Archive for category Military Genealogy

Military Monday – Veterans Day Tribute

Posted by Jim Sanders on Monday, 12 November, 2012

I know Veterans Day was technically yesterday and today is the federal holiday since Veterans Day fell on a Sunday. In honor of Veterans Day, I thought I’d mention a number of my ancestors who have served in the military. I have ancestors who have known to have fought in the Korean War, World War II, World War I, The Civil War and the Revolutionary War.

Korean War and World War II Veterans

  • My father, William Alfred Sanders served in World War II as part of the occupational forces in Korea. He was later recalled to serve in the Korean War.

World War I Veterans

  • My maternal grandfather, James Francis Fox served during World War I. He was training in the states when the war ended.
  • My paternal grandfather, William Herbert Sanders also served during World War I. He was also training in the states when the war ended.

Civil War Veterans

  • My ancestor John Douglas Laurie served in the 10th Connecticut Infantry. Unfortunately on October 13, 1864, he was wounded and left on the battlefield as the 10th was forced to retreat. He was captured and became a prisoner of war. He was paroled a few days later and died less than a month after the battle.
  • My ancestor Edwin A. Banks served in the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery. He enlisted at the age of 17 and was in a number of battles with his twin brother Edward.
  • My ancestor Patrick Fraher served in the 12th US Regular Army. He was injured during training and was discharged due to a disability. He never saw any action.

Revolutionary War Veterans

  • My ancestor Abel Ford served in the Revolutionary War. He served during the battle when General Burgoyne surrended in upstate New York.
  • My ancestor Moses Oysterbanks served in the Revolutionary War
  • My ancestor James Shepard served in the Revolutionary War
  • My ancestor Seth Gray served in the Revolutionary War

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Military Monday – Revolutionary War Pension Files

Posted by Jim Sanders on Monday, 5 November, 2012

For those of us lucky enough to have ancestors who were here during the revolutionary war and who served either with the militia or the regular army, there may be a pension file. These pension files contain a wide array of information about their lives and their military experience.

Below is one page from the pension file of revolutionary war veteran Abel Ford.
Abel Ford - Revolutionary War Veteran
This particular document indicates his service in Captain Benjamin’s company and indicates how much he got paid for his seven months of service.

Here is another document also from Abel’s pension file.
Abel Ford -Revolutionary War Veteran
It describes all of his various service. Other documents in his pension file indicate he was involved in the battle where General Burgoyne surrendered.

The document below is from the pension file of Moses O Banks
Abel Ford -Revolutionary War Veteran
Many of the documents in a revolutionary war pension file may look like the document above. It is essentially an affidavit documenting the revolutionary war veterans service and what battles if any he fought in. In many cases it will contain a signature of your ancestor.

Where can you find revultionary war pension files? You can search for revolutionary war pension files on Heritage Quest as well as other subscription based websites.
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Military Monday Mystery – Civil War Veteran Patrick Fraher

Posted by Jim Sanders on Monday, 24 September, 2012

My ancestor Patrick Fraher has always intrigued me. There are many brick walls in my genealogy which surround him. He was born, married and had two children in Ireland. He then went to England where he had two more children. Finally he moved to the United States in about 1860 where he had five more children. I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any records about him outside of the United States. I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any exact date of birth, marriage or death. There’s also a black sheep part of him which I find fascinating. There are reports in newspapers about him being arrested for being drunk. There’s also a report in a newspaper about him escaping from an insane asylum. However, that story is for another time.

This blog post mystery is about his time during the civil war. Patrick apparently served during the civil war. The photo below is him in his civil war uniform.

Patrick Fraher - Civil War

There is no doubt that the photo above is Patrick Fraher. I have in my possession a 19th century photo album known to belong to one of Patrick’s daughters (Mary). Pictured below is Patrick, with presumably his wife Sarah. The head shots of both photos were super imposed on top of one another with different intensities and the facial features are identical. The two photos are of the same man.

Patrick Fyaher and Sarah Hayes

With no doubt left that Patrick served in the civil war, there are a number of questions to be answered. When did he serve? What unit did he serve with? The cap in the civil war photo seems to suggest an artillery unit, due to the insignia. I went to the civil war soldiers and sailors system to see if I could find Patrick. There were two Patrick Frahers. One served for a Massachusetts Volunteer Artillery Unit and another which served in the 12th US Regulars. The Massachusetts volunteer was known to have died in Andersonville Prison, so this could not be my Patrick. The other served in an infantry unit, which was not what I expected from the insignia.

