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April 30, 2011

Review: Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors

Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors by David A. Norris
published by Moorshead Magazines Ltd. 2011
Glossy Magazine format, 82 pages

David A Norris combined  his expertise in Civil War history with his love of genealogy research to write Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors. Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors is a collection of resources, both well known and obscure, combined with ideas, hints and suggestions on where to research.

Mr. Norris covers such topics as how to begin looking for a Civil War ancestor, how to find an African American Civil War soldier or sailor, finding records of Southern ancestors who served in the Union army.  He also explains how to find and access Civil War records such as medical records, pension records, amnesty papers and Southern claims, income tax records, cemetery records, prisoners of war, newspaper records, 1865 Payroll List, NARA Civil War service records, and records from Soldiers, Sailors and Widows' Homes.

Each of the topics covered includes a comprehensive list of what is available and where it can be accessed. Explanations of each record set is also given, which is very helpful for researchers. Many interesting facts are included with each chapter. For example the chapter on Pension Records provides an interesting account of the last known Civil War widow, Maudie Celia Hopkins who died in 2008 at age 83. How Mrs. Hopkins became a Civil War widow is the intriguing part of the factual tidbit! (Hint: At the age of 19 she married an 87 year old former Civil War soldier)

I was really impressed with this work. The magazine looked professional and the cover photo of a Civil War soldier in full uniform made me want to read what was inside. It is an excellent resource for all levels, from the beginner to the more experienced researcher. While researchers might be able to find the same information by spending many hundreds of hours at their computers and in various repositories, Mr. Norris' 82 pages have very capably put it all together in one easy to read format. At $9.95 you can't go wrong.

1 comment:

Jim S said...

I've see the publication as well and loved it. I have three civil war ancetsors of my own. It was well worth getting both the service records and the pension records. You can order them through NARA. However, I hired a professional genealogist from the NARA area and paid less than 1/2 the cost of ordering them through NARA. I also got the copies much faster. See my blog Civil War Ancestors for more details.

Regards, Jim