Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Researching Confederate Records of the Civil War.

If you have family who was in the United States during the Civil War Period(1861-1865) you need to at least find out if they served on either side.  Even if you do not have a direct line who served you may be able to find out more about your lines by researching a sibling of your direct line who did serve.  With southern research finding pension records may be the only way which you will find some of your ancestors maiden names and date of birth or date of death recorded.  During the war between the states many courthouses were burned and/or records destroyed.  Confederate Soldiers Pension applications were handled on a state level and were filed in the state of residence at the time of application.  While your ancestor may have enlisted and fought in an AL unit however, if he was living in the state of Texas when that state began processing confederate pension applications then his application will be found in Texas states records. There is not ONE exact date in which all states board of pension began processing the applications.  The dates and eligibility requirements varied from state to state.   NARA's Confederate Pension Applications site.  has more info on that.  The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia had pension boards which processed these Confederate Pension Applications.

The Confederate Soldier's Pension Applications tend to contain information about the soldiers unit:
  • When and where he enlisted
  • Did he sustain any injuries?
  • Was he injured during service?
  • Family size & dependents
  • His means of support

If he preceded his wife in death, be sure to check to see if she applied for a Widow's pension. Widow's pension files normally contain copies of information pertaining to the marriage of the soldier.  You may find a copy of their marriage certificate or sworn statements from person(s) who witnessed their marriage.   To get an idea of what can be found you might want to check out my confederate pensions page which contains information abstracted from some of the Confederate Pension Applications of persons who are in my family(direct or indirect) or who lived in the same area as my direct lines.

FamilySearch has a great deal of Confederate info scanned and on line.  Most of it is not indexed.
Below is a list of what I have noticed was available.  Mainly Pension Applications and POW/Prison records from the different Civil War camps that housed captured Confederates.  While there is no index for the Pension Applications many of the southern states who paid out Confederate pensions have an index online and you can consult the index and then find the application by navigating to the appropriate section and number at the FamilySearch site.

To find the Confederate Pension Applications you will need to look for the applicants state of residence. You can find the US Military  files that are available at this part of FamilySearch
Be aware that this will include files from any of the wars that are available thru FamilySearch.  To narrow it down to confederate records you will need to use CONFEDERATE  as your search term in the Filter By Collection section located in the upper left panel of the page.

United States Records of Confederate Prisoners of War 1861-1865
Below is a basic outline of what is available at the above link at FamilySearch

  • AIDE: Index to Volumes
  • AK, Little Rock, Military Prison
  • DC, Washington, Old Capitol Prison
  • DE, Ft. Delaware, Military Prison
  • Department of Missouri
  • Department of the Gulf
  • Department of the Ohio
  • District of West Tennessee, Provost Marshal's Office
  • Division of West Mississippi
  • IL, Alton, Military Prison
  • IL, Camp Butler, Military Prison
  • IL, Camp Douglas, Military Prison
  • IL, Rock Island Barracks, Military Prison
  • IN, Camp Morton, Military Prison
  • KY, Louisville, Military Prison
  • LA, New Orleans
  • MA, Ft. Warren, Military Prison
  • MD, Ft. McHenry, Military Prison
  • MD, Point Lookout, Military Prison
  • MO, St. Louis, Gratiot & Myrtle Streets Prisons
  • MS, Ship Island
  • NY, Elmira, Military Prison
  • NY, Ft. Columbus, Military Prison
  • NY, Ft. Lafayette, Military Prison
  • NY, Hart Island, Prison Camp
  • OH, Camp Chase, Military Prison
  • OH, Cincinnati, McLean Barracks
  • OH, Johnson's Island, Military Prison
  • SC, Hilton Head, Prison Camp
  • TN, Knoxville
  • TN, Memphis, Military Prison
  • TN, Nashville, Department of the Cumberland
  • VA, Bowling Green, Provost Marshal's Office
  • VA, Newport News, Military Prison
  • VA, Richmond

