Understanding the evolution of microstructure in welds is an important goal of welding research because of the strong correlation between weld microstructure and weld properties. To achieve this goal it is important to develop a quantitative measure of phase transformations encountered during welding in order to ultimately develop methods for predicting weld microstructures from the characteristics of the welding process. To aid in this effort, synchrotron radiation methods have been developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for direct observations of microstructure evolution during welding. Using intense, highly collimated synchrotron radiation, the atomic structure of the weld heat affected and fusion zones can be probed in real time. Two synchrotron-based techniques have been developed for these investigations, known as spatially resolved (SRXRD) and time resolved (TRXRD) x-ray diffraction, and these techniques have been used to investigate welding induced phase transformations in titanium alloys, low alloy steels, and stainless steel alloys. This paper will provide a brief overview of the application of these methods to understand microstructural evolution during the welding of low carbon (AISI 1005) and medium carbon (AISI 1045) steels, where the different levels of carbon influence the starting microstructures and the evolution of microstructures during welding.