of the page, search for the title “Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900” (see Figure 2, below).
This collection is a database of abstract card files that were created from our military rolls. The cards can be used to locate the military roll number with the following steps.Step 1: Locate the name of the soldier’s commanding officer.
Search for the soldier’s name by entering it into the search bars. Try different variations and spellings of the name if you have trouble finding a result for the soldier’s name. See Figure 3 below for an example.
Figure 3. Example search for a soldier’s name.
From the list of results, click on the soldier’s name you are seeking to view the index card for that soldier. There will likely be several possible results, so review each card thoroughly.
The index card will provide information transcribed from the military roll for that soldier, including the name of the commander, noted as “Comm. Off”. See Figure 4 below for an example of a soldier’s military roll index card. Make note of the commanding officer’s name, as you will need that information to complete your search.
Step 2: Locate the Captain’s military roll number.
Figure 4. Example of a soldier’s military roll index card.
Return to the main search page for the “Texas, Muster Roll Index Cards, 1838-1900” by using the “back” arrow key. From the “Browse this collection” dropdown menu on the right-hand side of the page, set the Record Type to “Civil War Index-Captains” (see Figure 5, below). Select Range Type “Surname”, and then click on the range that includes the first letter of the commander’s last name you noted from Step 1. Click though the cards until you find the captain name that was listed on the soldier’s card found in Step 1.
To scroll through the cards quickly, use the tool bar at the bottom of the screen (see Figure 6, below). Click on the icon of the filmstrip to display smaller images of the cards at the bottom of the screen. Use the right and left arrow keys at the bottom of the screen to scroll through thumbnails, or type in a number in the box next to the filmstrip icon to quickly jump ahead to later cards.
The military roll number for that captain’s unit will be at the top left corner of the Captains Index card. In the example shown in Figure 6 above, military roll 508 is the roll for the unit commanded by M.P. Munyan.
Make note of the military roll number and return to the TDA.
Locating a military roll
Once you’ve located the military roll number, click on the “Texas State Agencies” icon on the main page (see Figure 7, below).
Next, click on the icon above “Military Department, Texas” (see Figure 8, below). This will take you to the agency page for the Texas Military Department.
Scroll down to the section titled “Texas Adjutant General's Department: Civil War Military Rolls, 1860-1865” (see Figure 9, below).
Use the link "Click here to enter the records" to browse the military rolls, then select "Confederate and Texas State Troops military rolls" from the results on the next page.
Military rolls are grouped by number (see Figure 10, below). Click on the grouping that contains the military roll that you’re seeking. For example, to find military roll 508, click on “500-599.”
Figure 10. Groupings of military rolls.
Click on the military roll number that you’re seeking. For example, click on “508” to view military roll 508 (see Figure 11, below).
Some military rolls have multiple sheets, for example Military Roll 519 (see Figure 12, below). Click on each image to see the sheets .
Figure 12. Individual sheets of a military roll.
Using the Military Rolls Custom Search
Another way to search for a military roll is to use our “Military Rolls Custom Search” webpage at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/tda/search/militaryrolls. You can search the military rolls by collection, military organization, commander, and unit (see Figure 13 below).
After making selections with the drop-down menus, click “Search the Texas Digital Archive”. Your results will display in the TDA (see Figure 14 below).
Figure 14. Results for Commander “Munyan, M.P.” using the Military Rolls Custom Search.
Our collection of digitized military rolls is growing. If you don’t find the military roll number you need, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.