Posted by Crista Cowan on May 24, 2012 in Collections, Website

In 1775 a committee of the Continental Congress met at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They issued a resolution that called for two battalions of men to fight for independence at sea and on shore.  Thus, on 10 November 1775, the Marine Corps was born.  Since then, the Marines have fought in major and minor military conflicts around the globe.

Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This morning we released an update to the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls.  This collection, covering the years 1798 to 1958, now contains over 39 million records.


What Is A Muster Roll

Muster rolls are lists, usually prepared twice a month, that list the names of those assigned to a specific military unit.  Rolls were made at the time a unit was created (muster-in rolls), when a unit was reorganized, when two or more units were merged, and when a unit was disbanded (muster-out rolls).  Names that appear on a muster roll indicate that the person was present or accounted for on a given date, at which time a review of the troops and an inspection of their weapons and accoutrements was conducted.  The muster rolls were also used as a basis for paying those engaged in military service.


What Will I Learn From A Muster Roll

From the muster rolls you can discover your ancestor’s enlistment date, duty stations, military occupational specialty, service number and ranks.  I have seen notations of illness, injury and death.  Also included in this collection are unit diaries and personnel rosters that contain notes about disciplinary actions, temporary duty, and other happenings.

Can you see the notations of death and injury?

Do you want to track your ancestor’s military service from enlistment to discharge?  Are you looking to learn more about more than 20,000 women who joined the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve during World War II?  Or, are you trying to satisfy your curiosity about military history?  No matter what your reason, this collection holds some great records for you.

And, just in time for Memorial Day, this muster rolls database can now be searched as part of our larger collection of military records.

Until next time – Have fun climbing your family tree!

Crista Cowan

Crista has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at since 2004. Around here she's known as The Barefoot Genealogist. Google Twitter

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