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Searching for Confederate muster rolls

To search the Texas Digital Archive (TDA) for a soldier or unit’s muster roll, also known as a military roll, you will first want to locate the soldier or unit’s muster 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 muster rolls in our collections are available on the TDA. We are in the process of digitizing this collection. For muster rolls that have not been added, please contact us using the “Need help?” link and include the muster 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 muster rolls.

Locating a muster roll number

Using resources available through Ancestry or Ancestry.com Texas, you can identify a muster roll number and then locate the muster 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 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).


Figure 1.

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).


Figure 2.

This collection is a database of abstract card files that were created from our muster rolls, which can be used to locate the muster roll number. To find the muster 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 muster 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 muster roll index card. Make note of the commanding officer’s name, as you will need that information to complete your search.


Figure 4. Example of a soldier’s muster roll index card.

Step 2: Locate the Captain’s muster roll number.

Return to the main search page for the muster roll index cards 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.


Figure 5.

The muster 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, muster roll 508 is the roll for the unit commanded by M.P. Munyan.


Figure 6.

Make note of the muster roll number and return to the TDA.

Locating a muster roll

Once you’ve located the muster roll number, click on the “Texas State Agencies” icon on the main page (see Figure 7, below).


Figure 7.

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.


Figure 8.

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 muster rolls (see Figure 9, below).


Figure 9.

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 muster rolls (see Figure 10, below).


Figure 10.

Muster rolls are grouped by number (see Figure 11, below). Click on the grouping that contains the muster roll that you’re seeking. For example, to find muster roll 508, click on “500-599.”


Figure 11. Groupings of muster rolls.

Click on the muster roll number that you’re seeking. For example, click on “508” to view muster roll 508 (see Figure 12, below).


Figure 12.

Some muster rolls may have multiple files per muster roll, when they have multiple sheets. Click on each image to see the sheets (see Figure 13, below).


Figure 13. Individual sheets of a muster roll.

Using the Military Rolls custom search

Another way to search for a muster 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).


Figure 14.

Clicking on the “Search the Records” button in Figure 14 above will display the muster rolls that match that search in the TDA (see Figure 15 below).


Figure 15.

Our collection of digitized muster rolls is growing. If you don’t find the muster roll number you need, please contact us at ref@tsl.texas.gov.

Page last modified: June 12, 2018