Records Relating to All Prisoners

  • Applications for release & decisions, 1863-1865, v. 7-9
  • Confederate prisoners and deserters released, 1861-1865, v. 10-13
  • Prisoner deaths, 1862-1865, v. 5
  • Prisoner deaths, 1862-1865, v. 6
  • Prisoner deaths in AL, GA, SC, 1862-1865, v. 21
  • Prisoner deaths in AR, MS, TN, 1862-1865, v. 17-18
  • Prisoner deaths in FL, KY, LA, MD, MO, NC, TX, VA, 1862-1865, v. 19-20
  • Prisoner financial records, prisoner lists, supplies, 1862-1865, v. 14-16
  • Prisoner registers, 1863-1865, v. 1
  • Prisoner registers, 1863-1865, v. 2
  • Prisoner registers, 1863-1865, v. 3
  • Prisoner registers, 1863-1865, v. 4

Prisoner registers of various locations
DE, Ft. Delaware,  MD, Ft. McHenry, NY, Ft. Lafayette, 1863-1864, v. 424
Prisoner registers of various locations in DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MO, NY & OH, 1861-1865, v. 425-427

Your ancestor may have lived in the south....but did he fight in the Confederate Army or the Union Army?  Be sure to check both.  Occassionally I have found where a soldier has fought on both sides.  Cyndi Howell has a page with info on how to go about ordering Military & Pension Records for the Union Civil War Veterans from the National Archives

Hope this has given you some new ideas for your research.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Confederate Widow Pension Application #2074 --S. R. James(Widow of T. H. James)

While working through the Descendants of my King/Manire 2nd Great Grandparents I found that their oldest daughter Susannah Rebecca King who married Thomas H. James had filed a Widow's claim on Thomas' Confederate Service.  I had the date of their marriage but I didn't know that they were married by Rev. Jessie C Lamb.  This tells me they likely attended Cumberland Presbyterian church.  They were married in 1862 but didn't have children until 1866(after he was home from the war)  The application mentions that Thomas was captured with his company(Company F 17th TN Regiment) at Chickamauga and was in Camp Chase(Ohio) or Camp Douglas(Illinois)

Also among the info in the Pension Application was a listing by age and gender of their 10 children.
6 sons(ages:  24, 10, 8, 7, 5, 3) and 4 daughters(ages"  25, 22, 20, 18)  I just imagine the oldest son was more than ready to have a brother by the time it actually occurred.

The ages of the children do not match what they should be for the time of the application.
The question is phased as follows and is asked immediately after the question asking the for the husband's time of death.

"13.  How many children did you have by your said husband?  Give sex and age at this time?"

I believe she took that to mean at the time of his death( which was 17 yrs prior to her application.  If you add 17 yrs to the ages she lists it will be the ages each of her children should be in 1908 when the application was filed.

When you find a document read through it and see if the information "jives"  Record what info is given but you should also note when the information given doesn't match with known info.  If you can come up with an explanation write that up in your notes but identify it as your explanation...not that of the person who created the document.

  Tennessee established it's Pension board to handle Confederate Solder Pension Applications in 1891.  They did not begin accepting Confederate Widows Pension Applications until 1905.  Complete requirements for each of these as well as an example of each form can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives website.

Visualizing relationships in DNA matches

When I am working with my DNA results and those of my matches, I often find I need to draw out how people were related.  I am a visual person when it comes to working toward a solution.Using Google Tools, I have been able to accomplish a great deal of what I had previously used MS Visio to draw or design.  I also love to use Evernote on occasion.  Lately my GO-TO has been the Google Drawing  tool which is part of Google Docs Toolbox.  I have made a template which I just make a copy of to start a new project.

This is actually a real life example with the names changed.   John & Jane are the couple from whom everyone descends.  Shane and Maggie are siblings which were high matches to the adoptee.
Rodney is the son of Maggie.  Among the adoptee's matches we also found other who descend from John and Jane thru another daughter named Minnie.  The other matches are a granddaughter and Great Grandchildren of Minnie. and I have mapped out their descent and noted the matching cM amounts for those that had tested.  I use the chart at the Shared cMs Project to get an idea of what the relationship might be by taking the amount of matching segments which are 7 cMs in length with that match and totaling them.  Then I find that amount on the chart.  From this I was able to form a hypothesis that the adoptee's birth father is more than likely a descendant thru Lulu.  In my drawing I use the amounts from GEDmatch unless otherwise noted.  (A) for Ancestry's guesstimate and (T) for FTDNA.

