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Pre-war Occupations/Nativity

This is a Work In Progress!

(Indexing 86% completed for Occupations and Nativity of soldiers in Vermont units)

With the advent of online access to the Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) for Vermont-named units (via, it has become possible to accumulate additional details on service members not included in the 1892 Revised Roster, specifically pre-war occupations, nativity, height, details on deaths of soldiers (cause and location), minority enlistment permissions, bounties to some extent, enlisting officers (either by name, usually a recruiter, or noted as 'selectmen' from a particular town), etc. (Most Massachusetts units are now online as well).

This phase of the project concentrates on nativity and pre-war occupation. The reason for this is that the towns in the 1892 Revised Roster reflect where the soldier is credited to, not necessarily their residence or place of birth.

Select from the menu on the left:
OccupationsPre-war occupations found (with the number of occurrences included parenthetically)
OccurrenceThe same list, sorted by number of occurrences
TownsOccupations found for soldiers born in or credited to a particular town (all of these listings are incomplete)
UnitsOccupations found for a particular unit (5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th INF and 1st CAV are only 25% complete)
NativityWhat state or country soldiers were born in
By UnitBreakdown of nativity in each unit
DictionaryDefinitions of some of the more arcane mid-1800s occupations listed
DocumentsSamples of the documents used to identify the nativity and occupation of soldiers from the CMSRs
Name SearchSearch the database for a name to get his unit, nativity and prewar occupation

NOTE: the majority of officer records do not include nativity and pre-war occupations; the source for these will be biographies, the 1860 census, vital records, etc.


As of March 27th, we have indexed extracted the prewar occupations of 24,154 of the 25,147 soldiers who served in Vermont units (less Sharpshooters and Frontier Cavalry (26th New York Cavalry), which are not yet available online.

Since Vermont in the mid-1800s was predominantly an agrarian economy, it should come as no surprise that the largest occupation was farmer, to date slightly more than 62.2%. Other occupational communities frequently showing up include business (merchants, clerks, speculators, agents, salesmen, etc.), railroads, lumber, mining, construction, and education (teachers and students). There are even six 'Gentleman,' two 'Phrenologists,' a 'Street Walker,' a 'Rascal' and a 'Scoundrel,' and I am fairly sure the single 'Forger' is not of the criminal persuasion. As of March 27th, there were 360 unique occupations. The following each account for 200 or more soldiers: farmers, laborers, mechanics, carpenters, blacksmiths, clerks, shoemakers, painter, and students, totalling 19,534 out of the 24,154 cataloged to date.


As of March 27th, we have nativity for 28,961 soldiers (24,514 in Vermont units). Four States and five countries account for the overwhelming majority. For Vermont units only, they include Vermont (15942), Canada (2453), New Hampshire (1194), New York (1151), Ireland (1075), Massachusetts (729), England (289), and Germany (108) and Scotland (97).
Looking at it another way, we have also identified Nativity as follows: 16,319 in Vermont, 3,610 in other US States, 2,543 in Canada, 1,735 in Europe (mostly Ireland), 6 in the Caribbean, 6 At Sea, 4 in Asia, 3 in Latin America, and 1 in Australia, with 939 unknown .
WARNING! Before you start spouting statistics for Canadians who fought in the war, remember that this number includes all Vermont soldiers who were born in Canada - those who had immigrated years before the war, and those that came down specifically for the war. It is not the intent of this project to try to define that latter number.