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Help us index the 1866-1900 US Navy Muster Rolls!

Posted by Sean Daly on Oct 14, 2022
Photo and muster roll of the USS Quinnebaug

At Geneanet, volunteers index documents which are useful to everyone in the genealogy community. We are pleased to announce a new collection from the US National Archives: the US Navy Muster Rolls from 1866-1900!

Volunteer contributors from the Geneanet community are doing amazing things: documenting cemeteries worldwide through our Save Our Graves project, indexing over a million of Napoléon’s soldiers from the French military archives, and participating in collaborative family trees such as the Filles du Roy in Québec, for example. And now, the United States Navy muster rolls from 1866-1900 are online and ready to be indexed!

There were African-American sailors on Union ships during and after the Civil War. The “Mizzentopmen” in this photo would furl and unfurl sails aboard the USS Galena (1880-1892)

To index a page of the muster rolls, go to the “Projects” menu and select “Collaborative Indexing”. Under “Collection”, select “US Navy Muster Rolls”. Indicate how much time you have available: a quarter of an hour, 1 hour, or several hours. Click the “Start Indexing” button. The system will assign you a page, so as to avoid people working on the same page at the same time — it’s more efficient for everybody!

Geneanet assigns a page to you for indexing; other volunteers will work on other pages.
Zoom in to see the text clearly. We have chosen a subset of the fields available on the muster rolls; searches on these fields will bring up the scan, so genealogists will be able to obtain further information such as the sailor’s rank and the name of his ship.

As it happens, Geneanet is not the only site working on these register books from the US National Archives! Historians from Northumbria University and computer scientists at the University of Sheffield and the University of Koblenz-Landau have recently launched the “Civil War Bluejackets” project, seeking volunteers to index the US Navy muster rolls from the Civil War years (1861-1865). The project’s organizers estimate that 30% of Union sailors were of British or Irish origin. If your interest in these muster rolls is the wartime period, we encourage you to visit the project’s Zooniverse page for more information. So as not to duplicate work, we have placed the muster rolls from the war years at the end of the list in our indexing system; Geneanet indexing is starting with the 1866 rolls. However, be aware that the wartime rolls are indeed present in our collection.

The USS Galena, second of the name, was a wooden-hulled steamer with three masts. She was commissioned at Norfolk, Virginia on August 26, 1880, as the Age of Sail drew to a close.

If you have some time available, please consider indexing this or other collections at Geneanet! Thank you to all of our contributors!



I’m done , i have indexed the same 3 pages 4 times now, this is not fun.

Answer from Geneanet: Hmmm did you see our reply to your question last week? What happens when you click the red Submit button?


Why will the document not let me move on to the next name to document in the US Navy Muster Rolls?

Answer from Geneanet: After indexing a sailor, click on the green “Add a person” button to add another sailor. When all sailors on the page have been entered, click on the red “Submit” button. Thank you for your participation!

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