It is Bigger Than Ourselves!

Plate of pasta

Photo Credit: brokenarts at

My husband, daughter and I had a delicious meal this past Sunday. We attended the “CIAO” dinner that’s hosted every year on Palm Sunday at our city’s civic center. “CIAO’ stands for Charitable Italian American Organization. For 27 years the group has served thousands of meals with proceeds going to scholarships for area high school seniors and other worthy causes.

As my little family enjoyed our pasta and meatballs my husband mentioned how everyone in the CIAO community was working to make this event the overwhelming success that it was. From middle school and high school kids that were busing and washing tables, to the kids’ parents who had cooked and were serving the meal, and the grandparents that were selling tickets and cannoli. The Italian community had come together to host another outstanding event.

You know the first thing that came to my mind at my husband’s observation was our genealogy community. Even though we seek and search on an individual basis it’s the work of the entire genealogical community that allows us our great genealogy finds. From those who have diligently scanned and digitized records for online publication, to those who acquire and maintain valuable information at repositories we could not achieve any measure of genealogy success without their hard work.

There’s the seldom noticed efforts of our local genealogy societies. Many volunteers spend lots of personal time managing a society from minutes, to dues, to programs all in an effort to bring attendees pertinent research info. More so I can’t begin to imagine the volunteer work that goes into the state and national workshops held over several days on a yearly basis.

Then there’s those who research and write books with detailed explanations to help any level of researcher. Whether we’re researching a military ancestor or our Irish heritage. There’s a book for that! Their expertise is invaluable to the new or avid researcher.

I’m thankful for the information and tips I’ve acquired from family historians and genealogists who take the time and make the effort to maintain blogs and websites. I know firsthand the work that goes into each and every blog post!

So as I appreciate a local civic organization coming together working as a whole to benefit my community, I know I’m a part of something bigger too. A community of individuals teaching, sharing and encouraging anyone with an interest in genealogy. It’s a wonderful, diverse genealogy community we belong to and whether we choose to take our passion to a higher, professional achievement level or enjoy it as a hobby, all genealogists and family historians bring something to the table. We always need to respect each individual’s choice in how they approach their personal research.

So in the words of my genealogy friend Dante Eubanks, “Collaboration, communication, & support!” It’s essential in our genealogy community as we move forward together and support each other to reach our common goals.

Charles H Lowery #52 Ancestors

Charles Henry Lowery

Charles H Lowery

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is about my great-grandfather Charles Henry Lowery. Charles is the son of my Civil War veteran George Washington Lowery and Barbara Ann Lowe. Charles was born 2 Sept 1872, in Sandusky County, Ohio. He married Sudie Louisa Barron on 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

Charles and Sudie had ten children. My grandfather Basil was their third child.

Charles worked on the railroad which caused the family to move from Henry County, Ohio to Allen County, Ohio and finally Lenawee County, Michigan. By the time the family moved to Michigan a couple of the older children had married. My grandfather Basil was one of them. He didn’t make the move to Michigan and stayed in Allen County, Ohio with his young family.

(You might be interested in a quick look back at wife Sudie’s #52 Ancestors post. It tells a tale about Charles and their family life!)

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles H Lowery and goat

Charles was my mother’s paternal grandfather. She would remember how her grandfather Charles boasted of his Ohio grandchildren whenever they made the trip to Michigan for a visit. He’d buy them penny candy and it would be waiting their arrival in a brown paper bag. My mom remembered him fondly.

I know my family attended Lowery family reunions in Michigan way back when. I wish I had been there. I’d love to know all of those stories today.

Charles passed away 13 Mar 1946 in Washtenew County, MI. He was 73 years old.

Where Do I Find My Civil War Ancestor’s Photo?

Vintage camera on tripod

Photo Credit: nfocus at

A photo of your Civil War ancestor is a prized possession for any genealogist or family historian. If it’s a picture of your veteran in uniform it’s a double bonus! Unfortunately I don’t fall into this category. I don’t have a single photo of my Civil War great great grandfather in uniform or even later in life. I’m bummed about this but all is not lost. There are many online repositories bursting with Civil War pics. Possibly with one I’m looking for. So let’s take a look at a few.