A professional genealogist I had contacted about getting some civil war pension and service records was able to find some information about the Patrick Fraher who served in the 12th US Regulars. This Patrick Fraher served for a very short period of time. He enlisted in the upper part of New York State. He was also born in County Waterford, Ireland. This record seems very promising that it could be my Patrick, even though the unit may not be an artillery unit. My Patrick was enumerated in the 1865 New York Census in Essex County New York, which was fairly close to the place where the Patrick Fraher from the 12th US Regular enlisted.

For those professional genealogist veterans would this satisfy the Genealogical Proof Standard? Would this be enough proof to say that the Patrick Fraher who served in the 12th US Regular Army is my Patrick Fraher? I’ve tried finding other Patrick Fraher civil war veterans. Fraher can and has been misspelled many different ways (Fryher, Friher, Friar, and Frier). No other Patrick seems to fit with the known facts. I believe my Patrick was the one who served in the 12th US Regular and it seems more likely than not. I would love to hear feedback regarding this finding and conclusion.

A family group sheet with Patrick, his wife and children can be found in this earlier post for those who are interested.

Prior Post with Fraher Family Group Sheet

Military Monday – Draft Registration Cards

Posted by Jim Sanders on Monday, 3 September, 2012

There are many military records useful in genealogy. Most talked about military records are perhaps pension records and service records. Another type of military record very useful for genealogy is the draft registration cards. A draft existed for various wars from the Civil War all the way up to the Vietnam War.

More than 20 million men who were living in the United States at the time of World War I filled out a draft registration card. Almost all men between the ages of 18 and 46 were included in the draft. If you have a male ancestor who was between 18 and 46 living in the United States at the time World War I, seek out their draft registration card. Even if they didn’t serve and even if they were not citizens of the United States you can most likely find their draft card.

When World War II started, the United States instituted another draft. This time anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 were required to register. Millions of men filled out and completed their draft registration forms. Many of these cards are currently not available to the public due to privacy laws, but the old man’s draft is available. It is called the old man’s draft by many due to the fact that all men in this draft were born in the 19th century and would have been over 40 when the war started. You may be able to access some of the restricted draft registration cards if you are a direct descendant and the individual is deceased. Finding a WWI draft card and then finding that same individual in the old man’s draft of WWII has led to breakthroughs in my own research.

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Depending upon the war and which draft registration card your ancestor is listed on, you can find out a great many details about your ancestor. I had a breakthrough using draft registration cards for my wife’s ancestors. I knew Domenico Fazzari was born in Italy and was married to Genevieve. I had found census records and knew approximately when he was born. I then turned to the Draft Registration cards. Unfortunately, I found two Domenico Fazzari’s WWI Draft Registration cards. One was born in 1889 and the other was born in 1887. The one born on April 4, 1887 was a welder. Descendants thought that Domenico was a welder so I was pretty sure this was my Domenico.

Domenico Fazzari - WWI Draft Registration

I felt I had pretty good circumstantial evidence, but there was still a chance the other Domenico was the right one. I then turned to the WWII Draft Registration Cards. I found both Domenico’s again. This time the Domenico born on April 4, 1887 showed Mrs. Genevieve Fazzari as a person who would always know his address. With this added information I knew I had the right Domenico.

Domenico Fazzari - WWII Draft Registration

What hidden genealogy nuggets are in these two records of Domenico Fazzari? Let’s take a quick look.

  • Dominick Fazzari was born on 4-Feb-1887 in Cittanova, Italy
  • He was tall with a medium build, brown eyes and black hair
  • He was a sideline welder at L. G Johnson & Co.
  • By the time of the WWI Draft, he filed his 2nd papers for citizenship
  • By the time of the WWI Draft, he was married and had a child
  • At the time of the WWI Draft, he lived at 3031 (Corbent)? Ave.
  • At the time of the WWII Draft, he lived at 2404 Crotona Ave., Bronx, NY
  • At the time of the WWII Draft, he was a patient at Essex Mountain Sanatorium, Verona, NJ
  • At the time of the WWII Draft, he was unemployed
  • If you collect ancestor signatures, the signature is on both draft registration forms.

If you’re looking to jump across the pond to find your ancestor in their homeland, you need to know the ancestors town back in the old country. The WWI and WWII draft registration cards will normally have this information for an immigrant ancestor. This was the case with my Domenico Fazzari. With this added information I was able to contact the town of Cittanova, Italy. They sent me a copy of Domenico birth record which showed his parents.