Starting a FAN club for your Civil War ancestor 

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?

 

Fan Club

 

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!

Today’s Civil War Quick Tip: Read the Regimental History

I’ll bet one of the first bits of information you found about your Civil War ancestor is the regiment he served with. Take the time to read the history of your ancestor’s regiment. Make a special point of focusing on the regiment’s actions during his enlistment time. You can find a regimental history in the library, or check the numerous online regimental histories available.

Photo courtsey of stock.xchng.com

Photo courtsey of stock.xchng.com

By reading about the regiment’s actions you’ll learn a lot about your ancestors life during his military service. Not only will you become more familiar with your ancestor’s Civil War experience, battles fought, etc., you’ll have a much better sense of what resources you’ll want to pursue as you continue your research.

One place to look for a regimental history is at the Civil War Archive. Their list of histories are linked to Google books where you’ll be able to download the history in a .pdf format to your computer. This will make it easy to read and refer back to.

The National Parks Service has a regimental search page too at http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-regiments.htm

 

 

________________________________________________

 

 

image

If you’re interested in focusing your research on your Civil War ancestor check out Ancestors In A Nation Divided – available in Kindle and also in paperback. Great help as you seek your veteran’s place in our country’s history.