Archive for category Military Genealogy

Military Monday – Draft Registration Cards

Posted by 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.

Search Military Records - Fold3

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.

Military Monday – Civil War Pension Records

Posted by on Monday, 27 August, 2012

Last Monday we saw what type of information you might find within a Civil War Service record. This week we will explore what hidden genealogy nuggets may be contained within a Civil War Pension record. Either a Civil War Soldier or wife would be able to file for a pension. On rare occasions, even a mother or father would be able to file for their deceased son.

Civil War Pension for Nicholas Laurie,
Widow of John D. Laurie, 10th Connecticut Infantry

John Douglas Laurie enlisted in company E of the 10th Connecticut Infantry. This unit was one of the most successful of all the units in the Civil War from Connecticut. John was wounded and captured in a batlle on Dabrytown Road in Virginia on October 13, 1864. He was paroled a few days later and died of his wound on November 3, 1864. This left his wife Nicholas to provide care for five Laurie children and herself.

Nicholas (Martin) Laurie applied for a Widow’s Army Pension. She had to prove that she and John were actually married and that the five children were John’s. This proved to be a somewhat difficult task. John and Nicholas were married in Scotland. There first two children were also born there. A third child was born at sea as Nicholas was coming to the United States.

In the civil war pension file there were papers which were copied onto nineteen legal sized pieces of paper. One of the documents in the pension folder was the family bible entries for each of their John and Nicholas’ children. The bible enties list the date of each birth and where they were born.

Civil War Pension Record - John D. Laurie - 10th Connecticut Infantry

There were various affidavits testifying to the fact that John and Nicholas cohabitated like husband and wife. There was an affidavits from a reverand who baptised a few of the Laurie children in the United States.. Many of the documents were hand written and difficult to read.

Civil War Pension Record - John D. Laurie - 10th Connecticut Infantry - b

Here are some facts pulled from the pension file.

  • John Douglas Laurie married Nicholas Martin on 28-Dec-1849 in Thornhill Dumfrieshire
  • Grace Laurie b. 9-Sep-1850 in Thornhill, Scotland.
  • Elizabeth Laurie b. 22-Aug-1852 in Glasgow, Scotland
  • John Laurie b. 11-Sep-1854 at sea
  • William Laurie b. 22-Jun-1856 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA
  • Annie Laurie b. 16-Nocv-1857 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Ultimately Nicholas’ pension was approved. However she did not get credit for her oldest child while the amount of here pension was determined.

Civil War Pension for Edwin A. Banks,
2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery

Edwin A. Banks served with his twin brother Edward A. Banks in the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery during the civil war. He applied for and received a pension for his service in the early 1900s. A wealth of information was contained in his civil war pension records. A lot of the information was already known, but a number of additonal facts were learned. Edwin’s pension file consisted of sixteen legal sized pieces of paper. Each document in the file has the potential to contain just that missing piece of evidence you need. From one original declaration for pension document, the following facts can be attained. You will need to read and re-read each of the documents from the pension file.

Civil War Pension Record - Edwin Banks - 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery

Military Service:

  • He enrolled on 2-Jan-1864 in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • He was a private in Company A, Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery.
  • He was honorable discharged at Fort Ethan Allen, Virginia on 18-Aug-1865.
  • He did not at any other time serve in the military.

Places of residence:

  • Edwin lived in Hartford, Connecticut from 1865 after being discharged until 1882.
  • He lived in Washington, DC from 1882 to 1886.
  • He lived in Revere, Massachusetts from 1886 to 1893.
  • He lived in Hartford, Connecticut from 1893 to 1897.
  • He lived in Norwood, Massachusetts from 1897 to 1906.
  • He lived in Brooklyn, New York from 1906 to 1908.
  • On 4-Dec-1908, he was living at 2109, Pacific Street in Brooklyn, New York, the same address as Alfred E. Banks (his son).

Physical Description:

  • He was 5 feet 2 inches tall, had a light complexion with brown hair and dark colored eyes.

I had not known before that Edwin had moved to Washington DC. It happened in between the census and I had not found city directories to look for. Because the pension records put Edwin in Washington DC, I found he was working for the Federal Government. I was even able to find out how many hours he worked one year and what he got paid per hour. All that addiitonal information I would not have been able to find if it had not been for his pension record.

Here are just a few additional facts contained within Edwin’s Pension file

Civil War Pension Record - Edwin Banks - 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery - b

  • He was born on 28-Nov-1846.
  • He was married to Mary A. McKeown on 22-Apr-1869
  • He had three and only three childrem. The birth dates of his children are listed.
  • Various resident addresses are listed for various points in his life including after 1908.
  • He was unable to earn a support by 11-Feb-1905 due to a heart condition and rhumatism.
  • His pension started out at $6 per month and increased a number of times.
  • By 1918, Edwin was receiving a pension of $38 per month.

If you have civil war ancestors, order the full civil war pension file. You can hire a professional from the area to get them for you. You can save a lot of money this way and get the records a lot sooner than ordering them through NARA. There are a lot of hidden genealogy nuggets in civil war pension files.

Military Monday – Civil War Service Recods

Posted by on Monday, 20 August, 2012

The civil war produced a lot of records of great value for the family historian and genealogist. The civil war service records do not get as much focus for genealogy as the pension records. However, the family historian should not overlook the potential hidden genealogy nuggets within these records.

Edward A Banks enlisted in the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery. He was seventeen at the time of his enlistment. Below is a note from his grandfather and guardian which gave him permission to enlist in the Army of the United States. His twin brother who enlisted just days later did not have the same type of handwritten note from his grandfather.

