When I begin to research an ancestor that I haven’t looked at in quite a while, I find it very helpful (and satisfying!) to fill out (or re-read) the Ancestor Inventory Form.
As I fill out the form, it’s good to see what I’ve already collected. Have I collected any new memorabilia for the family? If so, have I photographed or scanned everything and included the images in my database? Does all of the information I have in Ancestry have sources? Or did I copy the information from someone else’s tree to use as a clue for additional research? Have I downloaded all the documents I’ve collected in Ancestry or attached in FamilySearch? It’s a great opportunity to double-check my file names to be sure they follow my naming convention.
I do a lot of quick, high-level searches – for example, looking for all of the census records for each of the children – including after they have their own household. Often, if I can’t find a specific person in the census records, I will find them living with one of their children. But if I’m only collecting records for my direct line, things like this can be easily missed. How many were living in 1950 and might show up in the newly released census images? Are there military draft records I haven’t looked for yet? Other proof of military service? The 1840, 1890, and 1910 census records have information about military service, but did I look for it? Or did I stop after finding the name?
Using the Notes area in Ancestry, I begin to write or update a basic biography. As I write, I come up with a list of questions or research ideas and add them to my Research Plan for that individual. Later, when I have a little more time to really think, I’ll brainstorm places to research to find answers to my questions. And hopefully, in my Research Plan, I’ve kept track of record sets that I’ve already searched so I don’t waste time looking at those sources again.
Are there any FANs (friends/family, associates, neighbors) to add to my research list? Are there new record sets available that weren’t digitized the last time I researched this family? How about local newspapers? For my Russell County family, there are digital newspapers available through the local library website, but I only recently discovered that, so do the dates available make it possible that it could be fruitful to search now?
This is what I do when I need a “quick” refresh on what I’ve already researched. By the time I finish with all of this, I’ve made a great leap from “where was I?” to “what’s next?”!
After completing a long research project for a cousin of mine, I really started digging into my grandfather’s WWII military service. My goal was/is to put together a shadowbox highlighting his service. I have put off this research because I know so little about military research and because I knew that the majority of the WWII Army records were destroyed in a fire in 1973 at the St. Louis archives. A couple of years ago, I helped my mother request his military files from the National Archives. Unfortunately, his records were lost. I did receive 3 records, but I didn’t really understand their significance at the time.
So a couple of weeks ago, I pulled those things out and began to research. I talked with a research company and my contact person there talked me through information that I DID have from those 3 records. Since that time, I have tried to educate myself even more about the types of records that are available.
My grandparents lived in Johnson County, Indiana, but they moved back and forth several times to their hometown in Russell County, Kentucky. I decided to dig into the newspaper records that are available through the Russell County Public Library to see if I could find anything new. And boy, was I happy that I did!
I found an article listing all of the Russell County men who were leaving for the service on January 26, 1944 and my grandfather was listed! This was quite a surprise to me because my mother was alive at that time and yet she didn’t think that she had ever lived anywhere other than the town where she was born in Indiana. Click on any of the images to see a larger version.
The next item that I found was a short note from my great-grandfather telling the newspaper that my grandfather had been wounded in France, but “was not doing so bad”.
Imagine my (and my mother’s!) surprise to later find that my grandfather had written to the newspaper from his hospital bed! Frustrated that there is a portion that is unreadable, but happy to read what we could see! If only I could find a location that has the actual newspapers instead of digital scans…(if anyone knows, please leave me a comment!)
The next clipping was short and puzzling…
Not sure what a “hospital plant” is, but I did find another clipping that helped explain a bit.
Excited with the success I had with the “hometown” Kentucky newspaper, I decided I’d better take a closer look at the Franklin, Indiana newspaper found on Newspapers.com because that’s where the family lived before, during and after the war.
My heart gave a little flutter when I read that these veterans had filed “photostatic copies of discharges” in the county recorder’s office, and my grandfather’s name was included in the continuation of the article on page 5!
So I found the website for the Johnson County, Indiana recorder’s office and I sent an email asking if they still had those records…and they did! HOWEVER, she wasn’t sure if those records could be released, even to my mother, so she suggested that I contact the Johnson County Veteran’s Administration. I tried giving them a call, but I got an answering machine, so once again, I sent an email. The service officer responded and we set up a call and I told him what I was looking for. He told me that he would look into it and would call me back.
When he called back, I about fell over when he told me that the records had been printed and were waiting to be picked up! I jumped in the car and headed to my mother’s house – 3 hours away. The next morning, we made our way to the recorder’s office. Long story short…I now have a copy of the discharge records that my grandfather had filed with the recorder 76 years ago! Talk about a happy dance! On the back of the Report of Separation, I have a copy of his Honorable Discharge certificate. (If you decide to try this route, let me tell you that because the VA service officer had requested the file, he had to be the one to pick it up. Luckily, his office was across the street. The one thing we didn’t have, which would have allowed us to pick it up ourselves was a copy of my grandfather’s death certificate.)
I know there is more to be found now that I have the information on this record, but for now, I’m over the moon and making a list of additional items to research! In fact, I haven’t been able to sleep since I received the record…it’s a good thing the weekend is coming! Between this research and the 1950 census coming out, I see some late nights in my future!