To me, it's just better when you can do this and see what is happening...or in some cases what is NOT happening.  Another added perk is the ability to save the file to your Google Drive and have it available to you at any time that you have internet access regardless of which device you are using..

This same technique could probably be accomplished in a regular Google docs or using Google Sheets(Evernote is another option).  I just happen to find that this works for me the best and thought I would share.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Alfred & Fred have an awful lot in common

Working thru descendants of William Benton King and Eliza Jane Manire I began researching their granddaughter Edna Earle Foster.  Edna Earle was the daughter of Margaret Jordan King and William Leroy Foster.   Earle married a man by the name of Alfred Newton Mitchell.  You'd think that would be a name you don't see much...the full name at least.  I was searching thru Ancestry and I notice a link to the WWI Draft Registration Cards  One for a Alfred Newton Mitchell and another for a Fred Newton Mitchell.  So I looked at both of them wondering if he might have a double life.  Stranger things have happened.

Alfred Newton Mitchell

  • DOB March 4th 1883
  • Address Berwyn, Carter, Oklahoma
  • Nearest Relative:  Wife Earl Mitchell
  • Occupation:  Sec Foreman Gulf, Colorado & Sante Fe Railway
  • White Natural Born Citizen
  • Short with a medium build
  • Brown Eyes and Brown Hair
  • Reg. Date Sept 12, 1918

Fred Newton Mitchell
  • DOB Feb 4th 1883
  • Address:  Rio Grande Colorado
  • DOB Feb 4th 1883
  • Nearest Relative:  Wife Hanna Katherine Mitchell
  • Occupation:  Stockman Farmer Self Employed
  • White Natural Born Citizen
  • Short with medium build
  • Light Blue Eyes Dk Brown Hair
  • Reg. Date Sept 12, 1918

Whew....one with blue eyes and one with brown eyes...
I did find them both in 1920 Census.  I checked that also to make sure ...and no the children don't have the same names.  :-)

I think this is how a lot of mistakes get in peoples tree...they see the Suggested Records and take them as fact and just add away.  Alfred Newton Mitchell is the father of several King descendants(specifically Descendants of Wm Benton King & wife Eliza Jane Manire)
Fred Newton Mitchell is not unless his wife Hannah Katherine Myers was a King descendant.  If she was she didn't come from the Wm B King lines.

A plan for helping to identify my 3rd and 4th cousins DNA matches

I've been working on mapping out my chromosomes to specific ancestors.  It has not been an easy process.  I have researched since 1990 but I had not gotten much info beyond the 1950s(outside of my 1st cousins) for the cousins on farther back.  This has made it difficult to tell where someone matches me especially if there is a daughter in their line of decent from the ancestor we have in common.  Too they may not have their lines back to that ancestor.   Bear in mine that 3rd cousins will share a set of 2nd great grandparents and 4th cousins will share a set of 3rd Great Grandparents.   So my plan is to select one of the 8 couples that are my 2nd great grandparents and work on them each week until I complete all 8 as much as I can. Once that is done as best as possible I will move on to the 3rd Greats and start working on them.

This weekend's couple is William Benton King(1819-1901) & Eliza Jane Manire(1818-1896)

I chose to do them first as I have many 4th cousin which are matching known King cousins who have tested but we cannot find how the tie on the King/Manire tree.  So I'm hoping this will get some answers and once I get back to 3rd Greats(I have identified and researched all but 1 of the 16) and start finding their descendants which I don't have listed yet..that should help even more.  Hopefully this will combat some of the frustration of not being about to identify the connect AND put me on the path to finding it.

2nd Great Grandparent Couples

  • Cook/Putman
  • King/Manire
  • Jakes/Morrow
  • Frizzell/Manley
  • Luna/Rigsby
  • Pittman/Adcock
  • Acuff/McElroy
  • Hale/Hitchcock

3rd Great Grandparent Couples

  • Cook/Unknown
  • Putman/Tyler
  • King/Upshaw
  • Manire/Jackson(which is really Lambert by DNA & Blood)
  • Jakes/Harger
  • Morrow/Sutton
  • Frizzell/Kennedy
  • Manley/Frizzell
  • Luna/Lenox(Enoch)
  • Rigby/Lewis
  • Pittman/Hatfield
  • Adcock/Bowles
  • Acuff/Curvin
  • McElroy/Webb
  • Hale/Elzie
  • Hitchcock/Fleming
Not only will this give you a better sense of the many surnames that the descendants of each couple have but it will also make you more familiar with the areas where they settled.  I tell most people that the majority of my line stayed in Tennessee...which is true.. yes my direct line did but many of my cousins went to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and California.

