Saturday, February 27, 2010

I think it's worth checking out if you have an ancestor who was a Confederate soldier. Their Civil War documents collection is pretty good, and you can either sign up for a free trial to print things out, or you can (I think--we'll see how this works) sign up on a monthly basis for $12 a month. They give you the option of automatically charging your card every month or NOT--I chose "not." As I say, we'll see how opting out after a month goes.

As far as I can tell, they have all the CSA soldier records scanned in. For Union troops, they have Arkansas, Dakota, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Colored Troops.

Also available under their Civil War category is (among other things) the Civil War Pension Index, Civil War Widows Pensions, Confederate Amnesty Papers, Confederate Citizens File (vouchers filed by citizens and businesses with the Confederate govt. for services rendered--I found one from a 3x-great grandfather for hiring out a 4-horse team; I have to check dates to see what it's connected with). So far I've found records on 6 relatives, averaging about 20 pages each. Pretty good deal, I think

I haven't thoroughly explored the site yet. They have quite a miscellaney of material, though, so I think it's worth a look, and I think that it will be worth checking in on at intervals to see what new things they get.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back to the Browns

Harriet (Colville?) Brown, b. June 15, 1808, KY; m. Alexander Richard Brown abt 1836, KY (possibly Breckinridge Co.); d. 11 Jan 1873; buried in Hardin Cemetery, Ray County, Missouri.

I've been so busy knitting that I haven't done much genealogical work recently. Last night I piddled with it a little, and found that John H. Brown's mother, Harriet (Colville(?) Brown, is buried in the Hardin Cemetery in Ray County, Missouri.

This raises a number of questons:

1. Why is she buried in Ray County? She died in 1873; in the 1870 census, she was living with her three youngest sons in Carroll Co. (Ray is west of Carroll, which is west of Chariton Co.)

2. Is she, perhaps, buried near one of her daughters? Her husband is not listed as being buried in this cemetery. Her oldest and youngest sons, John and Colville, are buried in the Brown family cemetery in Chariton Co. Her son Alex is buried at the Confederate Home in Johnson Co. I don't know yet what happened to her other son, James Oscar. Her youngest daughter, Sarah, died in Texas. There were two other daughters, Elizabeth and Harriet; I haven't been able to find what became of them. Elizabeth was 22 in 1860 and Harriet was 18, both old enough to have been married. There are several 22-year-old Elizabeths who were born in Kentucky living in the area (Lafayette/Carroll/Ray) in 1860, but is one of them the right one?

3. Why isn't she buried beside her husband?

4. Where is her husband buried? Lafayette Co. or Carroll Co.?

I think the next step is to write to the Hardin Cemetery Association and see if the records show who she was buried beside. The cemetery was badly damaged in the 1993 flooding, but from what I gather from the website ( ) she appears to have been buried in an undamaged portion of the cemetery.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NARA records arrive!

In my last post I mentioned sending off for whatever records NARA had for my gg-grandfather, John H. Brown, who served with the 3rd (later 3 and 5) Missouri Infantry, CSA. Saturday the packet arrived, containing a Compiled Service Record.

I hate those things. I mean, I appreciate them, it's more information than I had before, but it always leaves so many things unanswered!

He appears to have been out sick twice (I know disease was rampant in the camps during the Civil War) and wounded once. The first time was in April, 1862 (4 months after his muster-in date of January 1862); his company muster roll card for March and April note that he was "in hospital Memphis, Tenn April 11 1862." Which means he missed the surrender at Vicksburg (the 3rd was involved in the Seige of Vicksburg), which is why I couldn't find a parole for him at

He was absent again, May through August, in 1863; the May/June card notes: "in hospital in Canton, Miss." and the July/August card "absent on detached duty."

Finally, he was wounded and sent to hospital June 3 1864, and noted as being on sick furlough for July/August. There's a card titled "Appears on a Register of Way Hospital, Meridian, Miss." that says "Complaint: wound," "Admited January 27 1865," and "Remarks: Furloughed." Another card notes he was wounded in the shoulder and reported to command in February 1865. He's on a Roll of Prisoners of War dated Meridian, Miss., May 11, 1865.

Bezaleel Brooks, the subject of my last post and John H.'s uncle-in-law (he was the younger brother of John H.'s wife's mother) was also wounded, in the upper thigh, so badly that 10 months after being wounded he submitted his resignation.