A “workflow” is a pre-determined set of steps for your genealogy research. Your workflow should:
Make you more efficient by keeping you from searching through records you’ve already searched or from skipping over record collections that you haven’t looked through yet.
Help you to analyze new discoveries in light of information you’ve already collected.
Remind you what your thoughts were in your previous research.
Keep your records organized, consistent and easily accessible.
Make sure you can find the records again, if needed.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time creating family history books for family. One of the hardest things I do for these books is to write biographies. But the biographies are one of the most helpful things that I do to guide my research.
I don’t enjoy writing (which seems a little strange for a blogger!). To make it a little easier, I use the Notes feature in Ancestry and write little bits here and there. I often use the “LifeStory” section of an ancestor’s profile page to get started rather than looking at a blank page. But after looking at these auto-created segments, I find them quite repetitive. I spend a lot of time re-wording these snippets so that every biography doesn’t start the same and doing those a little at a time makes it less overwhelming to me.
Most of the time, while writing the biography, I’ll realize that there is information I have never searched for (or haven’t looked for in a long time) and I think of questions that I’d like to research. That will lead to a research session. When I start a session, here’s my basic workflow:
Begin a Word document to keep track of the research for the day.
This document is my “train of thought” as I proceed through my research. It’s like an organized conversation I have with myself. Very informal, but in an outline format that allows me to add or delete information as I research. During the session, I’m keeping track of what record set I’m searching, what I’ve found, notes on the source/website and additional questions that I think of along the way. I also keep notes on “bright shiny objects” that I want to come back to later.
After the session, this document may be copied into a person’s folder for additional research at a later time, be translated into another “form” or tracker, or may be expanded to become a blog post.
Write the question being researched at the top of the document.
I try to come up with 1 main question. More specific than “what can I find today” (which is a never-ending, unsatisfying trap which I find myself falling into much too often).
Every search becomes a bullet in the Word document. If I look at a record set on FamilySearch, I try to write down which records I’m looking at and if I found anything. If I find a record, I write out my own version of a citation (Year, County, State, Name of book, Volume and Page number, image number) and any other helpful information about the record. I also add a note if I decide NOT to download something. For example, I may not download a record showing my ancestor being assigned to do road work. Otherwise, I assume I’ve downloaded everything found.
As records are downloaded, I add them directly into the person’s folder on my Google Drive. Each record is immediately renamed so I don’t have to figure it out again later. I love Google Drive for this purpose. I can even access it at the my public library so that when I find records that can only be accessed from a FHL affiliate library, I don’t have to put them on a flash drive to bring home and copy later.
Because my document is my train of thought, sometimes, I keep track of additional questions that might help me answer the original question. This question is added to the Word document in bold if I’m going to research it during the same session or in red if I’m going to come back at a later date. For example, if my question is “Where was Andrew Stephens in the 1860 census?”, I might try to find him through his children. So a new question might be, “Where are each of Andrew’s children in 1860?” followed by a chart with that information.
I use red italics for any new questions, notes, or ideas for additional research to make them easy to find later. A sample note might be, “I looked at the Volume 3 Court Orders book, but there was no index. Come back later with a plan to go through this book.”
Information found with a quick scan of the record is recorded as a sub-bullet. For example, if I’m looking at a land record, but don’t want to take the time at that moment to transcribe it, I’ll use sub-bullets to show the date, how many acres, any watercourse given, witnesses and neighbors. If I decide to transcribe the document, I often come back and add it to the Word Document and then copy it into a stand-alone document. (If you’ve ever slogged through a difficult to read land survey, you understand why you don’t want to do it more than once!)
If I’m keeping the Word document as is, I try to write a final answer or theory to the question I wrote at the beginning before saving it to the person’s folder on Google Drive.
If I haven’t yet found the answer to my initial question, I make a short list of what I intend to research next to give me a jumping off point when I come back for additional research. The red italics are a great way to create your list! My research time is precious, so I don’t want to have to figure out what I was thinking if I don’t get back to this research for a couple of months.
So now that the research session is over, what next?
If I was able to answer the original question or come up with a solid theory with no additional ideas to research, I edit the Ancestry biography I’ve been writing in the Notes feature to include the new information. Often, I’ll add a note to myself as a reminder that I have a Word doc in the works in order to continue my research.
If I downloaded a document that I’d like to save to the Gallery on Ancestry, I upload that document and connect it to an entry on that Ancestor’s timeline. Or add a new entry based on the document. To me, the more entries in the timeline, the easier it is to write the biography.
Here’s some bonus information – did you know that you can sort the items you have in an Ancestry gallery? If I begin the title of every item in the gallery with a year, then sort alphabetically, the items become a timeline of sorts! That’s the way I keep my documents in Google Drive, so it’s nice to have the same ability within Ancestry.
Items that I download but don’t usually add to the Gallery would be items like tax records just because of the sheer number of records. Most items in my Gallery will show up as hints when I do a search on Ancestry because someone else has added them to their own tree – which I have NO problem with! But I do become quite irritated with seeing the long list of items after I’ve clicked the button to ignore that particular hint because I already have it in my Gallery. I do realize that the search function is changing a lot right now. But if they can tell me that I’ve clicked on “ignore” for a hint, why does it clutter up my search results again? Maybe I’m missing some setting…
I update any trackers that I have including my Research Log, Ancestor Inventory, and/or Real Estate Sheet.
