Civil War Quick Tip

FBGenCircleLogo1Starting with tomorrow’s Civil War Saturday post I’m going to run a short series of articles on Civil War heritage groups. Groups like Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), Sons of Union Veterans (SUV), United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW), LGAR, Women’s Relief Corps (WRC), etc.

My aim is to let people know they exist and how to join them. The first three groups to be highlighted are Sons of Confederate Veterans, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and United Daughters of the Confederacy. The SCV post will publish tomorrow.

If you’re a member of a Civil War heritage group not mentioned and would like to write a post about your organization contact me. I’d love to include any and all groups with roots dating back to the Civil War. I’ve already received a couple comments that folks weren’t aware these groups exist. Who knows your group may gain some new members!

Be sure to stop back for Civil War Saturday and we’ll see how the Civil War impacts lives today

P.S. I still need a post from a Son of Union Veterans! Can you help a girl out?

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If you’re interested in researching 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.

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!

John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall – This Week’s #52 Ancestors Meets Up With My Genealogy Road Trip

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

My sisters and I took off for the Daughters of Union Veterans National Convention in Gettysburg last week. We combined our convention with a Genealogy Road Trip.

As we were traveling east from Ohio to Pennsylvania, somewhere between the four and five hour mark, we found Little Beaver Cemetery in Lawrence County, PA.

Here in the beautifully, rolling Pennsylvania countryside is the final resting place of my 4x great grandparents John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall.

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

John Marshall was born in Glendermot, County Down Ireland on 24 January 1765. John’s parents were Patrick and Amanda Boyne Marshall.

John Marshall, Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Hays Marshall, Little Beaver Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Hays Marshall was born in Glencoe, Antrim Ireland on 1 October 1767. Elizabeth’s parents were Robert E. and Phoebe Britton Hays.

John and Elizabeth were the parents of eight children James Hays, John Jr, Mary (aka Polly), Joseph, Elizabeth, Jane, William and Anna. James Hays – the oldest is my 3x great grandfather.

They came to the U.S. between the births of their first and second child settling in Lawrence County Pennsylvania where they lived the rest of their lives. I certainly understand this. It’s a lovely area.

John Marshall died in Little Beaver, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania 26 August 1853. He was 88 years old.

Elizabeth died in Little Beaver, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania 17 May 1854. She was 86 years old.

Pennsylvania must have agreed with them since they both lived to a very nice old age into the 1850s. I also notice Elizabeth died nine months after John. I wonder if that is a coincidence, old age, or she couldn’t go on without him. (I know, I know, I have a fairy tale, romantic streak in me!)

This is the sum total of my info on John and Elizabeth Hays Marshall. If they happen to be in your family tree I’d love for you to contact me! Obviously I don’t have much info to share but I’d love to see yours!!

There were many other Marshalls buried in this same cemetery. After a little research I’ll share them with you. Maybe we can make a connection through them.

Thanks for reading this week’s #52 Ancestors post! See you next time!

Civil War Saturday: No Letters, No Diary, No Problem!

Civil War envelope showing an eagle carrying an American flag in its claw and a serpent in its beak with motto "The early bird catches the worm" below Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print No known restrictions on publication

Civil War envelope showing an eagle carrying an American flag in its claw and a serpent in its beak with motto “The early bird catches the worm” below
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print No known restrictions on publication

Generally our ancestors, before enlisting in the Civil War, stayed within the local community. It’s been written that many men by 1861 had not travelled more than 25 miles from their place of birth. After volunteering these young men, most still teens, found themselves far from home. With a literacy rate high for the time period most young soldiers who could read and write wrote home often. They wanted to share with their family members their daily lives and longed for that same information from home. Many soldiers kept diaries right along with writing letters home. They documented battles, injuries, the inadequacies of camp life. Their words give us a first hand look at the days that tore our nation apart.

If you’re lucky the letters your Civil War ancestor wrote home were preserved by your great grandparents for future generations. Fragile and brittle you may have the penciled words of your Civil War ancestor’s war time experiences. Maybe you’re just as fortunate to have a diary penned by your veteran chronicling his time in service. A small sheaf of papers, protected by a worn leather cover and lovingly treasured by his descendants. Your Civil War ancestor’s diary is a part of this nation’s history. His words a foundation upon which this nation stands today.

