Hey friends! Time for another Civil War Saturday! Usually you’ll find a post here about a particular event during the Civil War or the life of a soldier on Civil War Saturday. You’ve learned about men who fought with the 81st Pennsylvania, the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and the 42nd Virginia Infantry.
You know I feel very strongly about that. I think we need to share the lives of veteran Civil War soldiers. As the years creep by and the Civil War becomes “ancient history” our veteran ancestors’ stories get lost. They’re not handed down through the generations like they once were.
Let’s remedy that together! I would like to post the story of your Civil War ancestor here on Genealogy Circle. Every couple of Saturdays I’ll publish the story of Civil War veterans, Confederate or Union. I’ll need you to write up an article about the life of your veteran ancestor. It can be 300, 400, 500 words and if you have photos to include, all the better!
In this way your ancestor will have another chance to be remembered. That’s my ultimate goal to honor their memory but who knows what distant cousin may contact you because they recognize the name of their Civil War ancestor in a post on Civil War Saturday.
We’ll also get the chance, I hope, to read the stories about men who may have served in the same company, regiment or brigade our ancestor served in. I myself would dearly love to connect with the descendent of a soldier who fought with Co. A 81st Pennsylvania. That’s the regiment my great great grandfather served with.
So please send me your Civil War veteran’s story. You can email me at cindy at genealogy circle dot com or look me up on Facebook at Genealogy Circle. I’m also on Twitter @GenealogyCircle and on Google+ just look up Cindy Freed to contact me.
Let’s tell the stories of our Civil War ancestors. Let’s remember them, honor them and maybe learn about some of the men they served with.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Please contact me today!
Did you read my post yesterday, I see the soldiers – do you? If not I’d really appreciate it if you would take a minute to read it. That way today’s post will make more sense. Just scroll down to the previous post or click here.
OK now that you’ve read it and you’re back, let me tell you what I was thinking. After realizing that I do see the Civil War soldiers when I visit different battlefields I realized it’s only a very short step to our own family research.
As genealogists or family historians we see, we feel, we experience our ancestors. That’s why we research them, because we can “see” our ancestors. It’s incredibly similar to seeing the soldiers. Not only do we see our family members with our mind’s eye, we want to know more about them and their lives. They aren’t just names and dates, they were living, loving, imperfect people who passed across the face of this earth. It’s their lives that resulted in our own.
Because we are the ones who see our ancestors we know we are charged with the task of making sure they are not forgotten to history. We’re the ones whose job it is to learn and tell their story, to preserve their memory for future generations.
Because of this insight we’ve been given the responsibility of remembering our ancestors, researching them and writing about their lives and experiences. Actually it’s pretty exciting that we are given that mission.
So to all of us who spend time in city directories, researching obscure occupations, staring endlessly at photos and federal censuses, then writing about those finds – keep on! Persevere! You’re doing a great job researching your family and they are pleased.
I asked a question at the end of yesterday’s post but I know I don’t have to ask today. I already know, “You see your ancestors.”
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.
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
*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.
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
There’s also more research help in my book, Ancestors in a Nation Divided. Please check it out.
Be sure to check Jen’s post today to learn about researching your WWII veteran!
We’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.