If I think my Word Doc might eventually become a blog post, I save it and add a new question at the end to continue with later. This is how my 17 part case study for John M. Smith came about!
Because I was specifically asked (Hi Janet!), I’ll admit that I don’t really use any genealogy software. It seems redundant to me to enter information in my various trackers and Ancestry, as well as into a software program. Multiply that if I want to also update my tree information on FamilySearch, MyHeritage, etc. I do, occasionally, download my GEDCOM from Ancestry to RootsMagic so that I can print a report. I know that most researchers disagree with this, but I’d have to see some real evidence that it would save me time in the long run to change my mind.
So that’s my workflow. I’d love to hear suggestions for additional ideas!
Sometimes, I get so focused on searching for something, it doesn’t occur to me that there might be another version of the same thing that would be helpful in my research.
I do the majority of my research on Ancestry, and it seems to do a very good job of finding the Pension Index Cards for ancestors who participated in the Civil War.
I knew that William M. Dugger had fought in the Mexican War based on the Pension Index Card Ancestry found for his Civil War service.
Using the application numbers on this card, I was able to find the Pension Numerical Index cards on Fold3.
So looking for the same information for the Mexican War, I was able to find a Pension Index Card for William on FamilySearch.
And even though I have the application number and certificate number, I decided to see if there were Pension Numerical Index cards for these as well. I will be looking for #3720 and #1412.
From the Fold3 page for the Numerical Index cards, you can click on “Browse” and then make your way through the menus to find the card with the correct number. Or you can put the application or certificate number in the search box and go directly to the card. If you don’t have the application or certificate numbers, you can do a search on your ancestor’s name and then see if there’s a card that matches the information that you have. I wasn’t necessarily surprised that there were cards for the Mexican War, but I WAS surprised and the number of conflicts included on the card!
While these cards didn’t give me any new information, I know that sometimes you get a nice surprise. And it opened my eyes to an opportunity I never considered before. So, if you have an ancestor who you believe may have fought in a conflict BEFORE the Civil War, don’t neglect these cards!
I can see that there are additional notations about William participating in the Mexican War. Can I find information for that?
I grew up in Texas, so I’m sure we studied this war during elementary school, but I actually know next to nothing about it. According to the FamilySearch wiki, the war was a result of the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. The Mexican War was a short conflict which began April 25, 1846 and lasted about a year and 9 months, ending on February 2, 1848. By the end of the war, the US added around one million square miles of territory including current day Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, as well as parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. These new areas became battlegrounds between those who were for and against slavery. It is interesting to note that William and Lucinda were married on August 18, 1845, and the War began less than a year after that.
To begin researching available records, I watched a Webinar on FamilyTreeWebinars called “Researching Your Mexican War Ancestor”. It was a huge help and showed me that there aren’t a ton of records available online. So anything that I CAN find is worth keeping track of!
Using the FamilySearch wiki for the Mexican War, I started researching the links they have available. There appears to be a lot more available for volunteers vs. regular army. But I was eventually able to find the 1847 Army Register of Enlistments and William was listed there. This register is an alphabetical list of soldiers (based on first letter of surname) arranged chronologically by date of enlistment.
It was disappointing that the physical description and birth information was not included for William. But here’s what I did learn:
Enlisted Apr 24, 1847, at Mt. Vernon, KY, which is about 25 miles from William’s home
US Army 16th Infantry Company E
Discharged August 4, 1848, due to expiration of service at New Orleans, LA – a private (I recall from my research that the war officially ended on February 2, 1848, so I suppose that William enlisted in the Army for a specific period of time that was not specific to this war.)
I would love to know more about how a soldier made it home – did he walk? Ride a horse? How long did that take? I know that William and Lucinda had a child in late July of 1849, so William must have made it home by October 1848.
The Pension Index card for William can be found on FamilySearch.org on Film 5189112 and William’s card is image 3346. The name of the record set is “Index to Mexican War Pension Files, 1887-1926”. The cards are arranged alphabetically. The cards are available to scan through or you can use the “United States Mexican War Pension Index” which is linked toward the top of the screen. The only drawback to using the index is that the name on the card might be spelled differently and could lead to missing the card. But this is no different from using any other index, so my suggestion is to use the Index first as this can save you a lot of time. Note also that you CAN do a search for the widow’s name.
What information can I glean from this card?
William Dugger – no middle initial but seeing Lucinda’s name gives me confidence.
William served in Company E of the 16th US Infantry. This is the first time I’ve done any research for this war, so I will be seeing what I can find out about this unit. I do know this is not a volunteer unit, but rather a “regular army” unit, but the limited research I have done so far only tells me that the 16th US Infantry participated in the war. I’m hoping to find more but I’m unsure where to look.
It appears that a Widow’s pension was granted, making me wonder if that’s why we see no certificate number for the Civil War pension.
Widow’s pension application was filed on June 14, 1887. That’s 6 years after applying for the Civil War widow’s pension, so is probably NOT the reason for no Civil War pension.
Widow’s application #3720 – I would love to get my hands on this application!
Under the act of Jan 29, 1887
(FamilySearch) Pensions were first granted to Mexican War veterans and widows based on the act of January 29, 1887. Eligibility requirement included 60 day service, or were actually engaged in battle, honorably discharged and at least 62 years of age. The act included widows who had not remarried.
