Now What: Finding a Home for Civil War Papers

Now What: Finding a Home for Civil War Papers

I have the original diaries my great-grandfather kept during his Civil War service, along with documents including his enlistment and discharge papers. How can I find museums or other organizations that would be interested in preserving this collection intact?

Q: I have the original diaries my great-grandfather kept during his Civil War service, along with documents including his enlistment and discharge papers. How can I find museums or other organizations that would be interested in preserving this collection intact?

A: Your best bet is probably a museum, archive or historical society in the area where your ancestor lived. To find institutions in that locality, try some of the following online resources.

The Council of State Archives maintains a detailed directory of state and territorial archivists and records managers online and a directory of links to state archives. You can also contact the council by writing Victoria Irons Walch, Executive Director, 308 E. Burlington St. #189, Iowa City, IA 52240, or calling (319) 338-0248.

The American Association of Museums has a searchable guide to its accredited members at, or you can write to the association at 1575 I St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005, or call (202) 289-1818.

Search a directory of more than 4,500 historical societies in North America and more than 7,000 history museums.

There’s a clickable map linked to sites for state historical societies. Individual state historical societies often maintain directories of historical societies at the county level, such as this guide to Missouri or this for Wisconsin. You can browse an extensive list of local historical societies, organized by state.

State libraries might also be interested.

Since you have Civil War records specifically, you may also want to check the American Association for State and Local History’s list of contacts for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.


From the November 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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