Jen Holik and Cindy Freed talk Military Research from Civil War to World War II

Jen Holik

Jen Holik

Jen Holik and I have had the privilege of writing for the In-Depth Genealogist magazine, Going In-Depth, for the last couple years.

Jen’s column specializes in World War II research. In fact Jen has two books coming out soon, Stories from the World War II Battlefield vol.1 & vol. 2 They’ll cover how to research all branches of the military in World War II. They’re a must have for your WWII research.

Jen and I’ve both been interviewed for the Meet the Writers series for the In-Depth Genealogist. It’s a fun way to learn about us and our research. You can find our interviews on YouTube. Jen’s here. Along with mine here.

After you watch both interviews you’ll see a lot of similarities in the records and sources Jen uses for World War II research and the ones I use in Civil War research.

The In-Depth Genealogist

When Jen and I realized we use similar records we decided to write blog posts comparing the records and strategies for research. Please read Jen’s post today describing her research methods for World War II records.

Here are my suggestions when researching your Civil War ancestor.

Where do you start?

Check the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for the location of your ancestor. You’ll need to know where your ancestor was living just prior to the Civil War to have a better idea which state’s militia he joined. The 1860 U.S. Federal Census can be found several places online like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.

Where do I find my ancestor’s enlistment dates and regiment? With his name and where he lived check the several online sources for enlistment info. These sites also list regimental histories which you’ll find valuable, learning about troop movements and battles fought.

*National Parks Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

*FamilySearch.org

*Ancestry.com

*Fold3

*Try Individual State rosters too. For example the Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Vols. 1-12 can be found online and in local libraries. Search the state roster from where your ancestor served.

Pvt George W Lowery Co. A 81st Pennsylvania, Genealogy, Family History

Pvt George W Lowery Co. A 81st Pennsylvania

How do I find out more about his military service? 

Through Pension Files and CMSR files at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Washington, D.C.

* First check United States Civil War and Later Pension Index 1861 – 1917 to see if your ancestor received a pension or the family applied for one. Index found at FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, Fold3.

* If your ancestor did receive a pension, request a copy from NARA. Using NATF Form 85 it can be ordered online at archives.gov for $ or you can download the form and mail it in. You have the option of receiving hard copies or a cd/dvd for your files.

* Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) also at NARA is a file for each veteran containing muster rolls, pay vouchers, hospital rolls and so on. They can have additional information like  muster in and out dates, some limited biographical information: age, eye and hair color, height, weight. These can be ordered with form NATF 86 like the pension files above.

* Confederate soldiers did not receive a pension from the U.S. government. Confederate pensions were given by the individual southern states where the soldier served. NARA site has a listing for each southern state’s archives to contact for Confederate soldiers pensions. http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/state-archives.html

What can I find in Courthouse Records? 

* Soldier’s Discharge Papers – Union veterans did receive discharge papers and were supposed to file them at their local courthouse once back home.

* Money account – In some counties families sent soldiers money via the local courthouse. Soldiers were able to send money home the same way.

* Graves Registration File – file of veterans buried in that particular county.

* Indigent Union Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Interment – if you’ve hit a brick wall, or not sure you’re ancestor was buried by family.

What are some online sources for Civil War research?

* Civil War Draft Registration Records – Ancestry.com

* Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows aka 1890 Veterans Schedule FamilySearch and Ancestry.

* The Official Pension Roll of 1883 – Ancestry and Archive.org

* U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers – FamilySearch and Ancestry

* Confederate veterans – a list of state-run home can be found on the National Archives and Robert E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers’ Home Applications for Admission

Where else might I locate information? Your ancestor likely belonged to a veterans group after the war.

* Grand Army of the Republic

Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/gar/

Grand Army of the Republic Library and Museum –  http://garmuslib.org/

* Sons of Union Veterans – http://www.garrecords.org/

* United Confederate Veterans – Archive.org – http://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A %22United+Confederate+Veterans%22

* Sons of Confederate Veterans –          http://sonsofconfederateveterans.blogspot.com/2011/01/records-of-united-confederate- veterans.html

Ancestors In A Nation Divided

There’s also more research help in my book, Ancestors in a Nation Divided. Please check it out.

and

Be sure to check Jen’s post today to learn about researching your WWII veteran!

I appreciate your spare time!

Genealogy CircleWe’re all pretty busy anymore, aren’t we? Whether we work full time, part time or are retired there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything done! You know what I’m saying and I’m right there with you.

I also know how valuable your spare moments are and I’m grateful you spend a few of yours here with me. If you’re a regular reader you probably already know I research Civil War soldiers, learning their stories, sharing and preserving them so they’re not lost to history.

I also write about how you can start your research on your own Civil War ancestor or continue it. I explain the how-to and whys of finding out about his military service.

I include tips on research with links, examples of research found and some history on battles, available record sets, etc.

My goal here is to help family historians learn how to uncover their ancestors Civil War experiences and document what they find to share with future generations.

Thank you for all the times you’ve stopped by and read my posts. I appreciate your spare time. I’ve recently updated my About page. Please take a look at it and I hope you’ll continue spending a few moments with me here at Genealogy Circle. It’s always nice to meet up again.

Subscribe to my site via email

GenCircleLogo12For some reason the “Subscribe to my site via email” link was disabled here on Genealogy Circle. I’m not sure how that happened BUT  it’s fixed now!

So if you’d like to receive my new posts by email, the sign up link is in the middle of the right side bar,  just below the Civil War Tips – it’s titled “Subscribe to my site via email

Thanks! I hope to be showing up in your inbox soon!

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!

Re-energize Your Research! Re-energize You!

Energizing

Photo Credit: ctr @ freeimages.com

The last couple weeks have been busy at our house. Celebrating Easter, Confirmation and the final tournament of club volleyball season has kept my little family on the go. You know how it is, with all these events packed into a couple weeks. There’s less researching, less writing, less Facebook time and less Twitter on my part.

At first I was really bothered by that. No blog posts! Few tweets! Everyone will forget me! Oh no! The earth will quit turning! But as the days went by and I enjoyed my family events I realized the sun came up every morning even without a new blog post or Facebook message from me.

Maybe it’s happened before to you too. The pressure you feel (probably self-imposed) to keep up with social media, along with your blog writing and blog reading. Somehow we get in the mindset that pushing harder for more blog posts, more tweets, more of everything makes us smarter and much more professional. Then if it doesn’t get done a small somewhat frantic panic sets in. There’s so much “computer work” to do and what if I don’t get it all done! I’ve felt just that way these past couple weeks but you know what? I came to a realization.

It’s okay to step away from the grid now and then. We need time to re-energize and to restore our enthusiasm for genealogy, our research, in fact our daily life!

My online dictionary tells me this about re-energize:

rē-ˈenərjīz/ verb; give fresh vitality, enthusiasm, or impetus to

You know what? That’s exactly what stepping away has done for me these past couple weeks. In the time away I’ve done some thinking about my writing and research. I’ve spent some quiet time planning what direction I want my blog to take. I feel good about my decisions. I feel refreshed. I’m ready to get back on track. I found that I’m more than ready to learn, to research and write again. I want to jump back into social media and see what my friends have been up to and you know what? I don’t feel guilty about the time spent with those who mean the most to me or the moments I spent listening to my own thoughts.

Every now and then I think we all should unplug for a few days. No stressing about it, just enjoying some time to ourselves. We all need to regroup now and again and how much better our contributions will be if we’re enthusiastic and re-energized! So look at your calendar and take some time to unplug. I am!