Civil War Soldiers’ Graves Online Database

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The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was the largest fraternal organization for Union veterans. It was a very active organization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Only Union veterans were permitted to join the GAR. As the members aged and then died, the organization eventually disappeared. However, it was replaced by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, with membership restricted to descendants of Union Civil War veterans. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War inherited most of the records of the national GAR organization, as well as many of the records of local chapters (called “encampments”).

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) now has created its Grave Registration Project to document the final resting places of BOTH Union and Confederate Civil War veterans. The fully-searchable database is available online and is free for everyone.

The SUVCW web site can be found at http://www.suvcw.org. You can save yourself some time if you go directly to http://www.suvcwdb.org/home/search.php?action=search. The site is free and no registration is required.

The main search form has a lot of fields to fill in: first name, last name, birth date, death date, Union or Confederate, unit, state, branch, company or ship, rank, cemetery name and location, and more. You simply fill in whatever information you have and leave the remaining fields blank. Click on SEARCH, and the database will return a list of all entries that match your search criteria.

I entered my own surname into the Last Name field and left all the other fields blank. I clicked on SEARCH, and about three seconds later the web site returned a list of 137 matches. I was especially intrigued by one entry: a man who also shares my first name as well as last name. I’ll use him as an example of the information available in this database:

Last Name: Eastman
First Name: Richard
Middle Name: K
Birth: 07-Jan-1832
Death: 05-Feb-1899
Age: 67
Civil War: Union
Unit Designation: 31
Branch: Infantry
State: Ohio
Company/Ship: F
If federal, State From:
Rank: Corporal
Enlisted 19-Sep-1861
Discharged: 20-Jul-1865
Cemetery Name: Ohio Soldier’s & Sailors’ Home Cemetery
Lot: 5
Section: G
Grave Number: 8
Cemetery Street: Columbus Avenue
City: Sandusky
County: Erie
State/Country: Ohio
GAR Post:
Dept. of:

In addition, the database indicates that this soldier had a military-issued headstone and that the cemetery burial records had been checked.

As you can see, the above entry had quite a bit of information. However, there is a place for text notes, and in this man’s record the text notes were blank. I looked around a bit more for others and found some entries had extensive text notes.

For instance, here are the notes for George E. Eastman of Company E, 9th Maine Infantry:

Residence: Cornish, Me. Born: Cornish, Me. Age at enlistment; 18, Mustered US Service Sept 22, 1861. Re-enlisted Jan 1,1864. POW Sept 29, 1864 at Chaffin’s Farm,Va. Died of starvation April 9, 1865. Stone at Riverside Cemetery, SR 25, Cornish, Me.

The records in this database were obtained from many sources, and it is believed that some number of veterans’ records have not yet been found. If you have new information not yet in the database, you can submit it online. However, if you have updated or additional information concerning previously submitted registrations, you should submit that information to the National Graves Registration Officer. Details may be found at http://www.suvcwdb.org/home/about.php.

While this database was created by and is maintained by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the database lists Confederate as well as Union soldiers. There are fewer Confederates listed. The reasons are two-fold: (1.) because the organization collected only Union veterans’ information in its earlier years and (2.) because record keeping was not as well organized among the Confederates. The SUVCW is keenly interested in adding more information about Confederate graves.

This is a great database for anyone researching Civil War ancestry. If you are not sure of the origins of your ancestor, there is a good chance that you can find his place of birth as well as place of enlistment in the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Grave Registration Project. To search the database at no charge, go to http://www.suvcwdb.org/home/search.php?action=search.

23 Comments

Confederate soldiers are sadly lacking. I have at least five ancestors that fought for the Confederacy from Georgia. Not one came up. At least one for the Confederacy from Missouri. Not listed. Ancestors from Illinois fighting for the Union, but not shown. These are well-know people who show up in multiple places elsewhere.

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Not all are entered. I have quite a large number from New York, Utah and Oregon that are not in this database.

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Who created the texts? My ancestor is shown as serving in the Union Army (his brothers who served in the Union are not listed) AND in the CSA which I believe isn’t correct. He has an unusual name so I don’t think it’s that.

