New York Military Records

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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Most pre-twentieth-century New York military records are at the New York State Archives, although some were destroyed or damaged in the 1911 fire at the New York State Library. Other material, including indexes and other resources concerning the New York State Militia and National Guard, is at the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/mil-hist.htm].

Volumes 2 and 3 of the Annual Report of the State Historian (Albany and New York, 1896, 1897) contain collected lists of colonial militia, reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Company of Baltimore as New York Colonial Muster Rolls, 1664–1775, 2 vols. (2000), in which the age, birthplace, and occupation are given for many soldiers. Muster Rolls of New York Provincial Troops, 1755–1764, volume 24 of the New-York Historical Society Collections (1892; reprint, Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990), edited by Edward F. DeLancy, is another transcript of many of the same records.

Berthold Fernow, New York in the Revolution, vol. 1 (New Orleans: Polyanthos, 1972; Baltimore: Clearfield Co., Inc., 2000), was originally volume 15 of Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York (Albany: Weed, Parsons and Co., 1887). Additional names are in New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, 2 vols., and Supplement (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon, 1901, 1904; reprint Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1996), and in Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to the War of the Revolution, 2 vols. (Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons and Co., 1868). To find other documents in the state library and state archives, consult Stefan Bielinski, ed., A Guide to the Revolutionary War Manuscripts in the New York State Library (Albany, N.Y.: New York State American Bicentennial Commission, 1976). See also Milton M. Klein, comp., New York in the American Revolution: A Bibliography (Albany, N.Y.: New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, 1974). A lot of Revolutionary War material burned in the 1911 state library fire, but the remaining charred fragments are at last being microfilmed and made available for research. The state archives is preparing a computerized name index to New York soldiers and other individuals mentioned in the surviving Revolutionary War manuscripts. Other Revolutionary War material sent to Washington before the 1911 fire should be sought in the National Archives (see The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 120 [1989]: 66).

There is much published and manuscript material on New York Loyalists. One of the best works is Harry B. Yoshpe, Disposition of Loyalist Estates in the Southern District of the State of New York (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939). Alexander C. Flick’s Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1901) includes summary lists of Loyalist lands sold by the Commissioners of Forfeitures. Some Loyalist material is at the New York Public Library and the state archives.

Hugh Hastings, ed., Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, 1783–1821, 4 vols. (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon, 1901–04), with volume 4 as an index, lists local officers and is useful for determining the area from which a War of 1812 soldier probably served when only his unit commander’s name is known. Published material on New Yorkers in the War of 1812 is scarce, but one list put out by the New York (State) Adjutant General’s Office is Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 (1860; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969). The original claims are at the state archives, which also has abstracts of War of 1812 payrolls.

Research into Civil War participants from New York should start with the excellent The Union Preserved: A Guide to Civil War Records in the New York State Archives, comp. By Daniel Lorello and ed. by Harold Holzer (Albany and New York: Fordham University Press and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, 1999). This guide covers some material outside the state archives. There is a typescript index of Civil War participants from New York at the state archives, as well as an online database index at www.archives.nysed.gov/a/research/res_topics_mi_civilwar_dbintro.shtml. If the regiment is known, see Register of New York Regiments in the War of the Rebellion, 43 vols., issued as supplementary reports to the Annual Report of the state adjutant general for 1893–1905 (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon and others, 1894–1906). The annual reports are indexed in Richard A. Wilt, New York Soldiers in the Civil War…, 2 vols. (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1999). A Record of Commissioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates...in Suppressing the Rebellion, 8 vols. (Albany, N.Y.: Comstock & Cassidy, 1864–68), and Registers...the War of the Rebellion (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon, 1894), not indexed by name, were compiled by the New York Adjutant General’s Office. Frederick Phisterer, comp., New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865, 6 vols. (Albany, N.Y.: J. B. Lyon, 1912), lists officers only. The National Archives—Northeast Region and the state library have the microfilm index of compiled service records of New York volunteer soldiers in the Union army. The state archives has much material on the Civil War, including town clerk’s registers, which often show the soldier’s full name, full date and place of birth, and names of parents, including mother’s maiden name. Civil War soldiers and deaths of officers and enlisted men were also noted in the population schedules of the 1865 state census, and veterans or their widows were listed in a special 1890 census (see [[New York Census Records]).

Richard H. Saldaña, Index to the New York Spanish-American War Veterans, 1898, 2 vols. (North Salt Lake City, Utah: AISI Publishers, 1987) is a reprint with an index of the original three-volume report issued by the state adjutant general in 1900, arranged by regiment. In addition, a card file of New York participants in this war should also be checked at the state archives, which also has World War I card files of New York state servicemen and navy nurses. Cards of the “old men,” fourth draft registration for World War II for the five New York City boroughs arranged alphabetically are at the National Archives—Northeast Region (see Leslie Corn, “World War II Fourth Registration Draft Cards: A Newly-Released 20th-Century Resource for 19th-Century Research,” The NYG&B Newsletter, 13 [2002]: 5-9).

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