Then there are family historians like me. I, nor anyone else in my family has one item, memento, photo or scrap of paper that belonged to my Civil War ancestor. Nada. Nothing. Nyet. So now what? Call it a day and curse the genealogy gods who seemed to be quite amused at throwing together huge, brick walls? Not on your life! There is a way to document the lives our Civil War ancestors lived even if we’re not in possession of their personal letters and diaries. It’ll take some research but that’s what we’re good at, right? So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Continue reading

Civil War Saturday – It’s been 150 years

Sometimes the present takes precedence over the past and that’s what happened with this blog post. I intended to write and publish it last Saturday July 19th but my daughter had an out of town, three-day volleyball tournament. We made some fun family memories and a little family history of our own last weekend and this post easily waited one more week. Here’s what I had planned for last Saturday . . .

You know how we love to mark monumental events in our family’s lives like turning 21 or celebrating 50th birthdays and wedding anniversaries? It’s ingrained in our culture to recognize such events. I’m adding one more to my own list of family birthdays and anniversaries. In fact I’m going to honor it for the next year! It’s the 150th anniversary of my great-great grandfather’s involvement in the Civil War.

On July 19, 1864 – 150 years ago my great-great grandfather George W. Lowery was drafted and mustered in to serve with the 81st Pennsylvania Infantry. He reported to Chambersburg, which is Franklin County’s seat and incidently had been burned a year earlier by Confederate forces.

George was a 37 year old man with six children. A laborer, standing 5’9” tall with dark hair and gray eyes, his description fit most men of the era. His enlistment was for three years.

By September 5, 1864 George was at Camp Biddle in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Camp Biddle was a piece of land northeast of the army post at Carlisle where Civil War draftees and substitutes received their military training. Camp Biddle had recently opened in April 1864 just a few months before George ended up there.

As I remember the Civil War events in George’s life I know questions will pop up. Like Camp Biddle. I’d overlooked that in the past. Now I’m interested in where and what it was. How long was George there and so on.

You can come along with me on this journey. Where was your Civil War ancestor 150 years ago? Sometimes being very specific helps us narrow our research and produce better results. Less distractions. Researching one single topic like Camp Biddle is not as overwhelming as researching the life and times of my Civil War ancestor! Break his service down into manageable pieces and I bet you’ll accomplish more than you imagined.

So whether you research along with me or check in to see what George was doing 150 years ago I hope this helps you take another look at researching your Civil War ancestor.

(1) George W. Lowery, Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldier Who Served in Organizations From the State of Pennsylvania compiled 1899-1927, documenting the period 1861-1866, publication no. M554 (Washington: National Archives), fiche 0073.

Civil War Quick Tip: Really? I was fascinated by this guy’s story

FBGenCircleLogo1A couple of years ago I wrote a monthly article for a local Civil War Roundtable’s newsletter. I was in charge of writing about the next meeting’s speaker. One month the speaker was an acquaintance of mine. His office was one floor below where I worked. It was one of the easier interviews to set up and write.

The guy I was interviewing was easy-going and didn’t know a stranger. After talking about his collection of reproduced Civil War firearms he spoke of his own Civil War ancestor.

His great grandfather had fought with a company raised in our hometown. He survived the war, completing his enlistment, but not without a lasting affect. It seems his great grandfather spent nearly every night after coming home from the war going downtown to a local bar. Then later that evening my friend’s great grandmother went to the bar and brought her drunken husband home.

Apparently this Civil War veteran held a job during the day but needed booze nearly every night to chase the ghosts and ease the pain of his war years. My friend then relayed how the Civil War had a direct impact on his life.

His grandmother, the veteran’s daughter grew up with this drunken father. She was vehemently opposed to drinking throughout her life. Her own daughter, my interview’s mother, was also staunchly against drinking and my friend remembered the many lectures he received about the evils of drinking from both women as he grew up.

It was only later in his life, when this man working well into his retirement years, realized it wasn’t that his mother and grandmother didn’t trust him when it came to drinking. They were hurt by their loved one’s traumatic war experience and how he coped with it. They didn’t want that life for their son and grandson.

I was fascinated by this guy’s story. Who would have thought this man in his early seventies could pin-point how the Civil War had affected his life decades later? Even into the 21st century!

Do you have a similar family practice or belief that’s been passed down through the generations? Can you trace a family habit, good or bad, to a specific ancestor?

Write your story down. Blog about it, even if it’s only two paragraphs long. Don’t lose that insight to history. You’ll not only preserve another valuable piece of your family history but it may jog our memory, your readers, to some of our own specific family beliefs or customs.

If you do write a blog post or already have please leave a link in the comments. We all love to read the stories that make our ancestors real people. I hope you do I’m looking forward to it!

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If you’re interested in researching 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.

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!