I took this picture outside the Lincoln home in Springfield, IL. I think presidential candidates should be in more parades and hire fewer telemarketers. Maybe this will make a comeback...
Yes, there is such a thing. My ancient Maryland ancestor was still trying to prove his service in the Continental Line when he died in Massachusetts in 1854, for example. If you have a picture of James Hudson of Wareham, please let Maureen (and me) know. Since 3rd MA Heavies is a picture-oriented site, I'm guessing that many of you, like me, enjoy looking for the oldest photos you can find of your ancestors. Maybe some of you have more than I do from the 1800s (four). Author Maureen Taylor, who has published two collections of photos of "the Revolutionary War generation" is asking for your help with volume 3 of The Last Muster (Kent State University Press, 2010 & 2013). She is trying to find pictures from each of the 13 colonies, of men and women, of free folk and slaves, in other words a variety of people who were eyewitnesses to the creation of the United States of America as children or adults. You can find out more on Maureen Taylor's website. If any of you are fans of Dr. Who and/or the "All your fandom. All in one place" website/blog whyruntothetardis.com, you will want to check out Taylor's first volume, pages 88 & 89. Look at the man in the picture, then read his writeup all the way through to the end.
The July 18 edition of the Weekly Genealogist that the NEHGS emails to members had a link to a Science News article on using particle accelerators to restore completely unreadable, tarnished daguerrotypes. Here is a link to the actual journal article in Scientific Reports, published June 22nd. It shows the before and after pictures and has the scientific details about how the process worked. These were images from the National Gallery of Canada. There is also a downloadable at the very end, labeled "Supplementary Material," with a little bit more. No word on when or if this is something other curators of photography exhibits would be able to access and restore these images from the 1840s-1860s.
The Missing In America Project (MIAP) is an amazing group whose mission it is to rescue abandoned remains of U.S. veterans and inter them in an appropriate resting place with full military honors. I have attended 3 of their ceremonies in my state, one at the national cemetery and two at the state veterans cemetery. No two are alike, but all extremely touching, involve a variety of military, veterans, and civilian representatives, and overall do the veterans proud. Last week they honored the remains of former Civil War drummer boy Zachariah Stucker of Illinois in Washington state. (You can read about this here and here.) Like all service organizations, the MIAP can use more volunteers and more donors to cover the cost of following the laws re: laying claim to someone else's ashes. Likewise, if you are have a friend or family member's cremains on the shelf and wonder what to do with them, you can talk to the MIAP about including him or her in their next ceremony. They are not just for the homeless or the unclaimed. Check out the web site for ceremonies near you.
I visited DC this month and took some photos of Civil War interest. The first is the memorial to Benjamin F. Stephenson, founder of the GAR. It is next to the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA), which houses the Civil War pension records (along with those of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.) At each of the two doors to the NARA were two large statues reminding us of the importance of record keeping and history. One, though, has the inscription "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" and the figure is that of a Roman soldier. Having also visited the Library of Congress, I had a little time to get my hands on a hardcover edition of 2 of the books I scan for photos here and on my other web site, MayflowerFaces.com. I scanned the photo of DeWitt Clinton Packard, who held various offices for the city of Brockton, MA, including that of Overseer of the Poor. He was involved in the pension application process and was very kind to my 3rd great grandparents when they applied for their pensions. Thank you, D. C. Packard.
The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW) announced at its annual convention this weekend that their book project on ancestors who belonged to the GAR has become a web site. (Frankly, online publication is a much better idea than a print book.) Members are encouraged to share information - and if possible a photograph - of their soldier ancestor, including the GAR unit to which he belonged. What they have online right now just begins to scratch the surface in terms of the soldier ancestors of the group's current 4,000 members, but the idea is probably for members to get a better idea of what they need to submit and see that it is not difficult at all to contribute. The site is searchable by name and by place and visitors are encouraged at this stage to offer feedback about the site itself. The URL is duvcwgar.org; check it out today.
