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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: Military Reference Question

Bennie's absolutely right about the time frame for the Black Regular Army in Montana-It seems rather that they moved North as the century wound down-from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Colorado, Utah, Montana and even Alaska.

The portion of the 1870 census I was referring to is a special military and naval schedule-and you probably won't find it with regular Federal census records. But it should be available at a state/county level-by military fort or establishment. There is also the 1890 Veteran's census-which varies from state to state, but since most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, it's pieces are invaluable. The GAR also kept records-but their quality varies a great deal. Yet another primary source for that time frame are the gazetteers published by thousands of communities, townships, counties and states. Persons who had set places of business (including residences) were listed-giving you a concrete location in time and space. They were the yellow pages of the times and are invaluable. Local historical societies and libraries are some of the best sources-and in addition they usually have access to maps that can pinpoint the addresses in the listings.

There is always the possiblity that your ancestor had something to do with the Civil War-either as a soldier or laborer, or other context, and migrated West, as many did. You will find them listed in the census records, sometimes in communities-hired in a number of capacities.
Those working the ranches were less likely to find their way into census records-at least the early ones. Working in line camps,as teamsters, cooks, as ridge-runners and herding cattle, they were not near where the census enumerators were found-unless they happened to be on a particular ranch or in a camp when the census came around. I come across names in various sources, so I track what I can, and hope that someday they will fit in the picture more completely.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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