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This is a tuff job. Thank you for taking the time and effort to save our “forgotten” veterans’ heritage. I do my own work in presenting our Veterans by researching, finding and then identifying Veterans who may or, may not have a Veteran’s headstone. I have many Confederate gravesites and I will contact direct descendants, where possible, to obtain their permission to submit names to you.

Semper Fi !

Jack Robinson
GySgt., U.S. Marine Corps, ret.

http://www.resurrection-mission.com

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The Gov. Isaac Stevens Camp, SUVCW and its Auxiliary of the State of Washington is currently researching the burials at Fort Walla Walla Cemetery in Walla Walla, WA and submitting them to our National Graves Registration (NGO) Database. Last week, we submitted one burial of a soldier from the 1st Oregon Infantry and five from the 1st Oregon Cavalry; we will be submitting a sixth one today – which will leave one more Oregon volunteer with a marked grave to do. Then we plan to turn our attention to the unmarked graves of Oregon volunteers we believe are still buried in this cemetery.

Once the Oregon volunteers are done, we plan to submit the burials of the Washington Territory volunteers and U.S. Army regulars.

The process our Camp and Auxiliary generally uses is to physically survey a cemetery, transcribing and photographing the grave markers of any suspected Civil War veteran; check these burials with the cemetery’s burial records; then research other available records to verify they are, in fact, Civil War veterans, and to collect and document the information to complete as many of the fields as possible. Because a fairly good number of Civil War veterans are buried in unmarked graves or have family grave markers that do not indicate any military service, we also research newspaper articles, obituaries and other sources to identify additional Civil War veterans that may be buried in the cemetery we are currently surveying. Before a submission is added to the public portion of our NGO Database, it is goes through an electronic review, followed by a physical review by a member of our National Graves Registration Committee.

We share this information to let you know that this database is a work-in-progress, and new submissions are being reviewed and added on a regular basis.

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The Daughters of the Confederacy also have a project, initiated several years ago in which the burial records and places of CSA soldiers and sailors are being secured. In addition, although I am not certain of this, I believe that the Sons of Confederate Veterans have information and a database of CSA soldiers and sailors, although it is not complete either at this time.

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My relative’s name was William Johnson. Since I was expecting at least several returns with that name, I was heartened to see you mention fields for birth & death dates. When I went to the website, those fields were both absent.

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Unfortunately the database does not include a designation for latitude & longitude, which would make finding a specific gravesite a great deal easier.

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If you read the information… this is a volunteer database.. if your ancestor is not there, please make an account and add the information. If all the information is not there.. make a correction.. there is an email link at the top of the page.
I am working on a list of Civil War Veterans for my local cemetery.. they have 50.. I have a 180 so far.. rather than complain, I will help them get it right, so that it is a better database..

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Margo, I love your reply! It seems the words of JFK have been lost on this country. I have yet to work on this database however I am always sending updates and corrections to Ancestry. It is a shame if these two could not get together and share data.

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My husband’s CS Army and Navy ancestors are still not listed (one in VA with a marked grave and one in GA with an unmarked grave, but documented in the cemetery office and online). Both cemeteries have a number of confederate veterans.

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One comment about the above comments: Several people had mentioned that the Civil War Soldiers’ Graves Online Database is incomplete. That is, the database does not list every Civil War soldier. I agree: it isn’t complete. However, I am not surprised.

Please keep in mind that there has never been a single collection of all the soldiers who served in the war. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) is now trying to create that list for the first time and is in the process of collecting information from anywhere and everywhere the organization can find it. As I wrote in the above article, “The records in this database were obtained from many sources, and it is believed that some number of veterans’ records have not yet been found.”

This is obviously a work-in-progress and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War has created an online web site containing a list of all the records found so far. The project is obviously not complete and I am guessing it will be many more years before they are able to find all the records.

You can help in this project. As I also wrote in the article, “If you have new information not yet in the database, you can submit it online.”

I strongly encourage everyone to submit any information you have about those who served but are not yet in the database. Your efforts will help future genealogists as well as preserve the legacy of the brave men who served. Details may be found at http://www.suvcwdb.org/home/about.php

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    I hadn’t seen any information on the web site about contributing, and I had looked. I do see those suggestions here. I thought the only contributors were veterans’ organizations. One source apparently not used is the VA Confederate Pensions. They are all online at the Library of Virginia.

