Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday - Kuhns in business

This is a photograph of my great-grandparents, Gussie (Creed) and F.E. Kuhn, in front of their co-located businesses in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. F.E. Kuhn ran an insurance and real estate agency and Mrs. F.E. Kuhn ran a beauty shop.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Military Monday - A military connection comes full circle

My family has deep military roots and many connections to the state of Virginia. In fact, I have found a connection that came full circle at the marriage of my great grandparents.

My great-grandparents, Hazel McGuire and Clifton White were married January 16, 1932. Both of their families came to western Missouri from Virginia. Hazel's line came through Kentucky and Clifton's came straight from Virginia. Both lines were from the western portion of Virginia, mainly Roanoke, Augusta and Botetourt counties.
Alexander and William McClanahan were brothers. William was born in Augusta County, Virginia. I do not know much about his older brother Alexander other than his military service. He fought in the Indian Wars, the Battle of Point Pleasant and was awarded his own regiment during the Revolutionary War: 7th Regiment, Virginia Volunteers. He reached the rank of Colonel.

James McGuire was a private in Col. Alexander McClanahan's regiment. Assigned to Co. D, 7th Regiment, Virginia Volunteers upon his enlistment on March 6, 1776.

Pvt. McGuire and Col. McClanahan shared the same military experiences then 156 years later their descendants would marry. It truly is a small world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shaving - "Not So" Wordless Wednesday

My great-grandparents, Clifton and Hazel White, were wonderful, hard-working people. I remember lots of hugs and bite-sized chocolate candy bars always at the ready. One thing I had never really known was how much they appear to enjoy photography. They took countless photographs and to my eternal delight, many of them are of simple things. Case in point:

Shaving after effects...

Friday, November 11, 2011

A fitting tribute for any generation - Veteran's Day

Following the close of World War I General John J. Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American Expeditionary Forces sent a letter of thanks to each AEF Soldier. The following is a transcription of that letter, which is a fitting tribute to any generation of military veteran. 

American Expeditionary Forces
General Orders, No. 38-A
France, February 28, 1919

My Fellow Soldiers:

Now that your service with the American Expeditionary Forces is about to terminate, I can not let you go without a personal word. At the call to arms, the patriotic young manhood of America eagerly responded and became the formidable army whose decisive victories testify to its efficiency and its valor. With the support of the nation firmly united to defend the course of liberty, our army has executed the will of the people with resolute purpose. Our democracy has been tested, and the forces of autocracy have been defeated. To the glory of the citizen-solider, our troops have faithfully fulfilled their trust, and in a succession of brilliant offensives have overcome the menace to our civilization.

As an individual, your part in the world war has been an important one in the sum total of our achievements. Whether keeping lonely vigil in the trenches, or gallantly storming the enemy's stronghold; whether enduring monotonous drudgery at the rear, or sustaining the fighting line at the front, each has bravely and efficiently played his part. By willing sacrifice of personal rights; by cheerful endurance of hardship and privation; by vigor, strength and indomitable will, made effective by thorough organization and cordial co-operation, you inspired the war-worn Allies with new life and turned the tide of threatened defeat into overwhelming victory.

With a consecrated devotion to duty and a will to conquer, you have loyally served your country. By your exemplary conduct a standard has been established and maintained never  before attained by an army. With mind and body as clean and strong as the decisive blows you delivered against the foe, you are soon to return to the pursuits of peace. In leaving the scenes of your victories, may I ask that you carry home your high ideals and continue to live as you have served--an honor to the principles for which you have fought and to the fallen comrades you leave behind.

It is with pride in our success that I extend to you my sincere thanks for your splendid service to the army and to the nation.


John J. Pershing
Commander in Chief

Official: Robert C. Davis, Adjutant General
Copy furnished to Sanford Darnell
Dean S. Barnard
Capt. 359th Infantry, Commanding

Monday, November 7, 2011

Military Monday - Ordering Civil War Pension files through NARA eServices

I finally broke down and spent $75. On a pension file. Am I crazy?

I recently read on several other genealogy blogs that fellow researchers had ordered the Civil War pension files for their ancestors. I have many ancestors that fought in the Civil War but once I saw the steep price tag for complete pension files ($75 for the search at the NARA and up to 100 copies) I was leery. Was it really worth my money? What would I learn that I didn't already know? And most importantly, if I couldn't justify ordering a pension file for every ancestor, how would I narrow it down?

