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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

Civil War Vets descendants

FYI- in researching your Civil War ancestors, there are some places to look that you may not have thought of. Here's a few that come to mind.

Just a reminder for those that don't know, there are two organizations on a National Level for descendants of Union Civil War vets. The Women's group is the Daughters of Union Civil War Veterans. The male group is the Sons- Both have state groups and can be sources of information for all of us. Some have GAR records. Please feel free to check them out.

There are similar groups for the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy. and the

There are also many other such groups, but these are the oldest with the widest resources.

GAR-Grand Army of the Republic records can be invaluable. There were hundreds of GAR branches throughout the country and many kept wonderful records, personal histories, military histories, etc. There is not a unified place where these are kept. Some are in state archives, some have gone to historical societies. Some are kept within other organizations which also had military connections. For example, some Masonic lodges have GAR records-and also some records from lodge members who were soldiers. Access varies with the group.

Historical Societies-state and local, Museums, Cemetary Associations and County/local/state archives. Some states, counties and communities; quite a few in fact, wrote histories of regiments that were formed within their boundaries. The best ones give information on communities, occupations and other "good stuff" about some of their veterans. The stuff that helps you connect Great Uncle George-whom you never knew, with the life he led before and after the war-comments like....When George Smith decided to join the 25th mounted rifles, his younger brother Andy wanted to go also, but he was needed at home to help with the family dairy farm. Undeterred, he snuck away and met George near the fork of the road by the old Bryce place...or...When George Smith came back from the hospital after being wounded at Wilson's Creek, he started working at the Johnson sawmill, where he invented the Johnson tree that we see on most of our wagons.

Local newspapers are another very valuable resource-other than weddings and obituaries, they reported on barn raising, local church groups, agricultural fairs, epidemics, plagues, fires,etc. With a little luck and a lot of sweat-Great Uncle George will come to life.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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