So now I'm curious about the hospitals and medical care of the time. Also, apparently neither man lost the wounded limb, but I'm wondering how their war wounds would have affected their lives after the war. I feel like the Elephant's Child, full of 'satiable curiosity.

Bezaleel "disappears" after his 1863 resignation, and John H. didn't live long enough to apply for a pension when Missouri started providing them in 1911 (though he survived the war by 40 years), nor have I found any evidence that his second wife, who died in 1924, ever applied for a pension. So pension files as a source of information are out, at least for these two men, at least for now (hope on, hope ever).

I am, however, wondering whether it would be worth the $75 to send off for the pension file of my Yankee gg-uncle, John A. Boston, who served with the Ohio 100th Infantry during most of the war. $75 is pricey for me. I'd like to see a "sample" file before I try to come up with the money.

You can, btw, order compiled service records and pension records online from NARA

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yee haa!

That's a Rebel Yell.

Since I've been watching Ken Burns' Civil War while I knit lately, I've been inspired to do some more poking around, trying to find more info about my Civil War ancestors.

Imagine my joy to find the military records for gg-grand-uncle Bezaleel Brooks online at, a site I've never visited before. It's a pay-for site, but like Ancestry, you can get a free trial, so I signed right up.

Treasures! Including a letter of resignation in his own handwriting! He was shot in the thigh at Malvern Hill and, ten months later, the surgeon testified that it would be years before he was fit for military duty again; that the leg was shorter than the other and deformed. (Actually, all things considered, he was lucky he didn't lose the leg; think of all the amputations that took place during that war.)

This was in 1863, so of course I immediately had new questions: what did he do for the rest of the war? What did he do with the rest of his life, with that bum leg? What happened to him? (He's the one I can't find in the census after 1860.) Did he write to his sister (my gg-grandmother) Sidna?

Didn't find anything about the other two ancestors, but hey--I'm happy. For now. (You can't be a good genealogist if you ever stay happy with what you have.)

I also read something at a site for someone who'd been in the same unit as one of my Civil War ancestors, and the information cited hospital and medical records from NARA. That sent me sprinting for NARA to send in a request for hospital/medical records for my gg-grandfather Brown, who was "seriously wounded" on or about June 6, 1864, near Kennesaw Mountain, and who didn't rejoin his unit until February 1865. Might be a waste of $25, but you never can tell.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

American Civil War

I'm doing some knitting on commission, and if I'm inside I like to have something on TV that I can listen to but don't necessarily have to watch every moment, so I got out my old Ken Burns' Civil War videotapes to knit to. They're in very good shape, considering how old they are (I've got to get them transferred to DVD--wish I could afford the DVD set with all the great extras, but even the used sets are too pricey for me).

At any rate, it reawakened my interest in my Civil War ancestors. Since both sides of the family were in Missouri by that time, most of the men served in the EMM (Enrolled Missouri Militia), which was a state thing--Missouri, like Kansas, was terribly torn, a miniature civil war in itself. It got put under Federal military governance, which didn't help much, and it seems like most men in my family were of the Union persuasion and stayed home to defend their families and farms from jayhawkers and bushwhackers. I know, this isn't exactly accurate; I need to read more about Missouri in the Civil War.

However, the Brown boys joined up to regular CSA regiments, and John H.--one of my great-great-grandfathers--served with the 3rd Missouri Infantry. I have copies of some records of his service from the State of Missouri, and they don't tell me enough! Like--it says he was severely wounded on June 3 1864, just before Kennesaw Mountain, and didn't rejoin his unit until February 1865, which would argue a pretty serious wound for it to be such a long recovery, even if he took a furlough home, which isn't indicated in the records--but I don't know where/how/whether it affected him in his later life. It's likely he was at the Battle of Shiloh, and the 3rd Missouri went through the siege of Vicksburg, and in 1864 were at Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and New Hope Church. They also were part of the Siege of Atlanta, but according to the records John H. hadn't returned to the unit then.