I have read that pension files are very rich with family information. It makes sense, because they were used to prove service and family relationships in order to delve out money. And we know the government is thorough when investigating how it will spend its money. The government paid pensions for the following reasons:
  1. The former soldier became disabled and was unable to support himself, or he became an invalid because of wounds or illness which occurred while he was in the Service.
  2. The soldier was a volunteer whose State unit saw Federal Service.
  3. A widow’s pension was awarded to a woman and children whose husband and father served in the war.
There are two types of pension file reproductions that you can order. The first, the Pension Documents Packet (NATF 85B), costs $25 and includes eight documents with the most genealogical rich information. The second option is the Federal Military Pension Application - Civil War and Later Complete File (NATF 85D), which includes all documentation in the pension file. The pension file could include marriage certificates, death certificates and discharge information, among other things.

Some of my ancestors inadvertently helped me to narrow down which pension files I would have to order by being Confederate soldiers. Those pension application files are kept at a state level which would require a request to each of the different state archives, a project for down the road. Other ancestors were Union soldiers, but did not see federal service. I am now narrowed down to the following ancestors:

Joseph M. Creed
Philip Kuhn

Both were Union Soldiers in my direct line and I have located pension index files for them. If I have to choose which to order I choose to not choose. That is a choice, right? But I will save ordering Philip Kuhn's file for later. I have already discovered Civil War letters written by Philip and I am very familiar with his service record. Joseph Creed is more of a mystery. He was a member of the Cass County Home Guards (Missouri) and the 9th Regiment, Kansas Calvary. I have no idea why his service crossed the state line and what happened that led him to see federal service. So the winner is Joseph M. Creed for $75. I hope it is well worth it!

So off I went to the NARA to place my order. I have found the easiest way to order reprodcutions from the National Archives is through their eServices site.
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Set up a user ID and password on the right-hand side of the screen. Once you have logged in click on the Order Reproductions button in the center of the screen or the tab at the top of the page. 
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Note the red circle. These are quick links to Military Service and Pension Records. Following this link brings you to a screen listing all of the military service and pension records available for order. I have circled the two Civil War files mentioned above:
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After choosing the type of file you would like to order, the site asks for all the pertinent information to conduct the search to include the veteran's name, unit, pension file application number (if known) and other information. The rest of the steps to order the file are similiar to ordering anything online. I have ordered many items through this site and my favorite part is the order history found in the My Account section. You are able to track all of your past orders and see where current orders are in the process. Note my most recent purchase is already being serviced!
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Note that there is no charge if the NARA is unable to locate your requested records, but their search can only be as good as the information you provide. I hope this tutorial drives others to order their ancestor's pension files. I hope that it is worth it for all of us!

For more information on Civil War Pension files at the NARA see here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The joy of discovering spelling mistakes - Wedding Wednesday

I've always considered Joseph Creed a nomad of sorts. He really didn't seem to be fond of sticking to one place for any period of time, although I'm sure he was just a product of the times he lived in. He was born in North Carolina in 1841 and moved to Missouri sometime between 1850 and 1861, which is when he enlisted in the Cass County Home Guards Cavalry. I know that Joseph married Mary Reece and I had a family history indicating that it was September 4, 1862. So now for finding proof...
Joseph and Mary Creed many years after their marriage.
I find Mary living with her parents, William and Elizabeth Reece, in 1860 in Johnson County, Missouri. By 1865 the Reece family is living in Johnson County, Kansas, without Mary. This makes sense if she was indeed married in 1862. I checked both Johnson Counties in Kansas and Missouri for record of her marriage but come up dry. I just figured it was another record lost to time and forgot about it.

Last week I was able to make a short visit to the Midwest Genealogy Center, one of my favorite places on Earth. Not kidding. My purpose for stopping was to find more information about William Henry Reece, Mary Reece Creed's father, and hopefully connect him with another generation. (See my post here about my journey with William Reece.) I have found an Isham Reece that I believe may be William's brother but I have yet to find proof. I decided to track down more information on Isham in order to "back-door" link him to my William. I know that Isham lived in Douglas County, Kansas, which is located just west of Johnson County, Kansas. While at the library I found a book entitled Douglas County, Kansas Marriages, 1854-1884, Vol. I, by Donna M. Shogrin and published by the Douglas County, Kansas, Genealogical Society, Inc. I found several "Reece" entries to include one for Van Buren Reece, one of William's sons. I had no idea that the Reece family lived in Douglas County, Kansas. Could this be where Mary was married, too?

Alas, no. No listing under Mary Reece. But, for some reason I decided to look under Creed, just in case, and low and behold there is the marriage listing! It is listed under Joseph Creed and Mary PERCE with the ceremony held on September 4, 1862. It states that the original record was from the Kansas State Journal, so I'm not sure if it was a transcription error or a printing error at the paper, but I'm sure it is my couple. Sometimes finding spelling errors is the best part of researching!