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    Hello and Thank you Dick, My name is Bruce D. Frail, I am the National Graves Registration Officer for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and it is my job to maintain this database. I do this with the assistance of 12 members of the SUVCW who are on the National Committee on Graves Registration, we also have 28 Department Graves Registration Officers who work with our worldwide membership. I may be able to answer some of the questions that have been asked.

    First, anyone with an active email account can submit records into the database, you just need to complete a request online at http://www.suvcwdb.org, click create account, it is completely free. Once the information on the request form is complete just click the submit button and if the email address you provided is active, you will receive a return email with a link to our database instructional manual. While filling in the request, please make a note of your username and password (they are case sensitive) and you can change your password anytime you wish. We currently have over 3,700 submitters within our database. Your information is not shared, the data is kept so the entries you make can be tracked, each record has a meta tag that shows us who submitted the record and who made edits to it.

    Second, We are a growing database, our project started in 1995 and went online in 2005. We have, as of today, just over 687,000 records in our database. This represents just about 22 to 23% of the Union veterans that served during the American Civil War. Our projected completion date is estimated to be around 2060 at our current rate of 74 new records per day. Since, 2009, each of these records is reviewed to confirm that a soldier/sailor/marine by that name served in the stated unit. We also confirm the cemetery listed is an actual cemetery, and where possible, we confirm that the veteran is listed on the cemeteries list. Our database concentrates on private and unmanaged cemeteries as our priority and secondary are the national cemeteries and state veteran cemeteries, the reason is that the private and unmanaged cemeteries are in the most danger of being lost.

    Third, by our mission as set by the members of the Grand Army of the Republic when they created us on 12 November 1881, we are charged with the care of the GAR graves, records and history so their deeds in the war will never be forgotten. We are also charged with educating our citizens and our youth in the history and that of the United States and her Constitution. So as stated above, we have created this database for Union veterans of the civil war. We have only just recently started to allow Confederate soldiers into the database, we have done this to be of assistance to the families of the men who fought for different beliefs. We have members of the SUVCW that have ancestors that fought on both sides and that is why we are now fighting to reunite.

    Forth and Fifth, Margo, thank you for your assistance, we are always looking to team up with people who share a desire to see our country’s veterans honored. Jim Richards, yes it would be good if Ancestry.com could work with the SUVCW, they have contacted us and we have turned them down, as we have with several other companies. We do this because we wish this database to be free for all to use forever! Not just until a certain number is reached and than it is turned into a paid service. We have seen the genealogy world used for that purpose before and we will not fall into that trap. We are not going anywhere, we know this project will outlive most of us that are now working on it, and we will teach each generation of SUVCW members to care for this database as part of our continued mission to the GAR, their families and this nation.

    As I have mentioned above, we are always looking for people to assist us in our project, if you or any of your readers wish to or have questions, my email address is suvcw_ngro@suvcwdb.org. We have hundreds of cemeteries across this country that are in need of being transcribed into the database, plus we have just started a branch project to assist people in applying for government headstones for these veterans, we work within the new VA guidelines and can teach your readers how to do the same. Thank you again for your article about our database, feel free to contact me with any questions.

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David Paul Davenport October 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm

It may be worth mentioning that the person in charge of the SUV grave registration site in Bruce Frail, a retired career firefighter who lives in Coventry, Rhode Island. He and his son Benjamin have a business called American Civil War Ancestor that I use to acquire the Compiled Military Service Records and Pension files of Civil War Soldiers at the National Archives, at prices about half those charged by the National Archives. They scan these files in their entirety and send them to “Dropbox”.

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I notice that there is no listing for the State of Vermont.

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Hello, my 2xgreat-uncle died at Camp Sumter (the infamous Andersonville prison camp); is there a place where all its victims are buried? I haven’t found his name in the data base, in any case. Thanks.

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Tillie VAn Sickle July 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm

I tried to use the SUVCW graves registration but it is requiring me to log in. How do I register?

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