Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of Death Rolls, 1879-1947

We recently reviewed two books with transcriptions of Death Rolls for Union soldiers who were members of the Grand Army of the Republic, as listed here:

The Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of the Death Rolls, 1879-1947 is the book that started it all. Over 409,00 Civil War Union veterans became members of G.A.R. at its peak in 1890. Among other works, the group maintained a list of deceased members. Like the other books in this series, this book is taken from the Journals of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). This exhaustive work by Dennis Northcott, contains the names; ranks; company, regiment or ship; post, age, death date; and Journal entry for Union veterans who died in Illinois. Peak enrollment in G.A.R., Department of Illinois was 32,984, in 1891.

The G.A.R. was the largest association of Union veterans to exist after the war. Begun in 1866, membership reached its peak in 1890, with the last member dying in 1956. Membership was limited to “Soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps.” Individuals must have served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1866 in the “war for suppression of the rebellion, and those having been honorably discharged therefrom.” The organization created departments on a state level, one per state. Each year the departments would requested the death rolls from local branches for those who had passed. These rolls were usually published in the annual Journal. Each year’s listing was usually a compilations of those who had passed the year before its issue. In other words, someone who died in 1901 probably did not get listed until the publication at the end of 1902. This volume contains more than 32,000 records for soldier from 36 states.

Sometimes the Journals listed obituaries for the deceased. These are not included in this book. However, where they did appear the author made a reference note and has provided an appendix listing to the original Journal reference for those who have an associated obituary. In addition to the Introduction, which elaborates the preceding information, page ix lists abbreviations the reader will encounter throughout the book. In the other two volumes, the author also provides a brief “How to Use This Book” page. The same information applies to this first volume. Here are the basics from this section:

  • Records are listed alphabetically, with all three states grouped together
  • The last column for each record provides the reference data from which Journal of the Annual Encampment from which the record was extracted
  • How to follow the reference for which Post the person served at or in
  • Additional information regarding G.A.R. members may exist in those cases where original G.A.R. records have survived

These death roll records are another great piece to the puzzle of the lost 1890 census. Leads to information missing in the lost census may be found through these death roll records, and other G.A.R. held information.


Table of Contents



Death Rolls

Appendix A: Roster of Department of Illinois post names and locations

Appendix B: Roster of Department of Illinois annual encampment dates and locations

Appendix C: Roster of annual membership of the Department of Illinois and the national organization

Appendix D: Members with additional biographical information

Appendix E: Statistical summary of states from which comrades served

Appendix F: Annotated bibliography of Grand Army of the Republic department-level rosters and indexes


Grand Army of the Republic: Department of Illinois — Transcription of the Death Rolls, 1879-1947  is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: DN01. Click on the link to purchase

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