Monday, 27 December 2010

Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors

Although 15% of this blog's readers are US-based I normally leave US resources to the many good US genealogy blogs. In this case I'm making a slight exception as the publisher is Canada-based.

Moorshead Magazines have a new publication timed for the beginning of the 150th anniversary year of the US Civil War.  In the familiar format of their magazines, Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors, written by regular Family Chronicle author David A Norris, looks at the records and resources available to the genealogist researching the event. 

The articles are:

The First Steps to Finding a Civil War Ancestor
Some thoughts and tips on getting started in Civil War research

Companies and Regiments: Civil War Army Units
Knowing how the armies were structured will help you understand records and references

Prewar and Postwar Military Records
These records can help you trace your ancestor’s entire military career

Non-Regimental and “Untypical” Soldiers
Some tips for finding soldier ancestors in unusual categories

Emergency Troops, Militia and Home Guard
Records of temporary units might reveal a hard-to-find ancestor’s service

Ensigns and Engineers: Ancestors in the Navies
Though tracking a relative in the navy can be challenging, there are many valuable resources available

US Colored Troops and African-American Sailors
Here are some resources for African-Americans who served in the Civil War

Southern Loyalists and “Galvanized Yankees”
Here are some resources to check for Southern ancestors who served with the Union

To Helmira and Back: Prisoners of War
POW resources can fill in holes in your ancestor’s records, or reveal the fate of a missing ancestor

Medical Records and Hospital Personnel
Records from Civil War hospitals contain a wealth of information on soldiers and staff

Military Pay Resources
Civil War payroll records pay off again for genealogists

The Civil War and the Census
Pre- and postwar censuses offer important information on the lives and families of veterans

The 1865 Parole Lists: To the Very End
These documents list the soldiers who endured to the end of the war

Finding Your Ancestors’ Flags
Regimental flags had important practical and symbolic purposes for Civil War soldiers

Buried in History: Civil War Cemeteries
Finding a soldier’s grave can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be a lost cause

Civil War Pension Records and Wartime Relief
Pension records are a genealogical treasure trove for soldiers and their families

Confederate State Pension Resources
A state-by-state guide to locating Confederate pension records

Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Widows’ Homes
The records of these institutions may contain a wealth of detail that can’t be found elsewhere

Civil War Veterans’ Groups
Records of veterans’ organizations might let you follow your ancestor into the 20th century

Wartime Civilian Records
Relatives who weren’t in the military may still have left a wealth of information about their lives

Amnesty Papers and Southern Claims
Some potentially helpful postwar sources for Southern relatives

Spies, Smugglers and “Disloyal Citizens”
Records of civilian prisoners include ordinary citizens, political prisoners and even politicians

Finding Civil War Income Tax Records
You might find that your ancestors’ 1860s tax records are a source of family history

A Gift From the Past: Civil War Newspapers
Here are some tips on finding your newsmaker ancestors

A Picture in Time: Civil War Era Photographs
You can find photos of people and places connected to your family, or even of your ancestors

Best of the Best: Classic Civil War Resources
These records contain the most essential information for Civil War era research

National Archives Records
A soldier’s Compiled Military Service Record contains some of the most essential details of his service

Finding Your Way Through the Civil War With Maps
Maps can help you follow your ancestor during the war or find a family farm near a battlefield

I won't attempt a review of a topic so outside my area of expertise. Spurred by the recollection of a talk on Memorializing the Civil War Dead  I attended last year I did dip into the article on Civil War cemeteries. Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors appears to be as accessible as you will be familiar with in other Moorshead publications.

You can order the magazine directly from or wait for it to arrive at major newstands in the US and Canada.

1 comment:

Lisa Swanson Ellam said...

Thanks fir letting me know about this publication. I'll be ordering mine!