If you decide to do this and need help to keep on track, I suggest putting an event on your calendar and blocking out a time to work on each couple.  I use Google Calendar to keep track of appts, programs, sports events and projects because it lets me detail the event or project and set reminders.
Please let me know if you try this and find it helpful.  I'd love to hear your results.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

AncestryDNA Circles Spreadsheet strategy

This post is about how I am using the info in my AncestryDNA circle to choose which members in the circle would be most beneficial to ask to upload to GEDmatch.com.  If you are not aware of how DNA circles are formed please see the recommended reading links listed at the end of the article. They do have limitations.  You will need segment matches, chromosome browser, triangulation, documented research working together to prove descent.

I have been using the info from my autosomal DNA test which was done at AncestryDNA to map my DNA segments to my Ancestors.  I downloaded my raw DNA and uploaded to GEDmatch where I can compare to others who have tested at any of the other major sites and uploaded their results to the GEDmatch.com website.   I did also do the transfer to FTDNA of my results and other kits I admin because everyone will not upload to GEDmatch....It would be great...but it's just not going to happen. Much like a chromosome browser at Ancestry.  I can deal with that though.

I've tried setting some goals for my larger DNA circles.  My goal is to get as many of my DNA circle matches to upload as possible.  That said, there are other things I'd like to know in deciding which of those circle members would be the most helpful to my research.  

  • Which of the members have matching DNA segments with me?
  • How many centiMorgans does Ancestry guesstimate we share?
  • Along which path do they descend?
  • Are they uploaded to GEDmatch?
I chose one of my larger DNA circles---Jabel Putman 54 Members of which 24 match my kit.

After navigating to my DNA circles and selecting the Jabel Putman Circle this is what it looks like

From the Circle page I click on LIST to show the matches.  This particular circle has 3 pages of matches.  I opened my notepad and copy and pasted the listing of matches to my kit.  I then edited the info and inserted tabs so I could paste it into a spreadsheet.  I did a FIND & REPLACE ALL with DNA MATCH TO CIRCLE and replace with OOO,  Then I did a FIND & REPLACE ALL with DNA MATCH and replaced that text with XXX.(be careful not to reverse those two if you try this)
Once I had my layout like I wanted it, I pasted the info into a spreadsheet and adjusted the columns and added a column for GEDmatch # LINE(of descent). To really get an idea of what can be gained by seeing the kit at GEDmatch, I also added a SEGMENT MATCH column.  There are several other columns in the circle listing(Admin, Group and Connection Strength) and I chose to keep them with the exception of the image files.  I added formatting to make the spreadsheet more visually informative.  In the rows where the circle member was a DNA match to me (XXX) I shaded those rows a pale green. I began populating the GEDmatch # Column by adding the #s of the matches which I knew had uploaded to GEDmatch. While viewing the matches in List Mode, click on Relationship to determine that members line of descent and note it in the LINE column.  I chose to include the child and the grandchild in that column.  For the Segment Match column I viewed the profile for the matches(those with XXX), clicked on the i while viewing to find the guesstimated amount of shared DNA  After I had gotten the spreadsheet populated and formatted to my liking, I sorted by those who had XXX in the match column adding the word ASK in the GEDmatch # column for those who matched me but who had not yet uploaded to that site.

Below is a screenshot of a copy of my spreadsheet(I edited out/modified usernames)
It's a pretty good representation of the randomness of DNA inheritance even though we really have no way of knowing 100% for sure if this ancestor is responsible for the segment match

Looking at the spreadsheet now lets me know the answers to my earlier questions and will let me make the most of my time when contacting my matches and recommending that they upload to GEDmatch..

Recommended reading to learn about AncestryDNA's Circles
Genealogy Junkie's AncestryDNA starter page

Also Roberta Estes' DNA Explained has many articles about AncestryDNA circles.