Civil War Quick Tip: Checking a Federal Census

FBGenCircleLogo1Just a reminder when checking U.S. Federal Censuses the 1910 and 1930 United States Federal Censuses did ask a specific question about military service. If your Civil War ancestor was enumerated in either of those years be sure you’ve checked to see his answer.

On the 1910 United States Federal Census the question was – Is the person a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy?

On the 1930 United States Federal Census the question was – Is the person a veteran of the U.S. military or naval forces mobilized for any war or expedition? If yes, which war or expedition?

Enumerators were to enter “WW” for World War I, “Sp” for the Spanish-American War, “Civ” for the Civil War, “Phil” for the Philippine insurrection, “Box” for the Boxer rebellion, or “Mex” for the Mexican expedition.

Sometimes in checking a federal census we don’t read the answers to all the questions especially if they’re listed to the far right on the page.

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!

My Civil War Research began with George Washington

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

George Washington Lowery that is! He’s my g-g-grandfather who fought in the Civil War. He was 38 years old, with six children when he joined the 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in July 1864. After brief military training he joined the 81st in Petersburg, VA, during that long nine month siege. In the following spring of 1865 the war again heated up. During the last few days of March and the first week of April, my g-g-grandfather George Washington Lowery along with much of the Second Corps, pursued General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Norther Virginia, west across the state.

My ancestor saw more fighting in one week than the previous months combined. They battled the Confederates at Five Forks and Sutherland Station. They clashed at High Bridge and then onto Farmville where a battle at the Cumberland Church on April 7, 1865 left G. W. Lowery wounded in the chest. Just two days before Appomattox.

Thankfully I can say my story doesn’t end there on a battlefield in central Virginia. My Civil War soldier was sent to Carver Hospital in Washington and two months later recovered enough to be discharged. He was mustered out of the army two weeks after that. The war for him was finally over.

George Washington Lowery went home to Franklin County, Pennsylvania and resumed his life. Good thing, because my great-grandfather Charles was born to George W. and his wife Barbara in 1871, six years after the end of the Civil War.

Ancestors In A Nation Divided

I’ll bet George would be surprised to learn my search to know more about his Civil War service turned into regular blog posts and even a book!

If you’re interested in learning more of your Civil War ancestor’s story check out Ancestors In A Nation Divided – Kindle. Also in paperback. Great research help as you seek your veteran’s place in our country’s history.

What was the Life of a Company Musician or Bugler like in the Civil War?

Bugle Call

Photo Credit: by coloniera2

As hard as it may be for us to grasp today, music was an essential part of life during the Civil War. Bands were very popular in the mid 1860′s, so much so that in the early years of the war Union infantry and cavalry regiments had their own brass bands. While officers were busy recruiting soldiers as they raised their new units, they were also recruiting musicians. A quality band helped boost a regiment’s enlistment numbers.

By August of 1861 it was a requirement from the War Department in General Order 49, that each company have two musicians and all company musicians would come together to form a regimental band. The instruments in a band could include trumpets, coronets, flugels or keyed bugles, saxhorns, trombones and tubas.

These bands provided music in camp which boosted morale, helped ease homesickness and provided entertainment. When troops were camped for long periods of time in one place bands played concerts for the soldiers. Band members would try to show off their musical skills at these times with difficult pieces.

There were several instances when Union and Confederate troops camped so close together the bands “played against each other” throughout an evening before battle. Often the bands played during actual fighting. While performing at the back of the line it’s said that their music helped “rally the troops”. Continue reading

Crafting Genealogy: We’re Not Calling it Scrapbooking It’s Memory Keeping Updated!

Memory Keeping Updated!

Memory Keeping Updated!

Welcome back! This time in Crafting Genealogy we’re going to collect our photos, our memories and put them in a scrapbook, but this isn’t the scrapbooking you may remember from a few years back! Nope this process doesn’t involve the overwhelming task of creating works of art for one photo on one scrapbook page. Today’s scrapbooking is much simpler and doesn’t even require adhesive if you don’t want it to! The crafting world calls it #ProjectLife. I call it fun and easy.

My variation of #ProjectLife is getting photos into an album with as much journaling about the photo(s) as you want. It’s your preference there isn’t a wrong way to do this. The main objective is to get our pictures off our memory card and into albums where everyone can enjoy them.

