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Numbered Record Books

Do you have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War? Try looking for them in the Numbered Record Books from Fold3’s Revolutionary War Collection.

Numbered Record BooksThe 199-volume Numbered Record Books collection, from microfilm at the National Archives, contains miscellaneous records from the Revolutionary War, falling into three main categories: military operations and service, pay and settlement of accounts, and supplies.

The records in these books were originally compiled by the War Department from a wide variety of sources over time and then arbitrarily bound into volumes and numbered. Since the volume numbers don’t indicate any preexisting relationship between the books, Fold3 has arranged them by subject matter rather than consecutive volume numbers, similar to the organization devised by the National Archives.

Because the Numbered Record Books are grouped together by subject, the easiest way to find ancestors mentioned in them is by searching the collection for the person’s name rather than manually browsing. For a much more in depth discussion of the background and content of the Numbered Record Books and how to use them, read the National Archives pamphlet for the collection.

Types of records that make up the collection include:

  1. Records of Military Operations and Service
    • Commissions and resignations
    • Oaths of allegiance, fidelity, and office
    • Officers and enlisted men
    • Orderly books
    • Miscellaneous volumes
  2. Records of Pay and Settlement of Accounts
    • Final settlement certificates
    • Letter books of the Paymaster General, Commissioner of Army Accounts, and other officials
    • Miscellaneous volumes
  3. Supply Records
    • Commissary General of Stores and Provisions Department
    • Disbursements in the Quartermaster General’s Department
    • Distribution of supplies in Virginia
    • Letters of Samuel Hodgdon, Commissary General of Military Stores Department
    • Letters of Samuel Hodgdon, officer in the Military Stores Department
    • Letters received of Quartermaster General Timothy Pickering
    • Military stores received and delivered at Philadelphia
    • Military stores received and delivered at various places
    • Miscellaneous activities or supplies of the Commissary General of Military Stores Department
    • Quartermaster supplies or activities of officers of the Quartermaster General’s Department
    • Receipt books of Samuel Hodgdon, Commissary General of Military Stores Department
    • Various books of Samuel Hodgdon, Commissary General of Military Stores Department
    • Volumes of estimates

Have you found any of your ancestors in the Numbered Record Books? Let us know about it! You can also search for your ancestors in Fold3’s other titles in the Revolutionary War Collection.


  1. George F. Locke says:

    Were any Revolutionary records kept pertaining to the disposition and possible trial of those labeled as deserters? There is a record of one William Lock who was remanded to Harford County, Maryland for desertion, but I find no other record explaining who this William Lock was or what happened to him (Court Marshall, Pardon, execution, etc.) My ancestor’s name was also William Lock, but I do not think it is my ancestor because he lived an otherwise normal life after the war, but I can not be certain, unless I can clearly identify who the remanded William Lock was. Any help in identifying source mater for this kind of record would be most appreciated.
    George F. Locke
    Raleigh, North Carolina.

  2. jim gordon says:

    It’s unlikiely that WilliM

  3. jim gordon says:

    It’s unlikely William Lock the deserter was ever brought to justice. It’s also likely that he could be your ancestor. Most “deserters” simply tired of the miiitary life and simply too off one night and went home. When they cam home, either no one asked questions of they simply said their enlistment was up. I

  4. John Rennolds says:

    Are there any records of militia soldiers who were assigned to regular army units. My 4 times great-grandfather was assigned to the Staff of Gen Laffette due to the fact his wife, the widow LaFont, was French and he spoke French and English fluently. His name was Sthreshley Rennolds and he had the rank of Captain.

  5. Owen Stea says:

    Looking for rosters of 2nd and 3rd PA who wintered over at Valley Forge

  6. Tracey says:

    Looking for information on Paymaster David Jeffers in Boston.

  7. Paul Koenen says:

    I also have an ancestor who is listed as a “deserter”. From my research, it sounds like a rather large percent of Revolutionary War soldiers ended their service by deserting. Something like 25%. As for my ancestor, Philip Carrier, he was a South Hadley militiaman with the Minutemen. He served in the continental army for close to 5 years, and in his last year, he is listed as deserting and re-joining his unit about 3 times in one year. The stigma of being a deserter doesn’t seem to be here, and the apparent ease of re-joining makes you think that his status was not like our modern day “Deserter”.

    • George F. Locke says:

      That’s part of my mystery. I can only find the records for desertion, no other records of service, no enlistments, no pay stub, nothing. My William Lock would have been 55 years old living in Baltimore when the war started, so I’m not even sure that the William Lock Record is for him. I would be nice if I could find some other documentation one way or the other to help nail this down.

    • Mary says:

      I don’t have a lot of time to research but I did find one document that lists my many xs great grandfather as being minuteman.
      I haven’t found a lot of information listing names etc about the minute men.
      His name was John Harrison born in 1760 Va
      Any help would be appreciated
      Thank you

  8. L. C. Keller says:

    I’ve read that many deserted to go home to tend to the crops, etc. then rejoined when they could.

  9. Abraham Jacobus Swartwout says:

    Looking for any information Abraham Jacobus Swartwout.

  10. Sylvia Morgan Auten says:

    My ancestor, George Cline, (Klein) came from Germany and fought with George Washington, but I would like to know what battles and when he left for the Ohio Valley.
    That is where he settled and that is where I was born. He was married in Ulster County, N.York to Susannah Buck who also immigrated at the same time.

  11. judy cook says:

    my 5xtimes g grandfather major thomas finson fought at bunker hill during the revoultionary war. he is buried at fitz cementery in auburn, me. i have seen his tomestone thru find a amazing to find family that goes that far back. judith cook

  12. Ron Sanders says:

    Ihavelocated My ancestor Amon Hale along with his brother as serving during the revolutionary war. One reference found him as a sentry at an arsenal. He later settled in Tennesswe.

  13. bob feldman says:

    officer, French descent, possibly Canadian who died at Battle of Germantown last name Allard