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Each collection features a unique aspect of Michigan's history.

Civil War Volunteer Record

How might I use the information in this collection?How might I use the information in this collection?

This collection consists of scanned pages from Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, which are commonly referred to as the “Brown Books.” These books give a brief outline of a soldier’s service and are the starting point for researching Civil War service records at the Archives of Michigan or on Seeking Michigan. Service records are organized by regiment and not indexed by name, so many researchers begin with the Brown Books when they don’t know the unit in which a soldier served.

Civil War Volunteer Record

How do I find things in this collection?How do I find things in this collection?

You can search the full text of the scanned pages by clicking on the Advanced Search link at the top of any page within Seeking Michigan. Soldiers are listed by last name first and the search does not pick up commas, so you’ll want to select “the exact phrase” from the drop-down menu on the left, enter the soldier’s last name and first name with no comma (“Henderson Samuel,” for example) in the text box, and select “all fields” from the drop-down menu on the right.

Civil War Volunteer Record

What's the story behind this collection?What’s the story behind this collection?

In 1903, the Michigan legislature passed Public Act 147, which assigned the Adjutant General to “prepare for publication an alphabetical regimental history of all soldiers and sailors” from Michigan who fought in the Civil War. The act required that each regiment be given its own volume and that an overall alphabetical index be compiled. The legislature appropriated $22,350 to cover costs of compiling and publishing this work, and publication was completed in 1915.