As a family historian I’ll bet you’ve read about “cluster genealogy” or Elizabeth Shown Mills’ outstanding approach on researching your ancestor’s Friends, Associates and Neighbors. Better known as the FAN CLUB!
Mill’s own explanation of this method can be found here. Simply put, extending your research beyond your individual ancestor to the people he or she lived, worked and socialized with helps to create a more accurate picture of their life. Don’t you just love this idea?
The same can be said for your Civil War ancestor. Creating a FAN club or researching the “cluster” of his company may produce some valuable leads regarding your veteran. In many cases young men enlisted together as recruitment stations were set up or passed through their area. By checking the 1860 Federal Census for neighbors, the regimental roster your ancestor served in, any manuscripts left by the men of that unit, etc. you’ll be able to get a more complete view of your Civil War ancestor’s service and how it impacted his family and the area he lived.
Are you doing “cluster genealogy” or FAN CLUB research on your ancestors? How are you doing? How do you record and organize your finds? I’d love to hear how this is going for you? Share in the comments!