Icon Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War Research in Maryland

Essential Starting Sources at the Maryland State Archives

To locate Revolutionary War records for a specific individual, start with the following resources:

The Revolutionary War and Its Records

Beginning with the Revolutionary War, it should be remembered that records of service and records of veterans' benefits may be found at both the federal and state level. The National Archives in Washington contains records taken from muster rolls. Each soldier's records are on 3½ x 8 cards showing his name, rank, military organization, name of state from which he served, the date or dates his name appears on one or more of the rolls, and occasionally the dates of his enlistment and/or discharge. There is a card index to service records of individual soldiers, which have been compiled from many different sources. The best guide for military records is Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, published by the National Archives in 1982. (Location: REF D-1-1)

Each state has its own collection of records pertaining to the Revolutionary War.

In addition to the military records, there are the records of veteran's benefits, which often have more genealogical information, because most of the laws providing such benefits were enacted years after the Revolution. These often contain biographical information telling what happened to the soldier between the war and the time of application for benefits.

There are two types of records of veteran's benefits: Pensions and Bounty Land. Pension records include the application of the soldier or his widow. Pension rolls may help to trace the migration of families. All papers in each soldier's folder have been microfilmed, and can be seen at the National Archives, or may be purchased from the National Archives.

In the early days of the War for Independence, the Continental Congress authorized the granting of 50 acres of land to each prIvate and to each non-commissioned officer. Some states also promised to grant land to veterans of the Revolutionary War (See The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, by Val D. Greenwood, Baltimore: The Genealogical Publishing Company, pp. 330-331).

Some Federal Laws pertaining to Revolutionary Pensions:

Other kinds of records pertaining to this period are:

Greenwood (p. 511) states that many genealogists do not consult Revolutionary records because they do not consider the possibility that an ancestor actually served in the War. Greenwood goes on to suggest some times when you should consult these records:

Bibliography: The Revolutionary War

Please note, not all of these sources are available in the Archives library. If available, locations are noted in the citation.

Abbreviations Used for Periodicals:

Books and Articles:

For more information on Maryland and the Revolutionary War, please search our library catalog.

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This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user. 

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