Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Research: Finding Ancestor Records - Civil War

Research Your Family Tree

Several months ago I needed to find ancestor records for a scholarship application. I asked my father if our Georgia ancestor fought in the Civil War. He gave me the quick answer, "no," because he remembered no conversation with relatives about a Civil War soldier. It didn't make sense to me because I knew this relation lived in Georgia during the war so I decided to investigate.

The information I had was:
  • year of death
  • state of residence
  • names of children
  • names of wives

I spent several days looking at various websites. Since this was a few months ago, I'm not sure of the exact convoluted  path to useful ancestor information. I hit some roadblocks and backed up several times. In the end, I got the information, and I didn't pay for it. Not only did my ancestor serve in the Civil War, but he was imprisoned the last year and 10 months of it.

Along the way, I found minor errors in census records and in my family notes. This happens. Mainly, keep on researching. It is fascinating and so easy with the internet.

I'll describe the information sources I found below.

Find a Grave

The Find a Grave website is a gem. If I had known about this site, I could have skipped many steps in my research. I plugged in the name, state, and year of death and found the correct grave. This was verified by an unusual spouse's name and family notes on a cemetery.

If you're lucky, you can access your ancestor's grave here. In my situation, the photographs included an inscription describing the military service.  A birth date was also provided on the headstone.

 Hathitrust Digital Library

Using the Hathitrust Library, I entered "Confederate Soldiers" in the search box. That gave me a list of publications with information. Since my ancestor lived in Georgia, I selected the Roster of the Confederate soldiers of Georgia, 1861-1865. That allowed me to search by name. The list produced from that search gave me all references to the ancestor's name. I could then select the most likely matches and click the page number for further details. These details included ranks and promotion dates, date of imprisonment, location of capture and prisons, release date, and birth date. All fascinating details!

Find the Best Civil War Soldiers

The Find the Best sight will take minimal data and find soldier information. In my case, the rank did not reflect two promotions. The Hathitrust sight had more details.

Census Information at familysearch.org

The 1870 census can be used to verify the residence of a former Civil War soldier. It can be used as a clue to the state and regiment of service.

Using Google to search "1870 census," the list will include a familysearch.org site. Choose this and enter the soldier's name. Then you can narrow down the list by looking for other family names. I had unusual names like Lavonia and Roena to help here.

Lavonia was entered as Laronsio, but Roena and Lucy were present. Click the soldier's name to view the census information. Then click the camera icon on the right to reveal the handwritten census document. (So exciting!) Written in fancy cursive, the record showed the former soldier's occupation as farmer and his wife, "keeping house." Lavonia was spelled correctly in this original document. At the top of this is the county of residence.

I hope you will find these resources helpful and I wish you luck in your research. I highly recommend familysearch.org for ancestry research. There is more data available there than I can summarize in this article.

I have also written about researching ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. That article can be found here.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Why should Quality (ASQ) go Global?

The Quality message, promotion of  Quality tools and Quality education should definitely be global.  ASQ should continue to expand its global reach.

As Quality Professionals in diverse industries, most of us produce products or services with a global impact. As Consumers we are exposed daily to products and services produced outside our country. Of course we want those companies influenced by the highest quality standards and guided by an organization that has been in the quality business for over 65 years.

Early in February 2015, the FDA posted a voluntary recall notice by Hospira. The injected drug product was distributed in the United States and Singapore. Also in February 2015, a Class 1 Recall on a Medtronic medical device was issued. Medtronic is headquarted in Dublin, Ireland, and has recently merged with Covidien combining "two global healthcare leaders."

Quality issues in one location can affect consumers or production on the other side of the globe. The product could be pencils or pharmaceuticals; technical service offered in a call center or biomolecules for vaccine stabilization. 

Clearly "global" is the "new black." Global is the way our world is now. Everything is moving towards global, increasing global reach if already global, and ASQ has to expand global presence too.

Bill Troy's February post, Why Should Quality "Go Global"?, gives insight to ASQ's role in promoting quality worldwide.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Research: Finding Ancestor Records - Revolutionary War

These are the steps I followed to find pension records for an ancestor that served in the American Revolutionary War. I did not pay anything for access to this information.

The American War of Independence was fought between 1775 and 1783.

Notes from my family gave the ancestor's full name, the state where military service was rendered (Virginia), and the state where the pension was received (Georgia).

I learned that the name and state where military pension was received were most important. If you don't know if your ancestor received a pension, find out the state and county where he died. Then look for the name on the resource given below (in Step 3).

  1.  Go to this page at familysearch.org . Family Search is a wonderful free resource for researching ancestry.
  2. On that page, under "Where to Find the Records" towards the bottom of the page, click the link that reads :  A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services...(Google Books) 
  3.  A Google Book page comes up. Access is free. (Thank you Google!) Click through until you're looking at the book.
    Screenshot of Census of Pensioners...
  4.  Find the ancestor/pensioners state. This is a manual process. Just click or scroll through the pages until you reach the state of interest.
  5. Find the County under the state.
  6. If the name is not there, look at the other counties. Hey, this is where I found my ancestor. He received a pension 49 years after the Revolutionary War ended. Often, family notes contain errors in spelling, initials, and counties. Keep this in mind when researching your family tree. Good luck!
Update 3/22/2015 Another resource I've just discovered is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Website. Enter data in this form to inquire into American Revolution Veteran status. The results of this query verified what I learned using the above steps, and added to my fact set. I learned the spouse's name and date of death for the veteran.
I have also written an article about researching a Civil War soldier. That post can be found here.
Advertising on this blog supports my writing. By clicking an ad, you are under no obligation to buy. If you see an advertisement of interest, please click.