Meanwhile, my great-great-uncle Bezaleel Brooks was fighting with the 57th Virginia Infantry, Co. A (the "Jeff Davis Guard"). He went in as a 1st Sgt and got promoted to 2nd Lt. Records on Ancestry say he "resigned" in 1863. I want to see their sources. But it's possible he was at Malvern Hill, 2nd Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredricksburg, and Gettysburg. I've been told he died in 1883, but while I can find his son in his home county in 1870, I can't find Bezaleel or his wife in either the 1870 or 1880 census. His wife may have died by 1870--she's not living with the son, William, who moved his family out to join his aunt Sidna in Chariton County by 1880 (and did he bring her any mementos of her brother?).

Meanwhile, on the Yankee side, another great-great-uncle, John Boston, fought with the 100th Ohio Infantry. They were at Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and New Hope Church, as well as Kennesaw Mt. and the Siege of Atlanta, but then were part of the pursuit of Hood and wound up in North Carolina in April 1865. He was wounded in the foot at Dallas (near Kennesaw Mt.) on June 6 1864 (or maybe near Pine Mountain on June 8--the Company Muster Roll and Company Descriptive Book differ). I have John B's NARA records, and records of his stay at the Dayton Military Home, which are very unsatisfactory, since, although they answered some of my questions, they raised others. He was on the roster as a deserter for a while, but was vindicated and reinstated without penalty. There's a description of him, and it makes me wonder how much like his brother--my great-great-grandfather--he looked--they both had dark hair and dark eyes.

It's really--strange--to think of John H. and John B. being at some of the same battles. John B. might have received his wound at the Battle of Dallas, too.

So--I've been posting on various surname lists and plan to find some Civil War lists to post to, to see if I can find any further information. And I've been prowling through the on-line University of Virginia Library records, looking for anything about Bezaleel. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I've been neglecting this blog shamefully. The truth is that genealogy is one of those things I do in spurts. Since I do a lot of work online, I find that if I go 4-6 months between spurts, that's enough time for new information to turn up on my favorite sites.

I want so much to go to my mother's hometown to do some actual on-site research--the local historical and genealogical societies, county records, newspaper records. It's only a few hours drive, but my 1992 Dodge Caravan is not really anything I want to do highway driving with, bless its little heart. But I just came into a little money--not a lot, but it might be enough to finance a trip. So I'm thinking of renting a car, boarding the dogs, finding a place to stay--I think there are some B&Bs nearby-- and driving over to spend maybe 3 or 4 days with my laptop and camera and travel drive. And maybe some photos--I think I still have kin there, and maybe someone could identify some of these people for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

One of those things I'll never know more about

but wish I would:

March 2, 1785 - Bart township, Lancaster County, Feb. 17 1785
Whereas Agnes M'Ready, the wife of the subscriber, of Bart township, in the county of Lancaster, hath upon the insidious advice and interference of pretended friends, eloped from him, and now resides with her father Hugh Colter, of said township. This is therefore to give notice to all persons whatsoever, that I will pay no debt of her contracting, nor will allow any person indebted to me to pay the same to her. The subscriber has taken this public method to prevent those pretended friends or others from lendng her money, which he is convinced they would not be induced to do from any other motives than to oppress him, and increase the animosity that now subsists, occasioned by their interference and advice.Daniel M 'Ready
(Posted by Joyce Peck on Rootsweb Colter Surname Board, 12/12/2005, from "Runaway Women, elopemens and other miscreant deeds, as advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1789 (together with a fewe abused wives and unfortunate children)," compiled by Judith Ann Highley Meier, pub. Closson Press, 1993, p. 88)

I am, of course, very grateful to Joyce Peck for posting this. and I sure would like to know more about what was going on. Daniel and Agnes apparently got back together. They had a son, Stewart, born about this time, and another, Hugh, born three years later. Stewart married Margaret McCoy, and they became my 4th great-grandparents on my father's side; their daughter Julia married Samuel McGowan/Megown. There were two older girls, as well, Mary (b. 1779) and Elizabeth (b. 1781). I imagine they got married, but haven't found any information about them. Elizabeth would have been 4 and Mary 6, so I imagine Agnes took them home with her.

Why did she leave, and why did she go back? I'll probably never know.

Daniel was "plantation Irish"; the information I have is that he was born in County Donegal. Agnes was born in Pennsylvania, but her father Hugh was another plantation Irishman, born in Belfast. The McCoys also immigrated from Ireland, so I'm guessing they may have been plantation Irish, but it's possible they were Irish-Irish.