Reb (?) Wid O 280186 – this is the same number from the Civil War Pension Index card. I don’t know what Reb could be.
K 3 Ky Vols – same unit from the Civil War Pension card.
O.W. Invt 8363 – I do not know what this means or if I’m even reading it correctly.
I have looked at the index cards on FamilySearch for the United States Mexican War Service Records, but did not find a William Dugger. I’m not sure if this is because of the difference between regular army and volunteers.
Now at this point, I’m trying to work through various links that pertain to this war to see if I can find anything else. And I did find one more thing on Fold3.
Based on this, I believe that William applied for Bounty Land, but I’m not sure what do with this information. (Back to the webinar!) I’m confused that after “Rejected”, it says “False”. Does that mean it was NOT rejected? I need to figure out how to research this information, but if I remember from my initial view of the webinar, the records are not available online. But in my current situation – don’t hold me to that!
And on another note, I’m feeling a need for some type of information collection form so I don’t lose track of all this new information. Or maybe I should be looking at a way to include it in my Ancestor Inventory Form. Something to think about…
So that brings me to the end of my “deep dive” into the military records of William Dugger. I will try to see what I can find out about the 16th US Infantry and then my next goal will be to re-create this search for other ancestors who I glossed over in the past. Who knows what other surprises I might find!
According to Ancestry, compiled service records consist of cards that record information about a soldier extracted by clerks in the War Department from muster rolls, regimental returns, hospital rolls, and other records, with a new card being created each time a soldier’s name appeared on a new document.
I will say that I have collected compiled service records for other individuals, but I don’t think I’ve been consistent with that or ever really analyzed them. Most of the time, I just see cards indicating that a solider was present or absent and that’s about it.
Fold3 has digitized 100% of the Compiled Service Records for Kentucky. What can I learn from William Dugger’s CSR? First, it’s important to know that the majority of the Compiled Service records consist of an envelope, a “cover card” – which can also show other name spellings that records have been found, a card for when he mustered in, any muster roll cards showing present/absent/ill, and a card for mustering out. These are not the records showing battles and such, those will be in the pension application records. But it’s worth pulling out every detail that we can. Note that I have cropped these images to help make them more readable.
When you enter the name in the search box, you will get a list of possible matches. Look at the information presented to see which option could be the correct match. But also notice, that if you click on the “filmstrip” icon at the bottom of the screen, you will see cards appearing on either side of “your” card as well. This can help you find other soldiers with the same surname.
I had selected the card for William Dugger, but by looking at the filmstrip, I can see there is also a card for William Duggar that would be worth looking at. By using the arrows, I can click to the left and I will see another set of cards for William Duger. No other Duggers can be found. I will begin with the 2 single cards.
The first 2 cards (reference envelopes) show that records can be found with the names William Duggar, William Dugger and William Duger.
The numbers at the top of the cards show that alphabetically, William’s cards are number 400 and 401.
William served in Company K of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry
William was a 2nd Sergeant when he mustered in and a Private when he mustered out.
Based on some additional research that I have done, I know that William served in the Mexican War prior to the Civil War and I believe that service is what made him a 2nd Sergeant at the beginning of his Civil War service instead of a Private.
Based on this card, I would expect to find 7 cards in William’s file. I would expect 2 of the cards to be when he mustered in and mustered out.
Instead, I found 10 cards or pages plus 2 documents that do not belong to William Dugger. That makes me wonder if there might be cards that SHOULD be with this file that are accidentally included with someone else. But I’m not sure how I would look for that.
October 8-9, 1861 (trying to create a timeline)
I believe the letter D in the upper, left corner is for alphabetizing purposes.
2nd Serg’t in Capt. Barnett’s Company, 1 Reg’t Kentucky Volunteers
38 years old, giving a date of birth around 1823
Appears on the Muster-in Roll at Camp Dick Robinson on October 8/9, 1861
Historical Marker #1750 commemorates Camp Dick Robinson, a Garrard County recruiting camp that was instrumental in keeping Kentucky in the Union.
Established on the farm of Richard Robinson in August 1861 by Union officer and Maysville native William “Bull” Nelson, many of Kentucky’s first Union regiments were formed there. The site soon became a staging ground for several early military campaigns.
When the camp was established, Kentucky was attempting to stay neutral in the conflict. Although Governor Beriah Magoffin complained to Abraham Lincoln about the site, Lincoln responded that since the camp “consists exclusively of Kentuckians” and that it was not the “popular wish of Kentucky” to close it, he refused to remove the soldiers.
In 1862, Confederates took the area, renamed the site “Camp Breckinridge,” and used it as a supply base. That October, the rebels fell back to Perryville to stay between Union forces and those supplies, which resulted in the Battle of Perryville.
Camp Nelson, established north of Garrard County near Nicholasville, ultimately replaced Camp Dick Robinson. Today, Camp Dick Robinson is remembered for helping solidify the Union cause in Kentucky.
