I am now a proud member of the Geneabloggers community. What does this mean for you, my readers? It means that I will be improving my blogging skills by learning through other more experience genealogical bloggers, have more news and fresh ideas to make my blog more interesting and be able to point you towards other genealogy blogs that you may enjoy. I'm really excited to be a part of Geneabloggers.
Recently, there was a special on PBS called "Death and the Civil War". It was a very interesting show and opened up a whole new perspective on the subject. It made you think.
Two years ago, I began to write a book on my dad's family history. One of the chapters deals with my Civil War ancestors. Moses Steen was married to my great, great grandfather, John M. Carder's sister, Susan. John was married to Moses's sister, Elizabeth. Both Susan and Elizabeth died young. A few years later, the widowed husbands remarried. John married Eliza Jane Dobbins, who was my great, great grandmother and Moses married her sister, Mary.
In 1861, early in the Civil War, John, Moses, and their brothers-in-law enlisted. John, Moses, and brother-in-law, Nelson Dobbins enlisted in Co. I, 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Moses took sick at the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing (Shiloh). On June 4, 1862, he was taken to Clarksville, Tennessee and transported to the Third Street Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died on June 5th. The Third Street Hospital is now the Good Samaritan Hospital.
The PBS show told that the general belief was that the War would only last about 3 months so the government didn't set up any type of system to identify dead soldiers or notify their families until later in the War. Many men died unidentified and some families never learned whether their sons or husbands died or just chose not to return home. A lot of soldiers got tattoos or kept tintypes of their families, diaries, or something on themselves that could identify them if they died. Many of them asked their comrades to contact their families if they should perish and tell them of the circumstances of their death.
Because there was no system in place to notify families, newspapers began to publish lists of the dead and missing. People would flock to wait for the latest list to be available hoping that their loved ones were not on it. After the Civil War, the government implemented the use of dog tags to identify dead soldiers and notify their families in future wars.
In my book, I've tried to write about what it must have been like for Mary and her children when Moses died. Mary was one of the lucky ones. Not lucky because her husband died, but lucky, in the sense that she knew. How she learned of his death or whether she was able to reach Cincinnati before he passed away is not known. But she knew. She had his body brought home and buried in Smith Cemetery in Christiansburg, Champaign County, Ohio, where they lived. Many years later, in 1913, she would be laid to rest next to him. Mary's brother, William owned the local sawmill and coffins for local funerals were made there. I don't know whether William went and brought Moses home for burial, but I do know through the pension file for his children that workers at the sawmill made his coffin.
After watching this show and having a better understanding of what the aspect of death during the Civil War was like for the soldiers and their families, I plan to do some thinking and rewrite that section of my book-in-progress.
If you missed the show, PBS will probably rerun it and you'll have the opportunity to see it. PBS also archives many of their programs on their website and you can watch many PBS specials on video directly from their website. Perhaps, they will put this one on there. Catch it is you can.
My blog has been added to the Ohio Blog list. You can go to the list at: http://www.asenseoffamily.com/p/ohio-blogs .
This list is for people with Ohio ancestors and those who write blogs who are from Ohio or have Ohio ancestors. It was created by Shelley Bishop. The Fall 2012 issue of the OGS News has a great article by Shelley called "Using Genealogy Blogs for Ohio Research. I wish I had known about the Ohio Blog list before Shelly's article was published but I'm honored to be on it now, even if I wasn't listed on it in the OGS News. Take a look at her website and blogs and read the article if you get a chance.
What would you like to read about on this blog? Genealogical "how to's", ancestors' stories, more of my ramblings about experiences I've had speaking, going to conferences, or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment? Let me know what you'd like to see on the blog.
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Something else I did with my double trouble direct line list was that next to the names, I wrote whether the ancestor was a veteran and what war he served in and I marked any of the ancestors who were immigrant ancestors and where they immigrated from.
The ancestors who were veterans did not surprise me. I always check every ancestor for military service and find their records if they had served. The number of immigrant ancestors I have found did surprise me, though. I did not realize that I had found as many of my immigrant ancestors as I have until I did this little exercise.