Here’s the supplies we’re going to need:

* 8”x8” photo album – It can be a two ring binder type or a post-bound album. It can also be another size like 12”x12” album but I want to start out small and work up from here.
* Refill pages that fit your album. I bought one refill package with pages that held two 6”x4” pics and another package for four 4”x4” photos.
* ProjectLife journaling cards – I used a coupon* and bought a small box of these but I also have tons of scrapbook paper and cut some of my own journaling cards into 6”x4” and 4”x4” sizes.
* Photos – All photos I used here have been scanned and saved to my genealogy file on my laptop.
* Pen (for journaling)
* Paper cutter, corner rounder (optional)

Gathering our supplies

Gathering our supplies

So the first thing I did was decide what photos I wanted to use. I chose my childhood pics to put in this album. Once I gathered them all together I put them in chronological order. From there it was choosing what album refill pages to use. I eyeballed the size of my photos and put them accordingly in the album pages I bought. My childhood pics are all sizes from 4”x3” to 5”x5” and some 6”x4” scattered in.

Now the best part of this is just sliding your pics in the page openings. No adhesive, no gluing. I chose to slide a journaling card behind some of the smaller pics to give them a background and take up some room but you don’t have to. I also used my corner-rounder and rounded the corners on all the scrapbook papers/journaling cards I cut. Since the few journaling cards I bought had rounded corners it gave them the same appearance throughout my album but that’s optional.

You can cut your own journaling cards from scrapbook paper

You can cut your own journaling cards from scrapbook paper

On each page I left a photo opening for a journaling card to write about the pics on that page. All pics have at least the people in the photo and approximate dates journaled. My mom (God bless her) did put names and dates on the back of many of my baby pics. Those without dates I gave my best educated guess. If you look closer at a couple of the pages, I printed the photo info on labels and placed them close to the pic. I did that as an additional journaling option for you. Actually I think we should hand write all this info into our albums even if we think we have terrible handwriting (I know I do). I’m sure future generations will be happy to see our actual writing especially from this high-tech era we live in.

Just slide your photos and journaling cards into the openings.

Just slide your photos and journaling cards into the openings.

I also believe it’s really important to journal as you insert your photos. Besides names, dates, places add whatever tidbits of info you remember. Get it written down. I have a family photo of me, my parents and five siblings taken about 25 years ago. No date, no idea why we were all together and the pic was taken at my house!!! I’m sure I thought I’d never forget this occasion (especially since I hosted it) so I didn’t write it on the photo. Ugh! My guess is that we were celebrating my parent’s wedding anniversary, looking at how we’re dressed and the time of year but that’s just a guess. So write as much info down as you can! If you have a lot of information try slipping a card slightly smaller with the information behind the pic. Or your journaling card can be folded in two and slipped in the album. Just don’t lose that valuable family memory.

Now the great part of this scrapbooking is you don’t need to glue anything down. I can always pull these pics out of the page if needed. Especially if I want to see my mom’s hand writing on the back. I will say when I put together an album of current photos I usually adhere them to the background card. Since they’re digital pics to begin with I can get an exact copy made easily, which of course I can’t do with the old photos.

Another thought would be to use the full size 8”x8” page that comes with your album to add your children’s art work, larger photos, certificates, etc. to your album.


Viola! Enjoy your finished album!

A nice option with this type of scrapbooking is that you don’t need to labor over lay-outs and try to be more creative with each page. You can put photos in an album, with journaling which adds a little bit of flair. Yet if you want to be more creative with your journaling cards you can. If you have a stash of scrapbook supplies add some of your rub-ons, stickers or ribbon to your journaling cards. The amount of time and effort involved is up to you.

This type of scrapbooking also makes a great gift. My genea-buddy sister and I made a scrapbook for our older sister celebrating her 75th birthday. The two of us spent two evenings putting together pages of photos with journaling through her 75 years for her scrapbook. She loved it. Her children loved it. I’ll bet we were thanked a dozen times for this gift.

So what I’m hoping you’ll do is print your Instagram photos (4”x4”), your cell phone pics, the photographs on your memory card and get those family moments in an album for everyone to enjoy. Journal about them. Don’t we all wish our great grandparents had done that with their photos? You’ll love your finished albums, your family will love them and your great grandchildren will one day have a precious family heirloom.

Have fun Crafting Genealogy!

* I always use my 40% off whether I’m at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnne’s, etc.

P.S. For additional ideas and inspiration just Google #ProjectLife. There are lots of images, blogs and tips to help with your album.