Civil War Service Record - Edward Banks - Orrin Shepard permission

If your ancestor ended up in a hospital for some reason or another, a record should exist within the service records. With this information you would be able to exclude some battlles your ancestor might have fought in. Here we find out that on May 23, 1865 Edward A Banks was admitted to the Douglas General Hospital in Washington DC.

Civil War Service Record - Edward Banks - Hospital Admission

If you like collecting signatures of your ancestors, a good place to find one would be on your ancestors enlistment papers. Here Edwin A Banks of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery signs his enlistment papers. He declares that he is eighteen years old. We know though that he is only seventeen as his twin brother needed his grandfathers permission to enlist.

Civil War Service Record - Edwin Banks - Enlistment Paper

Search Military Records - Fold3

A company descriptive roll will have a partial description of him. It will indicate how tall he was, the color of his hair and eyes and his complexion. Edwin A Banks was 5 feet 2 (1/4) inches tall with brown hair, dark eyes and a light complexion.

Civil War Service Record - Edwin Banks - Descriptive Roll

If your ancestor was unlucky enough to become a prisoner of war, you will find out some details. John D. Laurie of the 10th Connecticut Infantry was captured on Darbytown Rd in Virginia on October 13, 1864. He was paroled four days later on October 17 and admitted to a hospital on October 20.

Civil War Service Record - John D Laurie - Prisoner of War

And if your ancestor died during the civil war, details about his death and burial can be found. John D. Laurie died of his wounds on November 3, 1864. He was buried in Ash Grove Cemetery.

Civil War Service Record - John D Laurie - Death and burial

The service records and pension records can be ordered through NARA. However, you can hire a genealogist from the Washington DC area, save money and get the copies faster than you would by ordering them through NARA. I did this for my own civil war records and saved more the 50% of what I would of had to pay if I order them through NARA.

Military Monday & Blogiversary

Posted by on Monday, 28 May, 2012

Today in the United States we celebrate Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of United States. Today is also the one year anniversary of when I started this blog. In honor of Memorial Day I’d like to take this opportunity and talk about my ancestor who fought and died in the service of the United States. I invite you who might be visiting this site today or any day to mention your own ancestor who gave thier life in the service of the United States. If you don’t have an ancestor who died giving service, perhaps mention an ancestor of yours who was in the military.

My ancestor John Douglas Laurie was born in Scotland. He was married to Nicholas Martin on December 28, 1849. John and Nicholas had five children Grace, Elizabeth, John, William and Annie. The oldest Grace was born in 1850 and the youngest Annie was born in 1857. John enlisted in Company E of the Tenth Connecticut Infantry as a private on September 30, 1861. His children at that time ranged in age from not quite four years old to eleven years old. He was off to protect the union as so many others were doing.

The Tenth Connecticut Infantry was one of the most successful units from Connecticut during the Civil War. They first saw action on February 8, 1862 in the Battle of Roanoke Island in North Carolina. Just over a month later on March 14 they were engaged in the Battle of New Berne. Over the course of the next year and a half, the Tenth Connecticut participated in many skirmishes and battles including but not limted to Kingston on December 12, Whitehall on December on 16, Goldsboro December on 17, Secessionville on July 16, 1863, and the siege and capture of Fort Wagner in 1863. The muster rolls from the start of the war up until September 15, 1863 show John as either present or not stated. He was very likely engaged in almost all of the battles the Tenth Connecticut had seen up until this point in the war.

On September 15, 1863 John was furloughed for 30 days and was in a hospital at New Haven, Connecticut. It is likely he was there for an illness as opposed to some battle injury as no mention of injury has been found. John returned to his unit on December 28, 1863, much longer than the original 30 day furlough. At that time, the Tenth Connecticut was in St. Augustine, FL. On January 1, 1864 John re-enlisted as a veteran volunteer and was promoted to a corporal. He was given a furlough for 30 days on February 13 and was in Connecticut.

Search Civil War Records - Fold3

The unit stayed in Florida until April of 1864. After that they were in action in a number of additional battles including but not limited to Port Waltahll Juction on May 7, Fort Darling from May 12 to May 16, Petersberg on June 9 Deep Bottom on July 27 & 28 and Chaffin’s Farm frm September 28 to September 30. The Tenth Connecticut’s original three year enlistment was up on September 30 for many of the soldiers. The ranks were depleted and the number of men left were about 100 men.

On October 13, 1864, the unit was tasked to do reconnoissance on Darbytown Road. The tenth was tasked with other units to take the rebels which were dug in. In that skirmish, what was left of the Tenth Connecticut was descimated. This was the only battle in which the Tenth Connecticut was forced to retreat. John was wounded and left on the battlefield.

John became a prisoner of war and was confined at Richmond, VA for a very short period of time. He was paroled on October 17, 1864 and in a Union Hospital by October 20. He died of his wounds on November 3, 1864, twenty days after he was shot. The service records indicated he was buried in Ash Grove Cemetery. However, there is cemetery plot for him in Zion Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut. I’m not sure if his body was moved from Ash Grove or if the plot at Zion Hill was just a memorial stone.

At the time of his death his children ranged in age from not quite eight years old to just 14 years old. Nicholas Laurie applied for a widow’s pension. After a long period of time and a number of affidavids a widows pension was granted.

The service records and pension records of John Douglas Laurie was invaluable in knowing about his time in the military was well as providing genealogical information about his marriage and children. The pension record included a copy of what appears to be bible records. The date and place of his marriage and birthdates of his children are included. If you have ancestors who fought during the civil war, I highly reccommend you get both the service records and the pension records.