Introduction to Civil War Research

Introduction to Civil War Research

Course Overview

Introduction to Civil War Research teaches family historians how to trace ancestors who fought in the war and learn about their military service. More than 2.4 million men fought in the conflict. Half a million were immigrants from Canada, Europe, and Mexico. More than 178,000 Union soldiers were African American. The course reviews the primary Civil War depositories, including the Library of Congress, the US Army Heritage and Education Center, and the National Archives. It will help you track down the side an ancestor fought on, where he lived, his rank, and battles he may have fought in.

Author: Craig Roberts Scott, CG, FUGA
Prerequisites: None
Course: Online, cloud based
Price: NGS Members $60 Non-members $85

Course Description

In Introduction to Civil War Research, you are introduced to numerous records created for the war, both during and after the war. You will learn strategies to identify and locate information about an ancestor who served and then research records for his Civil War service and service unit. You will learn how to locate and understand the Compiled Military Service Record and Union and Confederate military and prison records. You will also research post-war records, including pension index and application files, death and burial records, and participation in fraternal and lineage societies.

The course is divided into seven modules, which include readings, web links, and self-correcting quizzes as well as a reading and reference list. A full syllabus is provided to course registrants. The course modules are as follows.

  • Module 1—Introduction to Civil War Research
  • Module 2—Identify an Ancestor Living at the Time of the Civil War
  • Module 3—Locate Information about the Service of an Ancestor
  • Module 4—Locate and Understand the Compiled Military Service Record
  • Module 5—Locate Additional Information about Your Ancestor’s Service
  • Module 6—Locate and Understand Pension Records
  • Module 6—Compile a Postwar Record

About the Author

Craig Roberts Scott, CG, FUGA, is a nationally recognized lecturer, educator, and genealogical and historical researcher with more than thirty years’ experience. He specializes in the diverse military records at the National Archives.


Continuing Genealogical Studies Members Non-Members
Introduction to Civil War Research $60 $85
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NGS grants a license to an individual to take the course shown above. This grants the individual a personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable right to the course materials for that student’s personal educational use only. All students work independently.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Course?

The Continuing Genealogical Studies series courses have no set time or date for attendance. These online courses are geared toward individuals who have schedules that are varied and may include work, volunteer, and personal demands. You prioritize your time management and your learning, so your course work can be scheduled at your own pace.

Upon registration, you have access to the course for six months from the date of registration. If you need extra time, a one-time extension of three months is granted by contacting the NGS Course Administrator.

When Can I Start the Course?

Within three business days, you receive two separate emails, one that confirms your registration and one that provides log in instructions.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

All purchases of courses are final. No refunds or credits are available.


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