About U.S., World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949
This database contains U.S. Navy muster rolls and associated reports of changes for U.S. Navy enlisted personnel who served on U.S. Navy ships or in other naval activities between 31 January 1938 and 31 December 1949. Over 33 million records are contained in this database.
Muster rolls were quarterly lists of enlisted naval personnel attached to each ship, station or activity. Information usually available on muster rolls includes:
- Name of enlistee
- Rating (occupation/specialty)
- Service number
- Date reported for particular duty or on board
- Date of enlistment
- Name of ship, station or activity
- Ship number or other numeric designation
- Date of muster roll
It will be necessary to view the image of the muster rolls in order to obtain most of this information. Some of the records for personnel on aircraft carriers also include corresponding images of the ship.
Reports of changes were compiled monthly and are found in between each quarter's muster roll. They were alphabetical listings of enlisted personnel who were subject to significant status changes during the month. Status changes included reporting to or transferring from the activity, promotions or demotions, change in rate, departing for or returning from leave, temporary attached duty, and formal inpatient status for treatment in a medical facility. Personnel deaths that occurred during the month were also recorded on these reports. Information usually available on these records includes:
- Name of enlistee
- Date of the change
- Explanation of the change
The rolls may also list passengers aboard naval vessels, and officers may be found among passengers on troop transports. Women (including officers) of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps may be found on medical ships and as passengers aboard Navy ships and at some Navy shore installations. Wives and children of Navy personnel, as well as civilians, can be found among passengers as well.
With an eye to the worsening situation in Europe, the United States authorized expansion to a "two ocean Navy" in July 1940, which led to rapid and massive increases in numbers of ships and personnel. The Navy's ranks totaled 126,418 in September 1939. By the time Pearl Harbor was attacked on 4 December 1941, this had more than doubled to 325,095. By the end of the war, that number would increase more than 10 times to over 3.4 million. In that final total, from 2 September 1945, 93,064 were women.
Using This Collection
Ship images have been indexed, but the shore images have not been indexed. Images may be browsed by ship or shore, then ship, station or activity, then by roll description.