Whether you have watched it on iTunes or viewed it the regular old way on TV I found Kelly Clarkson’s journey to learn more about her Civil War ancestor incredible!
Her pride in her ancestor’s life from enlistment, to POW, to escape is very real and one we’ve probably all experienced a time or two during our own research. One thing I couldn’t help but wonder as I watched Kelly’s eyes grow big at each discovery is if we’ve all felt a little let down by our own ancestor’s lives. In not finding a big WOW! event have we been a little disappointed in our ancestor’s? Without an Andersonville prison and escape, a county sheriff or State Senate stint to speak of have we yearned for a little more excitement in our own family history? I have!
That is until I looked a little closer. I did a little research and found some pretty hair-raising events during my veteran’s service. So let’s take our own Civil War ancestor. He enlisted, he fought, he came home. Maybe had an injury. Nothing big. Went in a private came out a private. Right? But take that a little further and search his Regiment online.
My ancestor fought with the 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from July 1864 to April 1865. A rather short amount of time but I find my 2x great grandfather was part of the pursuit of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia across the state of Virginia. My guy saw more fighting in one week than the previous months combined. He was a part of the final days of the Civil War! He saw first hand the stress, the fatigue and the gruesomeness of fighting. In fact to borrow a word used last night what my 2x great grandfather participated in was “epic”.
I’ll bet with a little research on the regimental history of your Civil War ancestor you’ll find he witnessed or participated in some major historical events. Even if he spent a good deal of time in a field hospital with lung disease or went AWOL to harvest crops your guy was a part of one of the most significant events in our nation’s history. Just look a little further than battles and dates.
Your veteran’s life may not land you an episode on Who Do You Think You Are? but it could be several episodes on your blog or website. His participation in such an historical event would then be e-documented for the world to view and recorded for all time. Even for your future generations! I’d say that’s “epic”!