Sunday, November 20, 2011

Researching Civil War Veterans

Amy Johnson Crow, CG
On Saturday, November 19th, the Hamilton County Genealogical Society and the PLCH co-sponsored a talk with Amy Johnson Crow.  Her talk was of special interest to those whose ancestors include veterans of the Civil War. 

Probably the best source of genealogical and biographical information for Union Civil War Veterans is the Pension Record.  In order to qualify for a pension, applicants were often required to document their eligibility by providing proof of marriage, birth records for children and possible disability.  A General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, is available on    It is arranged alphabetically.  A second index, arranged by regiment, then company, the alphabetically is available on and in a beta version at  It is called the Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served between  1861 and 1900- [1917]. 

Pensions for Confederate veterans were issued by former Confederate states.  Each state had its own eligibility requirements.  Veterans applied for a pension from the state in which he resided, not the state from which he served.  If a Confederate veteran was unfortunate enough to move to a Union state following the war, he was not eligible for any pension.

Civil War veterans were issued a military discharge record that they were to record in their county of residence.  If the record exists it is often located in the County Recorder's Office. This record includes the place of birth, age, physical description and the place of discharge.

It is well-known that the majority of the 1890 U.S. Census (Population Schedule) was destroyed.  However, there was an 1890 Special Schedule of Union Veterans and Widows.  About half of this record survived Including the second half of the Kentucky record through Wyoming. An index and images for this record can be found on also has browsable images.

Amy also suggested that researches search out the records of Veterans Organizations such as the (GAR),  The Grand Army of the Republic was an organization for Union veterans.  Individual Regiments also held reunions.  Booklets filled with memories, biographies, lists of unit members and lists of deaths since the last reunion were often published and distributed at these reunions.

Both the federal government and individual states created homes for disabled soldiers.  Some of these records can be found on  Most residents of these homes were required to have been honorably discharged and either disabled or indigent. 

Finally, some states and local governments provided benefits, although these records vary greatly.  In the 1930s, the WPA began a Graves Registration project.  Their purpose was to try to document the burial records of all veterans within a given state.  Should the records exist, they are most likely to be found at the County Recorder Office, County Auditor of the local office of veteran's affairs.

Lesson learned:  There is more out there than the Pension Record available through the National Archives.  I think all who attended would agree that Amy Johnson Crow opened our eyes to other possible resources.

Crow, Amy Johnson, CG. "After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans." Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and the Hamilton County Genealogical Society. Cincinnati. 19 November 2011.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FHL Film Online Ordering Now Available in Cincinnati

It is now possible to order Family History Library (FHL) microfilm online at FamilySearch Online Film Ordering.  See It's Not All Online: Ordering Family History Library Microfilm for the benefits of using the Family History Library's extensive collection of microfilms.

To order film, you will first need to set up an account with FamilySearch if you do not have one already.  This is necessary to prevent spammers from inappropriately accessing the website.  Once you have an account, select the Family History Center where you want to view the film at My Family History Center.

Ordering microfilms is easy:
  1. Identify the microfilm that you would like to order using the FamilySearch Catalog.  Proceed to FamilySearch Online Film Ordering and enter the loan type and film number and click 'search'.  Short-term loans must be returned within 90 days while long-term loans are indefinite. 
  2. The film will appear in the window with the charges shown and a link to 'Add to Cart.'
  3. Click the 'Proceed to Checkout' button when you have finished entering in microfilms you would like to  order.  You will be taken through a series of additional screens to complete your order including payment.  Payment can be made with a Visa/Mastercard credit card, debit card or prepaid card.  Payment can also be made using PayPal. ($7.50 for short-term; $18.75 for long-term; and $4.75 for microfiche)
  4. You will receive a confirming email letting you know if the film is available and another email when the film has been received by your local Family History Center (FHC).
  5. One week before your film is due, you will receive another email from the FHL reminding you that your film is due.  If desired, you can renew the film at that time or have the film returned by the FHC.  It is best to let your local FHC know when you are finished with a film so that they can return it.
Note that even though a film is on long-term loan it may be returned if the local FHC determines that the film is no longer being used, the film becomes restricted or the film already exists at the center.

It is always a good idea to confirm the film is not already available online at the FHL or at your local FHC.  Online films are identified in the catalog.  You will need to check with your local FHC to determine whether they already have a film.

Posted by Liz Stratton; Updated 27 November 2012.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Tracer Now Online

The November Tracer is now available online in the members section of the website.  There are many great articles to choose from as well as chapter news.  Articles in the current edition:

Successful Bridgets:  Irish Women in Cincinnati's Third Ward in 1860
Chapter Projects and News:  Blog, Wiki, Facebook, Member Pages, NGS Conference
Hamilton County Recorder's Office - Far More than Deeds
Hamilton County Records Online:  Vital Records, Cemeteries, Maps
Passenger Lists
Re-dedication of Mohawk World War II Honor Roll Memorial
German Birth and Marriage Database
Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church of College Hill
Methodist Episcopal Church, Catherine Street Cemetery, 1826-1868
Hamilton County Probate Accounts - Partial Abstract of Account Volume 3, 1840-1857, Part II
German General Protestant Orphan Home Index
Public Library Acquisitions
Book Review:  To Crown Myself with Honor: The Wartime Letters of Captain Asbury Gatch
J. Richard Abell Genealogical Trust Fund Donors

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


If you are researching Hamilton County or Cincinnati ancestors, you have undoubtedly paid a visit to the Cincinnati Historical Society’s Library, located in the Museum Center at Union Terminal.  Our February program will be an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and Library orientation led by Librarian, M'lissa Kesterman. 

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, we will meet at the Library, located in the lower level of the Museum Center, at 10:00 am.  Ms. Kesterman will begin the program with an overview of the library’s on-line catalog and then take us back to the stacks for a look at the photo, map, and other special collections housed at the Library.  As the Library’s entire collection is not available on-line, this should give researchers a better idea of the variety and scope of the specialized collections available.  The program will end in the Hauck Research Room, where the majority of genealogical holdings are available on the shelves, and the extensive newspaper collection is available for microfilm viewing.

The program will end at 12:00 noon, at which time the library is open to the public.  You are encouraged to stay and make use of the collections you have just discovered!  You may bring your own lunch, or food is available in the rotunda of the Museum Center, along with the dining area.

This private tour is limited to 18 people.  To make your reservations or for more information, contact Linda Dietrich, Program Chairperson.