In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the National Archives and Ancestry.com have published millions of online Civil War records once restricted to the National Archives building.
The newly digitized records will be free to the general public for one week ending Thursday and to Ancestry.com members thereafter. (The website offers a 14-day free trial, during which you can access all records.)
The stars of the new Civil War collection are the draft registration records from 1863-1865. These nearly 275,000 records were previously only available by request in original form at the research center.
“The national archives is one of the best kept secrets of our federal government,” said filmmaker Ken Burns, renown for his PBS documentary, Civil War. Burns came to Washington last week to unveil the searchable online database. “Now, the digitization of these records means that everybody can search their personal stories with a click of a mouse.”
Tomorrow, April 12, is the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Fort Sumter in 1861, marking the start of the American Civil War in Charleston, SC.
In an effort to provide the Union Army with more troops, President Lincoln signed the Enrollment Act in March 1863 subjecting men ages 20-45 to a draft. Men’s names were recorded on consolidated lists from which draftees would be selected. The consolidated lists for 27 states filled more than 600 registers-now digitally indexed and available at www.ancestry.com/nara/