Searching for Confederate military rolls in the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)
To search the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) for a soldier or unit’s military roll, more commonly known as a muster roll, you will first want to locate the soldier or unit’s military roll number. The instructions on this page will guide you through the steps needed to locate the needed information and conduct a successful search.
Please note that not all Civil War military rolls in our collections are available on the TDA. We are in the process of digitizing this collection. 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.
Locating a military roll number
Ancestry.com Texas is available for free to all Texas residents. You can access Ancestry.com Texas through our website at 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, which can be used to locate the military roll number. To find the military roll number, use 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.
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 below, 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 “Texas Adjutant General/Texas Military Department” (see Figure 8, below). This will take you to the agency page for the Texas Adjutant General/Texas Military Department.
In the Organization section, click on the link for “Confederate and Texas State Troops military rolls, 1861-1865, 1871, 1898, bulk 1861-1865, 52.76 cubic ft.” This takes you to the descriptive guide for the military rolls (see Figure 9, below).
A link is displayed in the descriptive guide near the top of the page which instructs users to “Click here to enter the records”. Click the link to browse the military rolls (see Figure 10, below).
Military rolls are grouped by number (see Figure 11, 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 11. 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 12, below).
Some military rolls may have multiple files per military roll, when they have multiple sheets. Click on each image to see the sheets (see Figure 13, below).
Figure 13. Individual sheets of a military roll.
Using the Military Rolls custom search
Another way to search for a military roll is to use our “Confederate and Texas State Troops Military Rolls custom search” webpage at www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/confederatemustersearch. The drop-down menus can display results by commander name, county, or unit name (see Figure 14 below).
Clicking on the “Search the Records” button in Figure 14 above will display the military rolls that match that search in the TDA (see Figure 15 below).
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.