Joined on July 24, 1861
Signed on for a 3-year tour
October 31, 1861
Sgt, Co K, 1 Reg’t Kentucky Infantry (Is this a different rank? He would have been here for about 3 weeks…)
Joined on July 24, 1861 at Camp Nelson (different from Camp Dick Robinson) Camp Nelson was a supply depot, hospital and recruitment center.However, websites state that it was established in 1863…
Signed on for a 3-year tour
Not stated if present or absent
December 31, 1861
Pvt, Co K, 1 Reg’t Kentucky Infantry
Not stated if present or absent
Remark: Reduced to (meaning two?) Ranks 26 Dec 1861 was 2d Sergent
Now a Private in Company K
Joined July 24, 1861, at Camp Nelson
William was absent due to sickness on the muster roll for these 2 months (I suspect that William has been ill the entire time and therefore, was demoted to private due to his inability to perform his duties.)
August 27, 1862 App’d & **** forwarded Milo S Haddall Brig’d Gen’l Vaols Commandg
Near McMinnville Aug 30, 1862 App’d and *** forwarded
Sep 11, 1862 (pt. 2 of above)
App’d after a personal examination of the case & report by Surgin? W.W. Blair 58th Ten? Vols A.J. Phelps Surgin *** Med **** 6th Division
Adjutant General’s office
Duplicate sent the Pension Office
(sideways) Headquarters District of the Ohio Nashville Tenn Sept 11, 1862 To be discharged by order H Stone
En on Casualty Roll
Private in Company K
Joined July 24, 1861, at Camp Nelson
William was absent due to sickness on the muster roll for these 2 months
Private in Company K
Joined July 24, 1861, at Camp Nelson
Remarks: Discharged February 3, 1863. Final statements have been furnished.
I am confused on the dates. The 1890 census indicated that he was discharged on October 13, 1864. That’s almost a 2-year difference. Why would that be?
Sept 19-20, 1863
Casualty Sheet for W. Dugar
Corporal in Company C of the 3rd Kentucky Regiment (is this the same man? Based on the Index Cards, there are no other William Duggers, but that would be Company K)
I was able to do a search for a Dugan in Company C and was able to find his compiled service records. I believe this card belongs with William Dungan of Company C and not William Dugger of Company K. There is one additional sheet for this soldier included in William’s packet which I am not including here.
Oct 13, 1864
Remarks: Discharged on Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability at Gallatin, Tennessee, February 3, 1863.
Again, I’m confused. Discharged February 3, 1863 but not mustered out till October 13, 1864?Could it be that he was ill and in a hospital this entire time?I do see that the October 13, 1864 date matches the date on the 1890 special census.
No date. This card tells me that there is a Certificate of Disability for Discharge included in this packet.
When I see a document like this, I’m both excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Lots of writing crammed into a small space! But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to just transcribe it as I go rather that simply reading it. I’m always going to wonder what I missed if I don’t transcribe, so just do it from the get-go! Note that I always transcribe with the punctuation as it appears to me. Sometimes, that means that sentences seem to be run together.
Army of the United States.
Certificate of Disability for Discharge
(To be used, in duplicate, in all cases of discharge on account of disability.)
William Dugger a private of Captain G.W. Roberts Company K of the Third Ky. Regiment of United States Vols was enlisted by Captain J.T.W. Barnett the Third Regiment of Ky. Vols at Dallis, Ky on the 24th day of July 1861, to serve 3 years; he was born in Adair Co, in the state of Kentucky is thirty eight years of age, Five feet Seven inches high, dark? Complexion, black eyes, black hair, and by occupation when enlisted a farmer. During the last 2 months said soldier had been unfit for duty 60 days (Here consult directions/conditions? on Form 12…..)
The said soldier has not been fit for duty, in the last six months he served 16 months in the U.S.A. during the War with Mexico, and from its best information I can get he was (most?) fit for service more than one third of that time. I further state that I do not believe that he will ever be fit for service.
Station: Ten miles east McMinnville Ten Date: Aug 22, 1862 Capt. G.W. Roberts Commanding Company
I certify, that I have carefully examined the said William Dugger a private of Captain G.W. Roberts, Company, and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of (instructions of some type) Tuberculosis phthisis. He has last winter Typhoid fever and has not yet recovered and he has not done any military or any other duty for ten months & its my professional opinion never will.
H. Owens, Surgeon
Discharged this 3rd day of February 1863 at Murfreesboro Tenn
(Note at bottom)
Note 2 – The place where the soldier desires to be addressed may be added here.
Town – Somerset County – Pulaski State- Kentucky
What did I learn from this document?
William enlisted in Dallis, Kentucky – which confirms this is “my guy” based on other documentation I have for William.
Born in Adair County. I do not have any documents other than this one that gives a place of birth, so this is new information.
Thirty-eight years old when enlisted – gives me a better date of birth. About 1823.
Description – 5’7″, dark complexion, black eyes and hair
Had been unfit for duty in the last 60 days of the previous 2 months. (Date of document, August 22, 1862) Also states unfit for duty in the last 6 months. Looking back at the timeline, this pretty much indicates that William had been ill from the very beginning of his service.
William served 16 months during the War with Mexico and he had been fit for duty at least during one-third of that time.
This doctor believes that William will never be fit for service.
William had Tuberculosis phthisis
He contracted typhoid fever during the previous winter and had not yet recovered.
The bottom of the document gives his address as Somerset, Pulaski Co, Kentucky
Could it be possible that there are no certificate numbers on the Pension Cards because he had never really served due to his illness?
