Sons of Confederate Veterans

Finding your Ancestor


This page is designed to help you find your first Confederate ancestor.  If you already have found a Confederate ancestor it can serve as a tip sheet to find others.  Helpful links are provided at the bottom of the page.

1.       Whether or not you have a family member that knows the family genealogy, family is going to be your starting point.  Many families have that “one” relative that knows about the family history and can serve as a great asset in finding your Confederate ancestor.  If you are going to have to dig to find your ancestor you need to collect as much information as you can to make the search easier.  Write down as much information about your genealogy as you can get:  Full names, birth/death dates, birth/death cities, marriage dates/cities, names of brothers/sisters, mothers/fathers.  You need to get as  much information from your family as you can get.

2.      If, through your family, you can trace your genealogy to a known Confederate ancestor then the hardest part is done.  You will be able to begin finding “proof” of his service.  That search is covered in #4 on this page.  If not, then write each family member on a piece of paper (and their relation to you).  You will want to use one sheet per person so you can write down any information you find on that person.

For a sample chart please click here : Sample Chart

3.      Armed with this information, you can start looking farther back:

a. Hopefully, someone online has already researched your family and will have a grandparent or great grandparent listed in their research. You can access the most common repositories of this research from the “research source” listed on the bottom of this page. On the right hand side of this page are some research sites (rootsweb,, etc.). If not, you’ll have to do more original research (see “b”— below).  **VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ONLINE GENEALOGY-  NOT ALL INFORMATION IS CORRECT, SO YOU WILL HAVE TO CHECK MULTIPLE SOURCES TO VERIFY THE INFORMATION**

b. Order death certificates for the oldest family member you have or check the census records for when they might have been at home (less than age 18).

4.      Now that you have found a name and he is of the age to have served, how do you find out if he served? The Camp web site is a great starting point. We have quite a few links to help you find the “proof of service” you need.

When it comes to finding “proof of service”,  Fold3 is my favorite source of “proof of service”.  You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, which will be more than ample time to get the proof you need.  Once you are signed in, click on “Records”, “Browse Records, “Civil War”, “Civil War Service Records”, “Confederate”, then you can start clicking on state, unit, surname to find the record.  Fold3 will give you an image of the Confederate’s actual service record that is stored in the National Archives.

You can also access the National Parks Database. This is easiest to navigate. It is not COMPLETE, no lists are, but it is very good. Start here with a ‘soldier search’ unless your ancestor is from a coastal area, then you might want to start with ‘sailor’ search.  

Key in the last name, the State you BELIEVE he served from (where he lived) and of course “Confederate” and then “Search”. You will see display a list of potential candidates. Let’s say you have a very common name you can narrow it down by the unit. This particular database shows the unit.  In most cases, when you click on the unit, a regimental history will be displayed. It will mention the counties the unit was recruited from. Get out your atlas and compare this list to where your ancestor lived.  People with common names that served in the same state are a good reason to know a middle name if possible.  This will help you quickly eliminate those that have a different middle name than your ancestor.  But remember, some records don’t have the middle name listed so don’t eliminate the one’s that don’t show the middle name.  You may need to look at them as well.

Another way to weed through the names is to research if he or his widow drew a Confederate pension. The pension will include genealogical info, like where and when the man was born, where he lived, etc. His widow’s pension will also list marriage and death dates of the veteran…..great stuff! You can really rule out the wrong ones and know for sure the right one! If your ancestor is from Florida, you’re in luck…you can search the Florida Confederate pension database and see if you have the right person. Some states have pensions on line, others you have to order – all of the online ones are linked to the camp web site.

Another way to rule out duplicates is the census. By searching a county in 1860 (the year before the war), you can tell if there are any other men with your ancestor’s name from the same county. Again, the camp web site “research sources” page has two excellent census resources. Get a library card— with this you can access “Heritage Quest” (best census database) from the Tampa-Hillsborough Library (top link on the right side of the ‘research sources" below.

You can  contact the Camp genealogist for any genealogy help you may need.  Also you can contact Ken Minton for help in finding “proof” of your ancestor’s Confederate service. 


Hillsborough County Public Library- Have a Tampa/Hillsborough Library Card? Access , Heritage Quest, and more FOR FREE!

Family Search- Mormon Church excellent free database to find clues

Rootsweb- another excellent free database to find clues

Ancestry - Excellent source - but some documents are accessible by subscription only. - Excellent source - must subscribe


Service Records:

National Parks Database - search on-line by name, state, unit, etc. Based on the National Archives Database National Archives - order up the service record here

Broadfoot Publishing - let them do the searching for you.

Also, obtain ancestor's National Archives Service Record here.


Civil War Microfilm - Mostly Florida CSA records - must subscribe

Florida Index

SC Soldier's index

Louisiana Index

State Pension Applications:

Valuable resource. Awarded by individual States after the War. These provide unit info and sometimes service record. Also many include genealogical info, particularly widow pension, i.e. birth, death and marriage dates, children and some personal info like physical characteristics and injuries incurred.

National Archives Confederate pensions

States with on-line index listed below:

Arkansas - order form only


Florida - complete on line with images


Kentucky - order form only - check "Index of Confederate Pension Applications, Commonwealth of KY" (this volume at downtown Tampa John Germany public library)



South Carolina

Tennessee - index only no images



Broadfoot Publishing also has some pension records and can be ordered in a package with the service record.

Additional Resources:

Maryland rosters

Kentucky rosters