One of the first and best places to look is the United States Army Military History Institute. Known as the MOLLUS-Massachusetts collection of Civil War photographic prints (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States-Massachusetts chapter) this collection was gathered by former Union officers in the 1880s. With more than 23,000 images of the Civil War you can spend days browsing this collection.

Search first for your ancestor by surname. They claim 80% of the photos in their collection are identified but there’s the chance you won’t find your guy. Next you might type in the regiment your ancestor served with. I put in the 81st Pennsylvania and 20 photos came up. None of my ancestor, but I was pleasantly surprised I got that many hits. Lots of the identified photos are of prominent generals like Grant, Lee and Sherman but there were scads of less recognized officers as well.


Slave Quarters

Slaves Quarters Photo Credit: Gladstone Collection of African American Photographs Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division                                No known restrictions on publication.


Next I tried searching particular battles my ancestor fought as well as plugging in infantry or cavalry. There were tons of these pics to give me a better idea of what a soldier’s life was like from camp to the uniform he wore.


Another excellent resource is the Library of Congress. They have about 7,000 glass plate negatives made by Matthew Brady’s studio photographers. Brady set out to document the war with his staff of photographers and achieved much more than that. He exposed the brutality and carnage of this conflict in a way never before seen by the every day citizen.


I struck out on both surname and regiment but when I put in Virginia I got a list of all the views available and looked at numerous prints of Petersburg where my grandfather was entrenched for months. I also found photos of High Bridge where a small skirmish took place before my ancestor was shot. It was meaningful for me to see these places as he would have seen them. Continue reading

Civil War Quick Tip When Researching Your Civil War Ancestor

FBGenCircleLogo1Here’s a comprehensive resource to check out when researching your Civil War Veteran. Whether he’s a Confederate or Union soldier this page will give you new insight into your ancestor’s experiences.

The site, Home of the American Civil War has a variety of links for your Civil War research. You’ll find letters and essays, info on Civil War Medicine, naval info and the list goes on and on. Once you click a subject it’s like going down a rabbit hole. There are many more topics and links for you to explore. I hope you’ll stop by and check out Home of the American Civil War. I know you’ll find it helpful!

Also I’d love for you to sign up for my monthly tipsCivil War Research Tips here. I’ll share pointers and info to help in researching your Civil War ancestor. Please take a moment to sign up and thanks so much!

Sudie Louisa Barron #52 Ancestors

Sudie Louisa Barron

Sudie Louisa Barron

This is my great-grandmother, Sudie Louisa Barron. She was born 11 Jan 1874 in Marion Twp., Henry County, Ohio. Her parents were Rachel Golden (Golding) and Thomas Barron. Sudie was the second youngest of nine children. I’ve found her referred to as Susan in censuses but she’s always Sudie in our handwritten family histories.

She married Charles Henry Lowery 30 Oct 1892 in Henry County, Ohio.

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother. The only story I have ever been told about Sudie is one of decisiveness, she was a strong-minded woman.

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles Lowery, Sudie Barron and grandkids

Charles worked for the railroad, which brought Sudie, Charles and their eight children to Allen County, Ohio. They lived there long enough to have a couple more children and two of the older children married. My grandfather Basil being one of them.

As it happened, Charles’ railroad work took him to Michigan. Sudie stayed in Ohio with the children and Charles would send money back to her. As time went on Charles’ visits as well as the paychecks decreased.

Sudie heard rumors of Charles and some carrying-on in Michigan and decided to pack up the children and head north. I guess Charles was more than a little surprised to see Sudie and their passel of children on his boarding house porch when he came home from work that day. I can only imagine their conversation that evening.

Yep, she was a decisive strong-minded woman. I’ll bet Charles thought so too that day!

She died 19 Mar 1943 in Adrain, Lenawee County, MI. She was 69 years old.