Random thought – William was ill for so long, would Lucinda have traveled to take care of him? They would have had 6 children at home…
Next time – What can I learn about his Mexican War service?
When I’m trying to really dig deep in an area that’s unfamiliar to me, I try to make sure that I am finding every single thing that I can and then wring every bit of information out of it that I can. There is an additional set of cards that can be helpful. Mostly, they will confirm the application and certificate numbers that I’ve already found, but sometimes, I’ll get a surprise. These cards are called the Pension Numerical Index. (Fold3)
These cards are arranged by application and certificate numbers. These can be a great help if you have a Pension Index card that has been damaged or smeared or is just hard to read. They can also be helpful if a soldier’s name was spelled multiple ways. These cards are arranged numerically but are also indexed by name so you can use whatever information you do have to add to the clues you are collecting. Matching the numbers can confirm that you are looking at the right individual.
Because there are application numbers for the Army and the Navy as well as for disability (“invalid”), dependent/widow’s application (“Orig.”) and certificates (“Ctf.”), these cards will show every soldier associated with each number.
I did a search for William M. Dugger and this card came up. This card shows information for #290030.
Kiefer, John – disability application 290030
Merrigan, William – disability certificate 290030
Dugger, William M – dependent application 290030
Netter, Martin – dependent certificate 290030
William M. Dugger has a dependent application #290030. Notice that we don’t see this number on either of the cards we found in the last post. But there is a very light note that this is a duplicate of #280186. We would not know about this duplicate file without this card and the information might come in handy later if a file cannot be found.
There is a handwritten “W” that I believe is for “widow”. Other abbreviations might be C-child, F-father, M-mother or minor, and S-sister.
Don’t stop just because you’ve found a card. We should also be able to find one for the invalid pension. If we had found certificate numbers on the Pension Index Cards from before, we should be able to find Numerical Index cards for those as well. In William’s case, there were no certificate numbers given.
Army – Invalid (disability) application #149632 (matches the number on the original cards)
So not a lot of new information, but I did pick up the fact that there is a duplicate dependent application number. That could be helpful if I ever decide to send for the entire pension packet.
Wow! Did I have big plans for the new year and my genealogy! Christmas was soooo busy and before that, I had been working on a giant research project for a family member. But once Christmas was over, my plan was to get back to my own research and developing a new, exciting (to me anyway!) method of collaborating with fellow researchers.
But pretty soon after New Year, the fatigue started in for me and my husband. It didn’t take long to realize – we had Covid. No biggie – we work from home and are empty nesters, so we’d just be taking it easy and riding it out. My husband got better – I didn’t. Coming up on the 2 week mark, I started having difficulty breathing. Still thinking I could ride it out, I waiting 4 more days before getting help. My Covid had turned into Covid-Pneumonia. I will admit – it was scary and I should not have waiting so long. But I’m getting better. Now on oxygen and lots of bed rest. Just starting to be able to take short walks down the hallway and to spend a little time in a chair instead of the bed.
And now, thankfully, I’m starting to feel like I can get in a little research here and there! YAY! So I decided to pick 1 person and see how much information I can collect just from a military point of view. Military research is NOT my area, so I just started a Word document and started writing down what I’m looking at and what information I can glean.
These won’t be the most exciting posts and they may not even make sense 100% of the time, but I’m trying! I’m planning to publish sections of my Word document, so let’s see where this goes!
I selected William M. Dugger to be my research target. Ancestry gave a hint for a Pension Index Card, so that’s where I’m starting.
What are these Pension Index Cards?
When researching your ancestors born during a certain time frame, one thing that genealogy sites will begin to look for will be Pension Index Cards.
After the Civil War, the US government needed a way to keep track of soldiers who were applying for pensions. Soldiers could apply for a disability pension, or after the soldier’s death, the widow or dependent could apply for a pension. The Pension Packet which contains the application(s) as well as any supporting documentation can be a goldmine of genealogy information. But getting the entire application packet can be expensive – especially if you have several ancestors to research. The Pension Index cards give the application and packet numbers that are needed to order the full file and might also save time and money for ancestors who have a common name to make sure the correct file is being asked for.
The cards themselves can be found for free on FamilySearch.org and on at least 2 additional paid sites – Ancestry.com and Fold3.com – and can give a researcher some information. There are 2 different versions of the cards and each was created for a different purpose. The cards on FamilySearch match the cards on Ancestry.
Let’s see what we can discover from William Dugger’s cards.
This card is from Ancestry. Here’s what we are told:
William M Dugger. It’s important to remember that a person’s name may not have been spelled the same way every time. Be on the look out for Duggar and Duger as well. The middle initial can help differentiate between several men from the same area with similar names.
William’s wife’s name was Lucinda. The wife’s maiden name is seldom given. Notice that she is listed as a widow, so although this card contains information from before William’s death, having her name shows that she did file for a widow’s pension.
William fought in Company K of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry. He also fought in the Mexican War. Knowing the unit that he fought in would allow for research into the unit to see where they fought, but without specific dates showing enlistment and discharge, you can’t know for sure if he fought in those battles or not. (Those dates however can often be found in the 1890 special census of veterans. Lucinda has a listing in Pulaski Co as the widow of William M Dugger who served from July 21, 1861 to Oct 13, 1864. These dates would not include the Mexican War service which would have been between 1846-1848.)
Nov 3, 1869 – William applied for a disability pension. The application number was 149632.
Jan 25, 1881 – Lucinda applied for a widow’s pension. The application number was 280186. Be careful not to assume too much from this date. Lucinda is listed as a widow in the 1880 census. William is not listed in the 1880 mortality schedule, which means he died before June 1, 1879. I believe applications would be filed based on the dates that the government created new regulations allowing for the opportunity to apply for money.
A lack of certificate numbers may indicate that the pensions were not granted.
How might the card from Fold3 be different?
The Ancestry cards are arranged alphabetically while the cards on Fold3 are arranged alphabetically by military units. You can click through the filmstrip of cards to see if there were soldiers with the same surname as well as looking for familiar names who served in the same unit as your ancestor.
This card contains no wife’s name
This card contains no date for the Widow’s Pension application
Application numbers do match the Ancestry card
Often, although not in this case, the date of death is written at the bottom of this card.
Next time – what other helpful cards can be found?
I am a collector. A collector of records. When I am looking through a book of records, whether it’s deeds, taxes, or vital records, my thought is usually, “As long as I’m here, I might as well collect everything for this surname.” Until the day comes that you really start looking through what you have and you realize that you have more than 1 person with the same name in the same location…again…
I’m pretty much in the same situation as I was with John Smith – yet not surprisingly, I’m not anxious to jump through the same hoops as I did for him. At least, not on the blog. This year has not been an easy one. I’m emotionally and mentally tired and my brain is feeling the brunt of it.
Genealogy has been my escape. I have a great DESIRE to write for the blog, but no motivation. Does that make sense? Instead, I’ve been falling back on collecting records and now I’m starting to analyze what I have and what I should be looking for. Smoke is coming from my Excel file as I enter information for aaallllll the land records I have. Entries…surveys…patents…deeds…but how to assign a record to a specific person? Sound familiar? Different tabs for different people, different counties, tax lists and theories. Color coding to see what I’ve downloaded and what I need to go to the library for; what has been confirmed to a certain individual and what is still in a holding pattern.
And I’m fighting with the information that I’m collecting and THE family history that everyone has in their tree. Because THAT history was published a long time ago, therefore it MUST be right – RIGHT? I just can’t make it work the way “they” say it does.
So, I’ve started organizing (re-organizing?) the records – the INCREDIBLE number of records I’ve collected over the years and the new records I’ve been collecting more recently. Some items were well labeled, and some were not. I keep changing the file system where I have the records stored on my computer to help me make sense of it all. And every time I rearrange something, I discover a pattern that I haven’t noticed before. THAT record can’t go with THAT guy because he was over here in THIS county at that time – or do I have those records matched with the wrong guy? I started making timelines of what I have, but it didn’t take long to realize that those people with the same names – the John’s and the William’s – just aren’t going to cooperate. And as much as I want to put together a nice, organized series for the blog as I’m figuring things out, I remember how long it took me to put together the John Smith series and I don’t think I’m up to it right now.
Writing does help me think things through. So I’m planning to jump back in whenever I feel that I can. For those of you who are wondering, this is for my Stephens line. And there are several of you out there who I’ve emailed with in the past about this line. I would LOVE to hear from you guys as I muddle through my analysis, whether through the comments on the blog or by email or by starting a Facebook group dedicated to this family – I’m open to it all! I need the distraction of my genealogy and I would love to have as many brains as possible working with me!
The person I’m going to start with is my 5th great-grandfather – Welcome Stephens. A nice, unique name – thank you very much! It won’t take long to get into the John’s and the William’s, so maybe this will be a good way to get my toes back into the water of writing. We’ll see!
I’m starting by posting an image of the group sheet that I’ve had for Welcome for quite some time. Future posts will talk about the problems that I see with it and then we’ll see where my search takes me.
Based on all of the research that I’ve done so far, my theory is that John Smith (the Taylor), who I label as John Smith (1809), is the father of John M. Smith. I know that John Smith (1809) was the father of John Smith who married Elizabeth Arbuckle.
Moving on to a new county is hard. Hard for me to stay disciplined and not make too many assumptions. It means starting research “from scratch”. Deeds, taxes, court records…all of it. I need to start new charts to collect information until I can confidently combine charts into their correct lineup. But I also want to be smart. I often find myself collecting information for John Smiths just for the sake of collecting. Because of the sheer number of John Smiths in Kentucky, I can’t fall into this rabbit hole for too long.
A lot of this information is from documents that I have been collecting over time. But I have never organized it using this format, so I’m hoping to be able to discover new clues and to weed through the various John Smiths to see if any of them line up with John M. Smith.
Let’s start with a quick reminder on the will of John Smith (1809):
Barren County Will Book 1 – pg. 117
In the name of God Amen
I John Smith (Taylor) of Mercer County of sound mind and memory do make this my last Will and Testament.
I direct that my just debts shall be first paid and that my wife Elizabeth Smith shall have one third part of the money arising from my whole Estate after paying my just Debts I Give to my Daughter Martha and Keziah fifty pounds each to be paid as soon as the same be collected from the sale of my Estate
I Give to my Daughters Mary Elizabeth Susannah and Fanny fifty pounds each they first give my credit for such articles as they have received in part of their different portions
I have Given to my sons Aaron and John and to my Daughter Ann their full portions
I Give to my son Michael all the remainder of my Estate of every kind and sort soever including my out standing debts and do appoint my said son Michael to be Executor of this my Last Will and Testament and I desire that my said Executor shall make a Title to Aaron Smith or his assign for fifty Acres as laid off at the south End of my land and that he also shall carry in to effect the bargain I have made with John Rochester or cancel or alter it or he shall think proper and Make a Title to the land where on I leave if [necessary?] witness my hand and seal 5th June 1806.
Here is a portion of my family group sheet for John Smith (1809). These are the children of John and Elizabeth.
Why would John Smith (1809) move to Barren County? Recall that Capt. John Smith also had a couple of land transactions in Barren County. (Captain John Smith’s chart)
Prior to Kentucky statehood, Virginia had reserved all the land in Kentucky south of Green River for soldiers who needed payment for their service in the Revolutionary War. Until 1797, no person could enter a survey within this area except for a soldier. Around this time, Kentucky enacted new legislation opening up this land to “any persons possessed of family and over twenty-one years of age.” These people were entitled to 100-200 acres of land but must have been a bona fide settler on the land for one year before they came into possession. As the land was surveyed, they became known as the Grants South of Green River. Barren County falls in this area. Among the list of grants for Barren County are Michael Smith, John Smith, and John Arbuckle.
Barren County in the area South of the Green River (the yellow area is the Green River Watershed – not related to the land grants)
Military District which later became the area South of the Green River
What is my goal for Barren County? Can I connect M. Smith to John Smith (1809)? How many family members can be found in Barren County? If the children are not in Barren County, can I track where they are? I need to look for
John Smith (d. 1809)
Aaron Smith (wife, Rebecca)
John (M) Smith (wife, Elizabeth)
Ambrose Barlow (wife, Sarah Ann)
John Garr (wife, Mary)
Jacob Fry (wife, Elizabeth) – according to FamilySearch, Jacob died in 1808. No source.
John Arbuckle (wife, Susannah)
Thomas Doke (wife Fanny)
John Saunders (wife, Martha)
Maybe Uriah Taylor (wife Sally, dau. of Zach)
When I began researching Barren County, I started with tax lists to see if I could discover how much land John Smith (1809) had when he died and who started paying the taxes for that land after he passed away.
I began looking for John Smith and any potential children in the tax records around 1808-1810. In this chart, I am not listing anyone with no land to save space.
Of course, the name John Smith jumped out at me. But why would his land be taxed in his name after 1809? I thought perhaps the land shifted from John Smith (1809) to John Smith, the son. But after examining additional tax records, I believe this John Smith is the son-in-law of Francis Lattimore who died in Barren County in 1817. (I am labeling him as John Smith “153” because of the amount of land he had in these records.) Francis Lattimore was also a recipient of land through the Grants South of Green River. This John Smith was one of the executors of the Lattimore estate. There are many deeds which deal with the division of the land among the various families after Francis passed away. I probably did not find them all because of concentrating only on John Smith. But once I started putting information in the chart, I was able to connect other records that I had already collected. Note: The “Notes” section contains notes that I was writing while trying to connect this John Smith to other records. I’m leaving them for anyone who might happen to be researching this John Smith.
Bottom line – I have not found any specific deed for land in Barren County that I can tie back to John Smith (1809) and I am still puzzled by the land records for John in Mercer County.
If I start with 243 acres and subtract all of the sold land, I end up with 4 acres. However, I can find no record of Ambrose Barlow selling his 50 acres. Did that land go back to John Smith? I recently purchased the book, “Kentucky Ancestry” by Roseann Reinemuth Hogan. In the book, she discusses various types of grants and deeds and she states, “Deeds were not necessary when land was sold, given, or devised via a will, to a son, daughter, or spouse. Deeds could be, and were, made to relatives for “love and affection” but were not always recorded. If heirs kept the property, they could retain ownership for generations without having a deed made.” So it may be that I will never solve this particular puzzle, but I will be keeping my eyes open.
Another question: why did Aaron Smith pay for land purchased by Frederick Dayhoff?
I would love to solve this because of a specific line in the 1809 will, “and I desire that my said Executor shall make a Title to Aaron Smith or his assign for fifty Acres as laid off at the south End of my land and that he also shall carry in to effect the bargain I have made with John Rochester”.
Where was this land? Was the 50 acres that was given to Ambrose Barlow the same land that was to be given to Aaron Smith? In 1806, John Smith (1809) sold 89 acres “it being the tract of land whereon the said Smith now lives” on Harrod’s Run to John Rochester.
So I will research Aaron Smith to see what I can find for him.
I am beginning a “Barren County Records Collection Sheet”. In this document, I will keep track of any document I can find for members of this family. I have gone through through Deed Books, the Surveyor Book, Court Records, and Will Records, but it is (as always) a work in progress.
And so, the search continues. I will continue to make posts about my search, but I don’t know that they will be weekly. As the weather gets nicer, there is more work to be done in the yard, and our business has been getting increasingly busy in the last month. I am just not able to spend as much time researching as I did over the winter.
So I’m going to say once again…I’d love to hear from anyone researching the family of John M. Smith!