Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: War of 1812

The War of 1812 ... You probably have heard the name, but do you know anything about the conflict? 

The War of 1812 is one of America's forgotten wars. Fought between the British and the newly formed United States, the war pitted family member against family member in debates over the role of the federal government, the states, and more. 

We love knowing what our ancestor did in a conflict, but, even more importantly, why they did it. What were their motivations? How did they understand what was happening around them? To know that we need to know more about the War itself.

 The 200th anniversary of the start of the War was in 2012.  To celebrate, a number of websites were created about this history. While most of them are designed for middle school students, they provide an excellent historical overview. Here are a few of our favorites: 

1) War of 1812 Interactives was designed for use in the classroom. It introduces War of 1812 artwork, covers the various political opinions about the war, and includes a map so that you can understand what was happening when and where. 

2) The War of 1812  is the online version of the PBS television program of the same name. You can learn about events in different sections of the country, major historic sites, and more by visiting their classroom page at http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/historic-sites/

3) A Sailor's Life for Me introduces you to life aboard ship, particularly aboard the USS Constitution. You can explore "Old Ironsides," review the personal histories of shipmates, and even pretend to enlist.

USS Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides"

4) A Guide to the War of 1812 introduces artifacts from the War available online.

Now that you understand a little more about the War, the next step is to find your ancestors! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Connecticut's Role in War at Connecticuthistory.org

To understand our ancestors' lives, we need to understand their experiences. That means knowing what was happening in the world around them.

CT Humanities webpage

That's especially true when trying to learn about an ancestor's experience during wartime. But how do you find a history that tells you what happened during wartime where your ancestor was living?

For Connecticut research, the website ConnecticutHistory.org can help. A project of Connecticut Humanities, the website contains small profiles of historic places, people, things, and events written by experts. These include everything from a description of Middletown to a mini-biography of Benedict Arnold.

To find military histories, click on "Topics" and then look for the word "War." Topics include the War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and War and Defense. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Military Headstones

Where can you find help understanding the abbreviations on a military headstone?  For example, what does "Regt." mean?

Military Headstone
The National Cemetery Administration has made it easy. Its website (part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) includes a list of abbreviations commonly used on government-furnished headstones and markers. The abbreviations include branch of service, war service, awards, and rank. 

Find this helpful list at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hmm/abbreviations.asp



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database

So you've checked the Godfrey Scholar and still haven't located a history of your ancestor's Civil War regiment. Where else can you go to find out where he served?

Veteran's Tombstone
Go to https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm.  Scroll down and then click on "Regiments."

Fill in as much information as you know, and click search.  Your results should include the unit in question.

Here's information on Col. Kingsbury's 11th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Military History on Godfrey Scholar

Military histories are amazing resources. They can tell you if your ancestor served, where, and for how long.

Even better, a number of military histories have been digitized and are available online for members through Godfrey Scholar.

Wondering how to access them? Check out our video.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Military Gravestones

What can a gravestone tell you about an ancestor's military service? As it turns out, quite a lot.

It might tell you where your ancestor served, when, and with whom.

Enjoy the below video to get some ideas about how gravestones can help you research your veteran ancestor.

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