People are talking about Ancestors In A Nation Divided!


People are talking about Ancestors In A Nation Divided! Here’s what they’re saying!

I HIGHLY recommend this book for Civil War genealogy research! Ancestors In A Nation Divided . . . @geneabloggers

MUST READ: Ancestors In A Nation Divided – An In-Depth Guide To Civil War Research by Cindy Freed . . . @VHughesAuthor

If you’re interested in researching your Civil War ancestor check out Ancestors In A Nation Divided – available in Kindle and also in paperback. Valuable research help as you seek your veteran’s place in our country’s history.

My Evening with the Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War

Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War

Our guide Patty with the Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War tour

Two weeks ago I was in Gettysburg attending the national convention of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861 – 1865. It was a fun five days filled with convention happenings, battlefield trips and I even snuck in a little bit of genealogy research.

One of the highlights of the entire trip was a tour our little group took. We decided against a ghost tour. (I’ve been on two ghost tours in Gettysburg and never saw a ghost. Darn!) So we took the tour “The Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War”

Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War

This building still has the visible damage it received during the battle in 1863

Let me tell you it was excellent! Our guide Patty was in period dress and took us to see several homes of heroic local women who courageously worked amid the devastation of their town. As widows, teens or with their husbands gone off to war, these women aided both Union and Confederate wounded. They nursed hundreds of soldiers left behind in field hospitals and locations around the area. They buried the dead and worked to rebuild their damaged homes and businesses.

Some of the women highlighted in the tour are:

Lydia Liester – sold horse bones to put her farm back in pre-war condition

Josephine Miller – called the “Bravest Woman in Gettysburg”

Cornelia Hancock – youngest Union Civil War nurse

Lydia Hamilton Smith – collected food and clothing donations for field hospitals and donated her life savings

Liz Butler – Black woman captured by the Confederate Army

Elizabeth Thorn – wife of keeper of Evergreen Cemetery who buried 105 soldiers

Sallie Pickett – wife of Confederate General George Pickett

Jennie Wade – only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg

Georgia McClellan – sister of Jennie Wade who worked as a Union nurse in Washington, D.C. to name just a few.

Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War

Our group listening to guide Patty. We’re across the street from Jenny Wade’s home.

Let me tell you my little group enjoyed our tour immensely. Our guide was well prepared and spoke knowledgeably on each of her subjects. We were happy with every aspect of our tour. If you are ever in Gettysburg I highly recommend you check it out.

Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War
Gravedigger tours – The Great T-Shirt Company
65 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325

In fact because we were so interested in the women discussed during the tour our guide Patty emailed me the list of names of the women and a list of reading material. Many of these books are wriiten by the women about their post battle experiences. With Patty’s permission here is that list.


South After Gettysburg, Letters of Cornelia Hancock 1863-1865
by Cornelia Hancock

At Gettysburg or What a Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle
by Mrs. Matilda (Tillie Pierce) Alleman

The Diary of a Lady of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: From June 15 to July 15, 1863
by Pennsylvania Lady of Gettysburg (1863) Sarah Broadhead

The Ties of the Past The Gettysburg Diary of Salome (Sallie) Myers Stewart 1854-1922
by Sarah Sites Thomas

The Shrivers Story
by Nancie W. Gudmestad

They Fought Like Demons Women Soldiers in the Civil War
by Deanne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook

Women at Gettysburg 1863
By Eileen F. Conklin

Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War

Our final stop during the Women of Gettysburg – Heroines of the Civil War tour

Segregation in Death Gettysburg Lincoln Cemetery
by Betty Dorsey Myers available by mail order
Lincoln Cemetery Project Foundation
408 Long Lane
Gettysburg, PA 17325 send $18.00 ($15 for book and $3 shipping)

Thank you Patty for your friendliness, an awesome tour and the chance to continue learning about the Women of Gettysburg.

Do You Have a “Special Research Project”?

Pvt James R Van Meter

Pvt James R Van Meter

As family historians we all have niches in research we tend toward. A favorite ancestor or maybe an era in history we love to research. We might even have a “special research project” saved for when we have more time, money, vacation, etc.

Several years ago I was wandering a cemetery looking at family headstones and noticed a lone grave of a Civil War soldier. His marker was engraved with an eagle and the inscription “Rest Soldier Thy Warfare is Ore”. Oddly enough his surname was one in my family tree but I knew he wasn’t a direct ancestor. When I saw he was only 21 years old when he died I decided to learn about him.

I needed to find out about this young man who died in during the Civil War. Had he been shot in battle? I wondered if he had a wife? Did he leave children? My instinct was that he didn’t and even though I’m sure he was mourned by his parents and siblings it wasn’t too many years later that his name probably wasn’t mentioned again. Not out of malice of course – life goes on. Parents pass away, siblings marry and have families of their own. Brothers who died in the war are mentioned as a passing comment.

So here I was 140+ years after this young soldier’s death, kneeling next to his headstone, telling him I’d learn about his life and he’d never be forgotten. At that moment he became my special project.

imageDo you have a Civil War ancestor you’d like to research? Not sure where to begin? Ancestors In A Nation Divided will guide you through the steps of researching your Civil War ancestor. From the beginning if you only have a name – to an in-depth search of his military and post-war life. This book will take you through the process step-by-step. Ancestors In A Nation Divided – Kindle. Also in paperback. Great research help in learning more about your Civil War veteran’s life.

The June issue of Going In-Depth is available!!

Going In-Depth is the free digital genealogy magazine presented by The In-Depth Genealogist. In each monthly issue, you’ll find guest articles, regular columns, and free resources such as Ask Ephraim and MIAA to help you along your family history journey. As with all IDG products, they strive to create a resource for every genealogist, no matter the age, stage, or focus of your research.

My article this month is Civil War POWs and listed on the cover! Click the magazine photo to start reading excellent genealogy research ideas for free!

George S. Van Meter #52 Ancestors

#52 Ancestors in 52 WeeksWith Memorial Day only one week away I thought I’d dedicate my #52 Ancestors post to the Civil War veterans in my family. Memorial Day originally called Decoration Day was set aside to honor and remember Civil War soldiers. Today we remember all veterans who have served our country through the decades. Since I’ve already written about my direct ancestor George W. Lowery here my next couple #52 Ancestors posts will remember my first cousins 4x removed who both fought and died in the Civil War, James and George Van Meter.

George S. Vanmeter born in 1841 was the third of seven children to parents John and Rachel Stevenson Vanmeter. John and Rachel had deep roots in Putnam County, Ohio. Both were born there, they married there and started their family there nestled in a prosperous farming community. (John’s brother James is my 3x great grandfather.)

George’s closest friend and playmate growing up may well have been his brother James. Only 22 months younger, I’ll bet James and George were close. Their reliance on each other may have been strengthened when the family left their home, grandparents, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins to live in Lucas County, Ohio. Quite a distance from their relatives and friends, the family farmed in their new location. Their close family ties came to a screeching halt when John the family patriarch died in 1851.

Cannon at Battle of Five Forks Virginia

Cannon at Battle of Five Forks Virginia
Photo Credit: Cindy Freed

George was only 10 years old when his father died. Along with his siblings he brought his father’s body back to Putnam County to be buried. Laid to rest among family members John Vanmeter’s death rocked this family to its very core.

Mother Rachel could not support her seven children ranging in age from 13 years to baby John just over one year old. The children were sent to live with aunts and uncles in the area. Their family was broken apart.

George and James lived in different households for a few years. Living with extended family I think they were able to see each other at church and other gatherings. Yet those years separated didn’t diminish their brotherly love. Continue reading