Saturday, April 9, 2011

Civil War Ancestors-One Young, One Old(ish)

Because April 12 is the the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War at Ft. Sumter, I'm sure the media this week will be covering the topic. To mark the occasion in my own manner, I decided to take a look at to see if there was anything new.  Neither a paternal great-great-grandfather, Erastus Murray, and a maternal great-grandfather, Everett Gaskill, both of whom were Union soldiers during the Civil War, show up in the online Compiled Service Records.  I'm crossing my fingers that the records I'd already requested from NARA will bear fruit. 

But I was excited that I found some new information on Erastus and Everett. In this new information, it was physical descriptions that caught my attention: 

Erastus had brown eyes, grey hair, was dark complected and was 5' 9-1/2" tall.  It also said he was 45, so he probably lied to join.  Census records over the years show he was born around 1811-1812, making him 52 or 53. And I was excited to see another source stating his place of birth as Cayuga County, but I'm still not convinced that's where he was born. 

Everett had blue eyes, light hair, had a fair complexion, and was 5' 5-1/2" tall. He was 19.

Original data: Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts of New York State Volunteers, United States Sharpshooters, and United States Colored Troops [ca. 1861-1900](microfilm, 1185 rolls).Albany, New York: New York State Archives.

This collection contains abstracts compiled from original muster rolls for New York State infantry units involved in the Civil War. The records have personal enlistment information and military service, as well as regiment engagements.  A New York state law passed in 1863 required a record be made and preserved with pertinent information of every New Yorker who had volunteered for service. In 1876, New York authorized funds to copy the muster-out rolls, which is where this collection came from. 

1 comment:

  1. I always get a kick out of finding these documents that include physical descriptions of my ancestors, so I bet you have similar reactions when you find them for your family.

    Thanks for sharing this in the Challenge!