Civil War Quick Tip – Union Draft Registration Records

FBGenCircleLogo1Did you know the first military draft enacted in this country was during the Civil War? As the months turned into years it was clear the war would not be ending anytime soon. Add to that the drop off in Union enlistments presented President Lincoln with a big problem.

By mid-1863 the president instituted the very first draft. All men from 20 to 45 years old were eligible to be drafted. There were two classes of men:

Class I included men 20 to 35 years old and all unmarried men 36 to 45 years old.
Class II were married men 36 to 45 years old.

Men who fit the above categories had to go to their local Provost Marshal’s office to sign up.

Today known as the Civil War Draft Registration Records they can be researched at Ancestry. A thorough explanation of the records can be found at FamilySearch.

Consider these records as an “off year” census to use in documenting where your northern male ancestors were living during the Civil War. Not only will you get their place of residence, also their age, marital status, occupation and if he had already served there may be a notation about that.

Good Luck as you continue researching your Civil War ancestor.




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

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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.

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Organizing My Genealogy Files . . . an update

Civil War blog reading

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Do you remember a few months back when I wrote a post about going digital with my genealogy files? I was attempting to set up a family history file on my laptop where I could keep scanned family photos and documents. I started this adventure at the beginning of this year. I thought I had a great plan but it hasn’t worked out as well as I thought it would.

My idea was to create one file on the desktop of my computer and name it My Family History. Then when I opened up that file I created another folder inside it and put my name on it. Next I opened up my file and added two files, one for each of my parents. When I open up the file with my dad’s name I add two files one for each of his parents. When I open up the file with my mom’s name I add two files one for each of her parents and so on. The example below helps to visualize what I’m saying.

Examples of files for Organizing Genealogy Records

When I click on the Me file it contains My Dad and My Mom files. When I click on My Dad file it contains Dad’s dad and Dad’s mom files. I’ve added to additional folders one for his pics and one for docs.

This system was like stair steps. If I wanted to check a photo in the file of my paternal great grandfather I had to open my own file to get to my dad’s file which led me to my grandfather and finally to my great grandfather. I had to open four files before I got to my great grandfather’s file and then click on his photo file. I found this to be really cumbersome. I realized I quit scanning pics and all my saved documents were being added to my To-Be Filed later folder. I was avoiding working on family files. My digital organization wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do.

I’ve done some more research on methods other genealogists use in the hope I’d find a better system. I’ve heard about a family historian who has three files. The first is her Family Tree Maker where she attaches a scanned document. The second is a “need to attach file” where she keeps her To-Do stuff or need to attach documents and her third file is her “research folder”. She keeps scans there that need more research before storing them or attaching them to another file permanently. All of her scans are tagged with lots of detail. When she’s looking for a file she just uses the search on her laptop. She’s not worried about using an organized system within her files, she just uses “Search” and finds the file she’s looking for.

I’ve also read where some genealogists have a birth certificate file, marriage license file, death certificate file, wills and so on. Again each scan is well labeled so when opening up the birth cert file the researcher just scrolls down to the appropriate file. Continue reading

Civil War Tool Box – Part 2

Tool BoxWe’ve all heard the term “Genealogist’s toolbox” or “Genealogist’s toolkit” in online posts and at workshops. Genealogists and family historians have come to know a “toolbox” as the resources available to them for their research. Examples from a genealogist’s toolkit can range from links to websites and databases, to books and repositories. Some may even include software and apps but usually all the tools are found online.

Last week we discussed Websites for Civil War research and learning. This week let’s dig a little deeper in my Civil War toolbox and see what’s there!

More Websites for Learning

The Civil War Homepage There’s so much Civil War information here it’ll make your head spin. I especially like the Official Records battle reports in the upper right corner. There’s only a few listed but I like reading through the general’s reports without wading through entire volumes of the Official Records. You can also scan their photo section, maps, letters and diaries and on and on.

Civil War Archive Another good site to for researching the history of Union and Confederate Regiments, there are soldier’s letters and diaries and battle reports. Again knowing what activities are going on around your ancestor helps in understanding their Civil War service.

Civil War Soldier Search
Lots of information packed in this website. Tips on researching Compiled Military Service Records, Pension Records, 1890 Special Census, photographs and so on.

Resources When Searching For Pension Records

National Archives Records Administration (NARA) Obviously the place to go to when ordering a Union soldier’s pension record but there’s lots of helpful info and explanations.
Also when you’re on the NARA site take a look at their Prologue Magazine Many, many helpful articles there.
NARA State Archives list Individual state links for finding your Confederate soldier’s pension information.
Fold3 – Online Military Records $$ Constantly adding records. I found a Union soldier’s pension file, all 64 pages of it here. All pension files are not yet available on the site but they do claim 436+ million U.S. military records.
Council of State Archivists Another list of southern state information when searching for your Confederate Civil War ancestor’s pensions.

A Soldier’s Post War Life

Grand Army of the Republic
Library of Congress Complete list of GAR posts.

Sons of Union Veterans They are working to document the location of all GAR post’s records which include applications, minutes, etc.

Grand Army of the Republic Library and Museum

United Confederate Veterans

Sons of Confederate Veterans A list of the locations of the United Confederate Veterans records.


Ancestors In A Nation Divided

Ancestors In A Nation Divided by Cindy Freed (me!)

Available in paperback

Now let me do a small commercial here. My book will help you through the steps of researching your Civil War ancestor. Whether you’re starting from the beginning and only have a name – to an in-depth search of your veteran’s military and post-war life. This book will guide you step-by-step through the process. It’ll be a big help. I’m sure of it!

These next three sites have quite an array of digital Civil War titles free and available to read. I particularly like to research County Histories on these sites. Easy to read from home.

Google Books

World Cat

Internet Archive

Civil War Newspapers

Beside checking on the newspapers published in the locale your ancestor lived during the Civil War here’s a list of other era newspapers. This kind of reading certainly helps the researcher get a better grasp of Civil War life and thinking.

Virginia Tech American Civil War newspapers

Penn State – Pennsylvania Civil War era Newspaper Collection

Son of the South – Harper’s Weekly the newspaper during the Civil War Reading Harper’s Weekly will give you a great overview of the war as it was written at the time.

Civil War Newspapers is the name of this site.
Loads and loads of links for mostly southern titles.

There you have it. A peek into my Civil War toolbox. I have many more links I use but these are at the top of my list. As I said in the beginning I hope you find a site or two you have not searched before or this list is a reminder to least check back and have a second look at some you’ve previously explored.

As always thanks for reading and Good Luck in your research!

** Previously published in the September 2014 issue of “Going In-Depth” magazine**