I've been seeing a lot of blog posts and articles about the number of ancestors doubling with each generation. You have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, and so forth.
My curiosity was raised. I wondered how any of my direct ancestors I really have found in my own research. Just looking at pedigree charts didn't sink in. I made a list by generation. I thought I was doing pretty good. I had myself and my parents, of course. I had all of my grandparents, great grandparents, great, great grandparents, 29 of my 32 3rd great grandparents, and 37 of my 64 4th great grandparents. From there, it started dwindling a little more with each generation. Still, I was pretty proud that I had been able to find some from each generation, including one 12th great grandfather.
The double whammy hit me when I checked the chart and saw that you have 19, 384 sets of grandparents by the time you've reached the 15th generation.
Sometimes, it's good to do things differently than you normally do. Most of us just look at a few ancestors at a time or at our family group sheets and pedigree charts. Making a list of all of them I had found until I reached the generation where I hadn't found any yet made me made me realize a few things.
For one, I have favorite ancestors who I work on a lot and have all of their vital statistics and fairly complete life stories for them. I have other favorites who I have very little on or I'm stuck trying to find out who their parents were. These I spend too much time on because it bugs me that I can't get past them.
This little exercise pointed out to me that I have a large number of direct ancestors who I rarely ever research and only have bare bones on and numerous ancestors who I haven't even found yet. I didn't even recognize some of their names! I'm aware now that I need to spend more time on these ancestors and less time on those brick walls that I'm obsessed with.
So, how many of your 19, 384 ancestors have you found?
September 15, 2012 will be the 200th Anniversary of the Copus Massacre. This Sunday will the annual Copus reunion at Charles Mill State Park, Mifflin, Ohio. The Copus Massacre was probably the biggest historical event to take place in Ashland County. Although, the tragic event seems small in the larger scope of history, it made a significant impact on what was occurring at the time in Ohio.
I am honored to have been asked to tell the story of the massacre and the events of the War of 1812 that led up to it at the massacre site or nearby, in the park where the reunion will be held. I've been telling the story at various genealogical society meetings for the past year. I tell the story in costume as Sarah Copus Vail, last living child of Reverend James Copus who was killed in the massacre. Reverend Copus was my 4th great grandfather. His son, Nelson, Sarah's brother, was my third great grandfather.
Sarah was the honored guest at the original dedication of the Copus Monument 72 years after the massacre and told the story there that day. I've had so much fun in the past year portraying Sarah and telling the story and am so excited that I will be telling it to other Copus descendants at Copus Hill.
Hope some of you made it to the NGS Conference in Cincinnati. It was great. The speakers were the best of the best, including Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas Jones and lots of the other top speakers in the genealogical field. I got to connect with old friends and network with some of the pro's. I also was a volunteer at the Association of Professional Genealogists booth in the vendor's hall. What a great experience! Can't wait until next year when the other national conference, the Federation of Genealogical Societies holds their conference in Ft. Wayne. I love national conferences!
Did you make it to the OGS Conference in April of this year? As always, it was a great conference. I, however, was a nervous wreck during most of it. I made my debut as a conference speaker during the last hour of the last day. Although, I've been speaking at OGS county chapter meetings and other local organizations since 2004, this was the first big conference I've spoken at.
My topic was on saving old cemeteries and cemetery preservation. I told about Cheney Cemetery, which was founded in 1828, in Jackson Township, Union County, Ohio and two other old cemeteries that were saved and preserved by local people. Then, I discussed how an individual or small group can save and preserve our old cemeteries.
I swore, after being so nervous, that I wasn't going to speak again at a big conference but I must not have done too bad. I was personally invited to speak again at next year's conference so here I am, making out proposals for the 2013 conference. Never say "Never"!
Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail
Deborah A. Carder Mayes is a genealogist and speaker in Northwestern and West Central Ohio. She has been researching her family history and actively involved in the genealogy community for over 19 years.
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