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Geoff Liesik, Deseret News
Civil War re-enactor Val Spruell, of Vernal, poses with his 12-pound Confederate Napolean cannon after a firing demonstration Sunday, April 14, 2013, at the Buckskin Hills Complex in Uintah County.

In honor of Memorial Day, FamilySearch.org has released a new online collection of Civil War historic records that features aids for those researching casualties and veterans of the Civil War.

The collection is available at FamilySearch.org/civil-war.

The landing page offers a summary of the historic records and aids and caters to those researching casualties and veterans of the Civil War. The collection also includes Union and Confederate pension, prisoner of war, cemetery, National Soldier Home and census records.

According to the release, more than three million soldiers fought and an estimated 620,000 died in the Civil War. After the war, families of the deceased created a day of observance to honor the servicemen, and they placed flowers on their graves.

The first official observance of Decoration Day was May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. Decoration Day was officially established as Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law in 1971.

Visitors can preserve historic photos, stories and correspondence of family members who served in other military wars at FamilySearch.org.

"Each soldier family has a story, and these stories are handed down from generation to generation," said Ken Nelson, collection manager for FamilySearch. "When you want to get the particulars of what that service was, you start going to these government records that document the service."

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone