Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Toledo Area Genealogical Society

Monday evening- Sep 9 2013
Speaker- Derek S. Davey
Topic- Researching your War of 1812 ancestors
Toledo Area Genealogical Society
Common Space- 1700 N Reynolds Rd, Toledo, OH 43615-3628
Time- 7:00 pm

OGS- Huron County Ohio

Monday evening , September 23
Speaker- Derek S Davey
Topic- Elusive Maiden Names
Ohio Genealogical Society- Huron County
Firelands Historical Society Meeting Room which is at 9 Case Avenue, Norwalk, Ohio
Time 7:30 pm

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Researching your Civil War Ancestors- Lakeside, Ohio

Fri Aug. 23 10:30 am-
12 pm Researching Your Civil War Ancestors
Derek Davey
Professional Genealogist

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 9- Continued challenges.

Week nine was cut short by traveling for four days bringing a friend's mother in law back to Ohio from Florida. Reminds me the importance of family and the difficulties and challenges that can be created due to the distance that we are often apart.

Continue to do client work and work on the probate case. Need to get them done. Going to be a short week this week due to FGS. Hope to see some of you there. Thank you for all your comments and support.

Anonymous Poster

Thank you for your insight. I will be more careful in the future. Tend to rush my writing. By the way surprisingly I have never gotten a client from my blog.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Civil War Prisoners of War-Not Always What You Thought

This is a guest post from my friend Debbie Carder Mayes. Enjoy!

When we think of Civil War prisoners of war, the images we see in our minds are men so starved that they look like living skeletons and the other horrors that took place at prisons such as Andersonville. What we’ve been taught is not the whole story. Yes, Andersonville and other such prisons did exist and shouldn’t have. Like anything else, the dreadful news is played up-sensationalism sells.

I’ve been a history lover since childhood and a Civil War buff ever since I had the good fortune to have a high school history teacher who also was and brought the Civil War alive within his classroom. However, I never heard of the other side of the coin until I discovered that my great, great grandfather, John Mahlon Carder and his brother-in-law, Nelson F. Dobbins were captured by Confederates near Nashville on August 18, 1862.

During my quest to learn about their experiences as prisoners of war, I discovered that the abominable prisons we’ve heard about did not exist until the latter half of the war. As any student of the Civil War or anyone who has seen the opening scenes in Gone With The Wind can tell you, no one expected the Civil War to last very long. Both Northerners and Southerners expected to whip the other side and be done with it in a few months so no plans were made by the Union or the Confederacy as to what would be done with captured soldiers. Informal exchanges of prisoners were made on the battle fields at the discretion of the commanding officers. This, of course, created more problems. It was time-consuming. Some officers discriminated against some of the captives, not being equally fair in making the exchanges, and some officers were jsut downright uncomfortable about exchanging prisoners with no approval or guidelines from the government.

President Lincoln refused to recognize the secession of the Southern states. In his mind, all of the states formed only one country, the United States. He did not want to put Americans in prisons and label them, “traitors” so he set up an exchange system. He was able to convince Jefferson Davis to agree to use this system. Davis mainly agreed because the Confederacy did not have the money to keep prisoners nor feed them. The system worked by trading one Union prisoner for one Confederate prisoner. Neither soldier could take up arms and return to their regiments until their counterparts were paroled and the exchange was officially made.

A formal agreement was put in effect on July 22, 1862 containing a set of regulations for making the prisoner exchanges. This agreement was called the Dix-Hill Cartel after the Union general and the Confederate general who negotiated and wrote out the articles of agreement.

The cartel itself is interesting reading. The first three articles state what is consoodered an even exchange. An even exchange was not simply one prisoner exchanged for another, but was based on the branch of the military the prisoner served in and his rank. A general was to be exchanged with another general, a private with another private. Knowing that this would not always be possible, Dix and Hill created a list of equivalents. The first item on the list reads, “A general commanding in chief or an admiral shall be exchanged for officers of equal rank, or for sixty privates or common seamen.”

One of the main points of the agreement were that no prisoners would be held for more than ten days. They must be paroled by the tenth day. When captured, the prisoners would be taken to designated prison camps; the main ones being Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio and Vicksburg and Port Hudson in Mississippi. On or by the tenth day, the prisoners had to be paroled. they were then place in special paroled companies. My great, great grandfather, John and his wife’s brother, Nelson were sent to Camp Chase where they were placed in Company A, a paroled company. While in these companies, a paroled soldier was allowed no contact with his regular company, was not allowed to serve in any active military duty, and was not to bear firearms or weapons.

The camps had not been established to be a prison. Camp Chase was a training ground for new recruits. The camps did not have the facilities nor the supplies to keep prisoners for any length of duration. So, what did they do with these paroled prisoners? They sent them home to wait for their exchanges to be made. They were told that they would be notified when their exchanges were made and when to report back to their regular company.

The exchanges involved a lot of paperwork and red tape. The generals on the front complained that they were too busy filling out the papers to plan and fight the battles.

The other big problem was that the men on the battlefields knew that paroled prisoners got to go home. The exchanges took months, frequently close to a year. They caught on. Many soldiers let themselves be captured so that they could go home away from the enemy fire on the battlegrounds and be with their wives and children.

The prisoner exchange system wasn’t working. On May 25, 1863, the system ended. All exchanges were stopped by April 17, 1864. After this date, capture soldiers were sent to the atrocious prisons made famous by the suffering and inhumane conditions in these places.

But the story doesn’t end here. Years later, when the veterans of the Civil War were old men no longer able to work for their incomes and government acts were passed to provide them pensions for serving their country, many of these men discovered that their records stated that they were absent without leave and deserters. The records were mostly muster rolls that only showed whether they reported for duty on given days. The records stating that they had been prisoners under the prisoner exchange system had either been misfiled or stored away in some forgotten place in Washington, D. C. Many of these old veterans spent years repeatedly applying for pensions and having them denied while their lawyers pushed to have clerks in Washington put to work to find the POW records. Some of the veterans probably never livved to see their pensions granted.

My own great, great grandfather, John M. Carder was shown as "absent without leave" on the muster rolls without his knowledge. The record was not corrected for nearly twenty-five years. He applied for his pension on October 1, 1881. It took him nine years and repeated attempts before his claim was granted on December 8, 1890 when he was allowed medical disability pay of twelve dollars a month.

And this, my friends, is the other side of the story of the prisoners of the Civil War.

© 2013 Deborah A. Carder Mayes All Rights Reserved.

Source for info on POW exchanges: Civil War Prisons and Prisoners (website title) www.civilwarhome.com/prisonerexchange "The Photographic History of The Civil War", Volume 4, Soldier Life and Secret Service, Prisons and Hospitals. Article by Holland Thompson.
The Dix-Hill Cartel: Wikipedia/Dix-Hill Cartel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dix%E2%80%93Hill_Cartel)

The actual text of the Dix-Hill Cartel: Wiki Source/Dix-Hill Cartel (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Dix-Hill_Cartel)

There is also an excellent book on this topic. It wasn’t published until I had already done all of my research, however, that’s a good thing because I may not have dug as deeply as I did, if it would have been.

The book is: Roger Pickenpaugh, Camp Chase And The Evolution of Union Prison Policy, (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 2007).

(Roger Pickenpaugh is a fellow Ohioan.)

The sources above are only the ones I used for this article. I’ve read and researched a lot more on my great, great grandfather’s POW experiences and have written that section of my family history book (if I ever get that done) and developed a lecture on it called Prisoner of War Experiences of Two Union Soldiers.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week 8 Back to a normal week

Well after last week and being in North Dakota my goal this week was to get back on track. This week would involve shorter trips to complete project for clients.

The first visit this week was to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library Local History and Genealogy room at the downtown branch. This is the library I started doing my research at when I was thirteen years old. When I first started my interest in genealogy I thought I would come here tell them my name and they would hand me my genealogy. Boy was I wrong. Thirty years later I am still working on family history, but oh how many wonderful journeys of discovery I have been on since the beginning. So many happy memories. Still one of my favorite genealogy departments. Love how they still keep adding to the collection and the area to do research is wonderful.

The reason for my visit to the library was to work on a local Probate case that I have been asked to work on by a local lawyer. This is a new exciting avenue for my to research. Interesting thing in this search is to not be so concerned about tracing back as it is to trace to current times. Makes for a completely different type of search. Time period is normally from the 1930's till now. Your primary tools of research are the 1940 census, vital records, newspapers and city directories. This can be a heavy challenge due to restrictions on records. With using the multiple sources you are able to piece things together.

On Tuesday I spent my time reviewing my work from the day before. It was also spent identifying the gaps that I still had with the Probate case. It made me realize that I would need to travel to Findlay, Ohio to retrieve a obit. Collecting all the pieces of the puzzle is important to making a clearer picture. Talked with a client as well about the Civil War pension and service records we got back. They were a big disappointment, because they did not provide the information we were looking for concerning as yet confirmed relationships to suspected family members. Will have to identify a new path to get what we are looking for in our search.

Wednesday was spent creating research research plans for three projects that I was going to have to do the next day in Ft. Wayne. Preparation for me makes the research process very quick and systematic. Knowing what you are going to be looking for in a library as big as Ft Wayne is so important so you don't waste time. One of my goals is to go paperless. Job accomplished on my flash drive.

Thursday spent my whole day in Ft Wayne researching on three clients projects. It reminds me sometimes of a bad day of fishing without the sunburn. Results were mixed with the majority of the time learning very little on the families histories. Amazes me some days on how you find tons and others where the well is dry.

Friday was spent answering emails and doing planning for the Irish trip. Traveled to Findlay to retrieve the obit I needed. Very well organized library. Was in and out in less than five minutes. Back to more preparation for the upcoming week.

Next week will be broken up by a trip to Florida. Traveling with my brother in law to help with moving his mother in law back up to Ohio. Don't like taking breaks from genealogy, but this has to be done.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Second Quick Guide on Probate

Please share this with your friends.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

North Dakota follow up

Got some great pictures of the whole trip. Love to add new clients information.

Week 7- Learning new things

Week 7 of my journey was really a journey. Left the Toledo train terminal on Monday morning with my son heading for North Dakota for some client research. Worked from a remote site trying to still handle all my internet responsibility.

I have been planning this trip to go meet with a client in North Dakota for weeks. Thought wow what a great idea to take the train. I have spend time in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Wanted to see it in a different way. Well my first big clue should have been the fact that the train left early in the morning. I did not pay attention.

The train was two hours late leaving Toledo. Luckily we did not have to be in Fargo at any particular time since my work did not begin until Tuesday. What was suppose to be a six hour lay over in Chicago ended up being only a short period of time. We left for Fargo on time and saw some beautiful scenery on the way. The bad part was we got there in the middle of the night with no ground transportation and had to walk to the hotel. Great time hauling our luggage and dealing with a unhappy teenager. I did not see this in my job description when I started this job. Live and learn.

My first appointment on Tuesday was to meet with the client. Would be the first time to speak face to face, but this became delayed. I decided to visit some of the libraries and archives that I had scheduled for my research. Luckily the main library in town was located just a block from the hotel. Walked up there to check their resources out. Unfortunately most of there records were unindexed newspapers. So went to plan B. The suggestion of the librarian was to go to the regional archives that was located up by North Dakota State University. Would need to visit the German/Russian collection that was located in the schools main library. Short walk he said to get there. I walk all the time so I thought no big deal. I have a map.

