Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Spanish American War Volunteers Index to Compiled Military Service Records, 1898 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data:

General Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served During the War with Spain. Microfilm publication M871, 126 rolls. ARC ID: 654543. Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s–1917, Record Group 94. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

About U.S., Spanish American War Volunteers Index to Compiled Military Service Records, 1898

This database contains an index to Compiled Service Records for U.S. volunteers who served in the Spanish-American War.

Historical Background

When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, the U.S. Army was shorthanded. To bolster America’s forces, Congress passed the Mobilization Act on 22 April to raise an army of 125,000 volunteers. These volunteers served in either state/territorial or federal units. Existing state militia units could also join, and subsequently serve, as a unit. Volunteers was the term used to differentiate these men from full-time soldiers who had enlisted in the Regular Army. The service of these volunteers is documented in these records.

Compiled Service Records

Compiled service records (CSRs) were prepared by the War Department some years after the actual conflict. They consist of cards that record information about a soldier extracted from muster rolls, payrolls, enlistment records, examinations prior to discharge, and other records. A new card was created each time a soldier’s name appeared on a new document. The cards are arranged in packets, with each packet pertaining to a specific soldier. Packets may also contain copies of some original documents.

What You May Find in These Records

The records in this database are an index to the CSRs created for volunteers who served in the Spanish-American War. While the CSRs themselves are not included in this database, the index cards provide the following details:

  • name
  • rank
  • unit

If Your Soldier Doesn’t Appear

These index cards also include names of soldiers who appear in miscellaneous documents that were not included when CSRs were made up. However, if a soldier who served in the Spanish-American War does not appear in the index, NARA’s pamphlet describing these records offers the following possible reasons:

“1) he may have served in the Regular Army, 2) he may have served under a different name or used a different spelling of his name, 3) a proper record of his service may not have been made, or if made, it may have been lost or destroyed in the confusion that often attended the initial mobilization, subsequent military operations, and disbandment of troops, 4) the references to the soldier in the original records may have been so vague that it was not practicable to determine his correct name or the unit in which he served.”

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