I have two great-great uncles who fought and died for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
As much as I love genealogy and as much as I love the Civil War, it saddens me to know I don't have any direct ancestors who fought for either side. I think one of my g-g-grandfather's cousins/nephews fought for the Union, but have never been interested enough to confirm that, as my genealogy interests are more within the direct lineage. That's perhaps a bit of selfish attitude, but that's where my interest is.
On the other hand, every time I think about it, I realize that if one of my direct ancestors had been in the War (or any other war, for that matter), they may have been killed before having the children that eventually led to me, so I may never have been born. In that perspective, luck was on my side.
(A lot of it had to do with simple luck of when they were born - I know a couple of g-g-g grandfathers were born in 1814 and 1817 respectively, so they were a bit too old for the war (for the most part), but there children were born in the 1850s, and were too young.)
What service records have you been able to find of your ancestors - i.e. do you know their regiments, what campaigns they were a part of, which officers they served under, etc.? That's the kind of stuff I would find absolutely fascinating if I had any relatives who had fought.
A counsin of mine researched the genealogy of the Crabtree family, through which we are related. He found relatives, including brothers, who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War. He also found a distant relative who was killed by Indians along with Daniel Boone's oldest son on the first attempt to blaze the Wilderness Trail, and at least one very distant relative who wrote of dining with George Washington at Mount Vernon. It was fascinating stuff.
"Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."
My dad's side: all the immigrant ancestors came to New Orleans and stayed. All but one came from different parts of Germany. That one came from Ireland.
My gggrandfather on that side is listed in the Confederate rolls, but he was a fireman in New Orleans. I don't believe he ever left the city.
My mom's side has a branch that came from Weislingen, Alsace. Their home was occupied by Union troops during the "occupation."
And another branch that came from Kandel, Pfalz, which is not far from Weislingen, really, but across the boarder.
The rest of her lines came in through northern routes and came down south later. Gen John Logan is a collateral cousin on one of those lines.
These lines include several branches of Scots-Irish, so there's some real tall tales that have come down thru the generations.
There's one tall tale of a ship-wreck and one of my ancestors swimming ashore at the end of the trip from Europe. Collateral cousins of that branch became well known coast-guard folks on the outer banks of NC.
Last edited by SandyD; 07-08-2007 at 08:50 PM.
What services do you guys use to find these things out? I've always been interested in researching this kind of thing for my family.
To begin, I think it is best to ask your family (parents, uncles, any older relatives that are still living) what they know. Even if they just know parts of names or "about" dates, that kind of information can be valuable, and you should start gathering as much of it as you can find. (And you never know when someone might say "Oh, my cousin John Doe has done a lot of that on my family." Maybe you will be lucky and be able to benefit from research someone has already done in your family.)
I guess the next step depends on where you live & where your ancestors lived. I was lucky that my dad's family has been in the same county since at least 1841, so I was able to go to the local clerk's office & historical society and find a lot of information.
If you know where some of your family lived, one place to check would be census records. I believe the 1930 census is now available. Ask a local library or historical society what information they have, or where they think you can find this information. It can be a bit time consuming (depending on how much information you have already) & hard on the eyes, but if you can find a couple straight census records showing family records in a certain county, that can provide good information.
If you can figure out where your ancestors lived & approximate time frames, check local historical societies & libraries to see what kind of records they have, including books, microfilm, etc.
There are also a lot of services online, including pay services like ancestry.com and free services like rootsweb.com. There are probably others as well, but if you know a state (and preferably a county) where your ancestors were, you can check out that information on these websites. I haven't used the paysites much (I think geneaology.com is another), so I can't vouch for them, but perhaps they have a free-trial period you can use.
Sorry this is so long, but to reiterate, I suggest you start by talking with family members to see what they might remember/know and then use the web, or, depending on distance, local libraries/historical societies to help you find more information. Census records are very helpful as well, if you know where to start from in them (state/county/precinct).
Good luck to you. It can be a fascinating hobby, but be prepared for dead ends & possible frustration as well. I've found that my g-g-g grandfather was born in Pennsylvania in late 1814, but nothing beyond that. It's aggravating, but I was lucky enough to find out some interesting stuff as well.
My one ancestor who did anything is someone I've mentioned on here before anyway, the fellow who founded Cody, Wyoming, or at least had a hand in it. The area had some hot springs that were named after him and then the town name was later changed to Cody. The springs still bear our family name though.
http://www.geocities.com/geysrbob/Gateways-Cody.htmlThe Early Days . . . .
The town of Cody is located 50 miles east of the park and was founded in 1896 by Wm. Cody, along with railroad and agricultural interests. John Colter passed through the area in 1807-08 and discovered the odorous springs along the Shoshone River that became known as Colter’s Hell. The smell of the springs also gave the Shoshone River its original name of Stinking Water River. The name was changed in 1901, no doubt for public relations purposes. By 1885 the Cody area was referred to as DeMaris Springs, after homesteader Charles DeMaris. The town was located about a mile downstream from DeMaris and was first called Shoshone and then Richland before the name Cody was finally settled upon.
I've had some great corresponce with distant cousins over the years of working on it off and on.
I'm a distant relative of Doris Kearns Goodwin.
I hope to be the 1st fifth-generation police officer in Ohio. I come from an entire family of officers, so if it happens that I ever pull you over, just flash your RZ card, it might help you out.