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There is a tremendous amount of overlap between the four principal indexes; the vast majority of names overlap. However, each index contains names not found in the other indexes.
Although the database contains thousands of alternative spellings it by no means contains them all. Names were spelled phonetically so use some ingenuity in your research strategy. For example, the name Curlis could be listed as Curliss, Curless, Curles, or as Kurlis, Kurless, or Kurles.
Another possible obstacle is a soldier with a common name such as John Smith. Identify any additional information about the soldier such as city, town or village of residence; birth date or approximate age at time of service.
If you know a location refer to The Communities of New York and the Civil War: The Recruiting Areas of New York Civil War Regiments, compiled by Charles E. Dornbusch, issued by the New York Public Library in1962 and reprinted as Appendix I in The Union Preserved: A Guide to Civil War Records in the New York State Archives. The volume lists each community's contribution to the war by branch of service, unit designation, and company, if known.
How to use this resource: John Smith lived in Little Falls, Herkimer County prior to the outbreak of the war. Little Falls provided men to the following units during the war: 1st, 2nd, and 16th Artillery; the 34th, 97th, 121st, and 152nd Infantry; and the 2nd Mounted Rifles. Search the database to determine what John Smiths appear in these units.