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

Vintage camera on tripod

Photo Credit: nfocus at freeimages.com

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 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print                                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

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

I have another vintage family photo story for you. This one just a little bit embarrassing on my part.

 

 

So I’m going through my craft stuff. If you read my post last Saturday you’ll know why I’m combing through my craft supplies.

 

 

Anyway I have a small box of family pics I use just for crafts. They’re images I’ve printed on my computer or duplicates I’ve made at Walgreen’s just for the purpose of cutting up and using in projects. They’re in with the rest of my supplies so they don’t get mixed up with my genealogy family photos.

 

 

Low and behold at the very bottom of my craft photo box are these two 5×7 black and white pics. My jaw dropped. These people are my 3x great grandparents! I know I have one and only one copy of their photo and it’s here in my craft box not scanned and placed in a digital file or at the very least in their binder.

 

 

Holy Moly!! I have no idea how they crept in here among my crafts but thank heavens I caught them before they became part of next week’s Crafting Genealogy. Me who rejoiced less than a week ago over some new found family pics am storing my great great great grandparents among my craft stuff in the basement!!

 

Before I go on I do want to take a minute and tell you who they are.

Silas Williams was born 20 Aug 1796 in Bucks County, PA. His father Abel was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin on 15 July 1819 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. She was born 20 May 1799 in Fayette County, PA. They had eleven children.

 

 

Sarah Lappin Williams

Sarah Lappin Williams

Silas and Sarah donated some of their land in Tuscarawas County for a church to be built and to this day their photos hang in the back of the church. That’s how me and my genea-sisters were able to get these photos. Silas died 1 Oct 1848 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and Sarah passed 11 Sept 1839 also in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

 

 

Just a thought if these folks sound the least bit familiar to you contact me at cindy@genealogycircle.com With eleven children I must have a ton of distant cousins out there!

 

 

So let this be a lesson to one and all. Don’t let your 3x great grandparents out of your sight. Who knows where they’ll end up!

Now I’m off to scan these old people and make more copies.

 

 

Have you misplaced your ancestors? I hope you’ve found them! If so tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to know I’m not the only one about to lose my genealogy card over this! :)

A Genealogist’s Worst Nightmare Came True!

Just one of the wet boxes in the basement. You can see the cat food that floated around too!

Just one of the wet boxes in the basement. You can see the cat food that floated around too!

Hi genealogy friends! You may have noticed a small lapse recently in postings on my blog. Along with my husband and daughter we took off for a much anticipated vacation to sunny Florida. We were visiting one of my older daughters and husband with a side trip to the Civil War’s Chickasaw battlefield.

We had a great time! Much to my surprise and joy my other daughter and her husband flew in to Florida from California to join us. We had a great time. What a wonderful vacation. That is until Mother Nature stepped in. Back home it rained for several days with one final stormy torrent. Neighbors said it rained about two inches in just about an hour. The ground was already saturated and the water had no where to go. That is except for our basement. Our neighbor checked our house to find the basement was flooding. We reluctantly cut our vacation short to come home and clean up.

Ripping out the drywall about 3 ft up

Ripping out the wet drywall about 3 ft up

Our flooding problems weren’t as bad as others yet we still tore out carpet, paneling and drywall. We threw away a sofa, two chairs and an entertainment center but the heartbreaking loss was the boxes of family photos I had stored on the floor in the basement closet. Continue reading

An Up Close Look at Some Civil War Veterans

I thought I’d follow up on yesterday’s post and DUVCW Tent 23 photo. Please take a moment to read the post and look at the entire photo here. I’m so taken by the veterans sitting proudly in the front row of the photo I thought I’d add some close ups of the men in today’s post.

 

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Look at their medals worn with honor! I especially like that the man on the right has his uniform on.

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

The man on the right in this photo not only has his uniform on but also his hat! I mentioned yesterday that his daughter or granddaughter lovingly has her hand on his shoulder. In this up close view there are two hands on his shoulders.

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

These men are well into their eighties but I’ll bet they came together to remember fallen comrades and honor their memory.

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

Civil War Veterans 1923 Lima, OH

I don’t know who the lady is. Perhaps the tent’s first president? But even today our members have the same medals for Tent President, Dept. President, etc.

If you can help me identify any of the men, the medals or uniforms I would appreciate it! Please leave me a comment! Thanks!

Easter with a Canned Ham!

family memories, family story, genealogy, Easter

Easter egg hunt 1968


Easter this year was a quiet day. With my older kids in far away lands like California and Florida there were just four of us at the dinner table with me, my husband, daughter and dear family friend. I fixed a very traditional Easter meal with ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, pineapple up-side-down cake, you know the drill. So after our delicious meal my daughter took off for parts unknown, her bedroom to be exact and the three adults reminisced about Easters past.

Coloring eggs, eggs hunts in the yard, new clothes were all talked about and then we hit on everyone’s all-time favorite – the canned ham!! Yes we all had memories of our moms at the kitchen counter with that oval shaped tin. Watching her delicately but deliberately rock that metal key back and forth to get it off the side. Then the task of hooking that key on the metal tab of the can. As kids we’d inch closer to see this sight but Mom would tell us to stand back!! Who knew what would happen if this canned ham went berserk!! Continue reading