Are there service records for the War of 1812. I found my ancestor in the Register of Enlistments. I thought he was in the militia.
First there are compiled military service records for volunteer soldiers (like militia and state troops) if the War Department managed to obtain the muster or payrolls. The index to these compiled miltary service records are found on NARA microfilm and are available on Ancestry.com. Some complied military service records were microfilmed and are now also on Fold3. These are the records that relate to Uriah Blue's Detachment of Chickasaw Indians, Maj. McIntosh's Company of Creek Indians, sailors on Lake Erie and soldiers from the Territory of Mississippi.
There are no compiled military service records for Regular Army personnel. You have to create those on your own. The first step is to find the person on the Register of Enlistments to see what it has to say. From there you should be able to obtain the company and regiment that the person belongs to. From there you go to RG94, Records of the Adjutant Generals Office and the series entries that are in the 90s. These include enlistment papers, medical certificates and personal papers.
In addition to the 90s, as I call them there is one other place you might consult. That is M1856, Discharge Certificates and Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Discharge of Soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815. These six rolls of microfilm are really interesting. The joy for me is the miscellaneous records part. The other joy is the finding aid which is available as a .pdf file through the online microfilm catalog. It is 116 pages of searchable names. There is also information from these records in a section on the Archives.gov website that is called War of 1812 Discharge Certificates.
It is also possible for a person to both be in the militia and the Regular Army, just not at the same time. Many militiamen join the Regular Army during the war. Many researchers fail to recognize that when the militiaman falls off the rolls, he might have joined the Regular Army. Prior to Ancestry putting up the Register of Enlistments this was generally ignored because the registers are a real pain to deal with. Today there is really no excuse.
There are additional resources for War of 1812 research which can be found at:
At a minimum, you should read Stuart L. Butler's article on Genealogical Records of the War of 1812.
There is also a list of links to other resources at this URL.
Butler has several books which I use often in my Virginia research in the War of 1812. My favorite has been recently revised.
A GUIDE TO VIRGINIA MILITIA UNITS IN THE WAR OF 1812 Stuart Lee Butler, second edition, revised and expanded. 8 x 10,
2011, xvi, 270 pages, index, maps, photos. When this volume first was published in 1988, it quickly became a definitive study on the role played by the Virginia militia in defense of both the state and the nation in the Anglo-British conflict. The author of the volume spent his career with the National Archives and Records Administration in the Old military and Civil Branch Records, where he specialized in early American military records. Since his retirement, Mr. Butler has continued his research in the area of the War of 1812, and with the upcoming bicentennial of the conflict, the product of this expanded research is presented in this new work. The primary sources of information for this enlarged volume are found among the massive holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC. In addition, materials have been drawn from numerous other state and local archival collections to present a balanced, scholarly account of the Virginia militia and its role in this war. This book is as complete a guide to the militia units raised in Virginia as records permit. The book is divided into three parts: Part I describes the organization of the Virginia militia, i.e., its regiments, battalions, and companies, and explains in what manner it was to be called up during an emergency. Part II frames an expanded history of the role played by the Virginia militia during this conflict. Part III, the largest portion, is a county-by-county listing of the units, with the naming of the regimental commanders, company commanders, and the known action and movements of the unit during the war. The book includes the name of the company or unit commander, not every soldier who served within that unit. Researchers who have secured copies of CMSRs [compiled military service records] from the National Archives or other sources will be able to determine the unit in which a soldier served, where and when that unit operated, and, in most instances, ascertain the soldier's county of origin. A complete index of unit commanders completes this standard reference work. What is presented here is a distillation of a life's research by the premier scholar in the field of the War of 1812.
VIRGINIA SOLDIERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY, 1800-1815
compiled by Stuart Lee Butler.
1986, paper, 188 pages, introduction, index. This volume contains the abstracted service
of 5,193 Virginians who enlisted in the regular United States army during the period
Material is taken from the Register of Enlistments now in the custody of the National
The list contains, wherever possible: full name; unit to which he was assigned; occupation
enlistment; county of birth; age; place and date of enlistment, and status at the end of his term
services (i.e., date and place of discharge, desertion, death, or other record. This book will
become a major reference tool for genealogists in this period of Virginia history. Many of the
pioneer families in the mid-west were descended from these cashiered soldiers at the end of
He also wrote a book on the titled Real Patriots and Heroic Soldiers: Gen. Joel Leftwich and the Virginia Brigade in the War of 1812
Hope all of this helps.