Massachusetts 27th Infantry Regiment

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If you plan on doing research on an ancestor (or someone of interest to you) you may want to start your search at the National Archives web site dedicated to the Civil War.  It can be found at:

http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/civilwar.html

This site is extremely useful in that it outlines the basics of researching civil war records as well as gives some direction on how to go about compiling a soldier's history.  Of particular interest to the Civil War researcher is the NATF 80 form.  This form is used to obtain both military and pension records for soldiers who served in the U. S. Civil War.  The remainder of this page outlines how to go about obtaining NATF 80 forms as well as some tips in filling them out and submitting them.

Obtaining NATF 80 Forms

You can obtain military service and pension records for ancestors who fought in the U.S. Civil War by submitting NATF 80 Forms to the National Archives. The NATF 80 Forms can be requested via e-mail or by regular U.S. mail. Please note that although you can request the forms via e-mail you will receive the actual forms via ground-mail. The National Archives DOES NOT answer requests for specific information about a person through e-mail. All requests are done by NATF Form 80 through regular US mail, NOT via e-mail.

How To Request NATF 80 Forms Via E-Mail

1. Address your e-mail to inquire@arch2.nara.gov.
2. Put the word "form" (no quotes) in the subject line.
3. In the body of your message:

A. State that you want to obtain copies of the NATF 80 Form and the quantity.
B. Provide your U.S. mail mailing address (NOT your e-mail address).

Requests which do not contain the word "form" (no quotes) in the subject line get routed differently and will take more time to process.

How To Request NATF 80 Forms Via U.S. Mail

1. Address your envelope to:

Military Service Branch (NNMS)
National Archives and Records Service
National Archives
8th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20408

2. In the body of your letter:

A. State that you want to obtain copies of the NATF 80 Form and the quantity.
B. Provide your U.S. mail mailing address.

I've Got The NATF 80 Form(s), Now What Do I Do?

So, you've e-mailed (or written) to the National Archives and you have copies of the NATF 80 Form in your hands. Now what do you do? Well, simply, you fill it out and mail it back in. Really, it's that simple. Complete the form to the best of your ability giving as much detail as possible. As with anything, the more information you can provide the more likely you will be successful in your search. There is no initial cost for the search. You are only billed if something is found. Upon payment you will receive copies of any records found by the researcher(s).

Although filling out the form and simply returning it to be processed is sufficient, you might want to help your chances a bit. The NATF 80 Form has a box on it which gives you the option of what files you want to be searched: Pension, Bounty-Land Warrant Application or Military. The form specifically states "check one box only". I recommend submitting two forms for each soldier you wish researched. One for the soldier's military records and the other for the solider's pension records. Across the top of the form requesting military records write, "please send all military records", and, across the top of the form requesting pension records write "please send all pension records". Often researchers will find "index" records which reference other archived records. Unless you specifically state you want "all" records the researcher may only photo- copy the index and not the rest of the documents. Asking for "all" military or pension records lets the researcher know that you want all pertinent records photo-copied.

If all goes well, you should receive a response from the National Archives within six to eight weeks (they are busy). You will be notified whether or not records have been found. If so, you will be asked to send a check or money order for $10.00 (current cost) to obtain the copies made by the researcher. If you're not so lucky, you will be notified whether more information is required to do the search or that a search was made and no records were found. If this is the case it does not mean there are no records for your ancestor who served, just that you may have to contact the state in which he served to do a search.

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