The Memorial Day ceremony today at Pioneer & Military Memorial Park featured wreath-laying by several Civil War organizations, a reading of the Gettysburg Address by the Commander of the SUVCW's new Department of the Southwest, singing/clapping/bagpipes, a talk featuring a local (Phoenix) angle on the meaning of Memorial Day, and tables staffed by organizations that focus on Civil War history. One speaker noted that the casualties of the Civil War in today's terms would be as though 6 million U.S. service men and women had been killed in the war on terror since September 11, 2001. If you care about Civil War history and maybe more importantly, the issues for which the Union side fought, consider joining one (or more) of the Five Allied Orders that carry on the work of the Grand Army of the Republic after 1865. The Allied Orders are not reenactors (i.e., you will not have to buy a uniform and your own cannon.) For men, there is the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). For women there are the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (for direct descendants), the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (if you have a relative who served for the Union but is not necessarily a direct ancestor), the Women's Relief Corps (for any woman who cares about veterans and Civil War history), and the Auxiliary to SUVCW (any of the above qualifications.) The amount of activity involved depends on where you live and which group you choose, so please visit all of these sites and pick one. Keep green the memory.
The New Bedford Public Library offers a link to the Digital Commonwealth online image collection that focuses on the part of Bristol Co, MA that includes New Bedford, Westport, Fairhaven, and Acushnet. One of the images is that of a GAR post but there are also other group and individual photos and rotogravure images (from old newspapers) that may give you a glimpse of your soldier. Maybe he was a policeman or fireman after the war, or played for a sports team. Many of the group images name the people in them. I plan to mine it but don't wait for me - check it out yourself.
I ran across two interesting sites recently that might be of help to anyone looking for photos, ideas, or genealogy clues. One was Yale University's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library's Digitized Collections, "Civil War Photographs" section. It contains 103 images taken during and immediately after the war by Reed B. Bontecoe, who recorded the outcome of treatments for various wounds. Most identify the specific soldier, his unit, his service record, the nature of the wound, and the medical outcome. These were ordinary soldiers who might not otherwise have had their pictures taken, and the image quality is good. Only a few are closeups of actual wounds; most are of the "whole soldier." I did find a Mayflower descendant for my Mayflower Faces site but have not finished reading all the write-ups for some link to the 3rd MA Heavy Artillery specifically. The second site was "Civil War Medicine (and Writing)" on blogspot. While I did not see anything specifically about the 3rd MA HA, the blogger covers a variety of topics not usually addressed on other sites, including home remedies, postwar employment, care of African American soldiers, Civil War museums and lots more. I ran across it when researching a sister of a New Hampshire physician living in the South for my Mayflower Faces site. The blog archives includes links to abstracts of 3 modern-day journal articles written about the Bontecoe photos and their place in medical history. In all aspects of genealogy, when you cast a wide net as to resources you are more likely to find some hidden treasure.
I found a unit history that was ahead of its time, as far as I'm concerned, and only wish my own ancestors in the 3rd MA Heavy Artillery had thought to do this. Head to Internet Archive and after making the donation the pop-up asks for, click on "texts" and then enter "7th Michigan Cavalry." Look for Personal and Historical Sketches and Facial History of and by Members of the Seventh Regiment, Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, 1862-1865. Download the Library of Congress version, not Evil Google's version (theirs are rarely searchable.) The phrase "Facial History" refers to the 7th Michigan Cavalry Association's idea of having each man contribute a vignette about some wartime memory along with a photo of himself then (wartime) and "now," meaning 1902. Those who were no longer living were acknowledged and any image someone had of the departed was used in its place. The overall effect is the reverse of what I'm trying to to here (working backwards to figure out which soldier in a group shot is who, based on comparison with a later photo at a more mature age.) The group's goal may even have been meant to help the men recognize each other at any reunions or to just celebrate the fact that they were still alive. The 7th Michigan fought at Gettysburg, among other places, so these men had seen a lot of death.