Well I started out on my journey. After about three miles of walking I was able to find campus. Unfortunately after talking to a gardener, librarian and IT guy I found out it had been moved north of campus. Short walk they said. So I walked the two miles and managed to find the library. It was a gold mine and I managed to find a great deal on my client's family. All states should have these types of libraries that cover a wide section of the state. We have them in Ohio. Needless I called my clients personal assistant to come and pick me up. Enough exercise for one day.

Once I got to the clients wonderful office I was presented with three boxes full of family information. Oh my this is a genealogist dream. Turns out my client had been collecting things for decades with the intent of getting all written one day. The next best thing his personal assistant had scanned everything. Wonderful!!!

Met with the client and seemed to really connect. Went over the plan for my visit and answered his questions. First step was for us to travel out to his Mom's home to do a oral interview. He had his reservations on how well this was going to go. Said his Mom can be a challenge. Five hours later she was wonderful. The stories were incredible. She had a great deal of contact with some of the family that had come from Russia. One of the highlights for me was explaining the importance of food traditions in genealogy. This was her hot button. She started to talk about all the recipes and even showed me the summer kitchen she had. It was located in a building outside the home. Walked in with the idea that I was going to see a regular kitchen. It was set up to cater banquets. Amazing.

We had spent a long time talking to his mother so I said we would be back the next day. Spent the rest of the day till about 2 in the morning going through the mounds of information he had given me. It was only then that I learned the fascinating stories of his families journey to North Dakota from the Odessa region of Russia. The family was of German origins and had moved to Russia during the reign of Catharine the Great. Needless to say I was jazzed for the next day. My plan was to head up to the German/Russian collection in the library and then return to the clients mothers.

Luckily the personal assistant was able to pick me up and take me to the library. This collection is designed to tell the history of the many Russian/German families that had located to North Dakota in the early 1900's. It was clearly one of the best collections I have ever been in that covers a particular region. The librarian could not do enough to help me find resources. She kept coming back with books the whole time I was there. Made my job so much easier. After about three hours of research I knew I had to get back to the client's to see his mother. I would need to return to the library.

The original idea today was to bring in sandwiches and interview the clients mother. My client informed me that his mother had cooked a five course meal for us with all the original family recopies. He said for his mother this was a big thing. Needless to say two hours later with great food and excellent family conversation I was thrilled. The highlight of my visit was when she brought on pieces of clothing that had been worn by the original immigrant ladies. Shivers went up my spine when I saw the initials of the GGG grandmother sewn into the fabric. This was a wonderful moment. My client and his mother were crying. This was genealogy gold!!!

This was a great day. This is why I enjoy helping others research their families. My client told me afterwards that this had been a very emotional day for both of them and they appreciated my ability to bring their families to life. Energized me to continue working through the boxes for more clues to our search.

Next day was spent interviewing the client, researching back at the German/Russian archives and going through the files. In three days I had spent close to 36 hours working on this project. Not much time for sleep, but I had work to get done. Now for the trip back.

Our train was suppose to arrive in the early hours on Friday. It was delayed by six hours. Once we got on the train my son and I went to breakfast. We sat with a gentleman who explained to us why the train was late. The track had shifted. It was all the result of fracking. The new way to get oil. He proceeded to educate us on the damage that we are doing to the earths crust. From a high to a low in just twenty four hours. We finally got into Toledo at 6:30 in the morning the next day. No more train rides.

In September I am going to be flying a plane to visit with the clients in laws. I am hoping for some more genealogy gold. Got a lot to do this upcoming week.

Upcoming talks for Debbie Carder Mayes

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, I’ll be presenting Finding Eliza Jane's Family for the Montgomery County Genealogical Society in Dayton, Ohio. The next day, Sunday, August 11, 2013, I'll be zipping to the other end of the state to Fremont, Ohio to speak for the Sandusky Kinhunters. The program, 2 x 2 = 4 x . . . is a new one I'll be doing for the first time. Hope to see some of you. Debbie Carder Mayes