Finding Your Confederate Ancestor

This blog was authored by the Missouri Society, Military Oder of the Stars and Bars Genealogist. If you have questions or comments please use the contact page. Contact Us

Greetings from the Missouri Society!

Here are a few comments and tips that will help you in your genealogy research endeavors and please keep in mind this hobby is by no means an exact science! First of all, NEVER TRUST SOMEONE ELSE’S RESEARCH! Always double check what someone else says about a certain generation! When looking for Confederate ancestors in your tree a lot of people go back to the “sweet spot” time frame of 1805-1845 and they say” well, no on here” and stop. Do not be afraid and always be prepared to trace a particular line back to the late 1600’s to early 1700’s and sometimes further to find an MRCA (most recent common ancestor). If you are looking for a particular “proof” (death certificate, census record, will etc.) and are having difficulty you may go back and double check the validity of your generation. This being the case, 90% of the time if the generation is correct there WILL BE a proof in existence somewhere that documents a particular generation. I have literally spent DAYS/WEEKS looking for a proof that didn’t exist due to the fact that I had a bogus generation in my tree that was not legit.

Secondly, do not be intimidated due to a difference in surname spelling! Example, I was recently proofing out my 4X great grandfather Elijah “Kennedy”, just like the former president, and his father, my 5X great grandfather for whatever reason, spelled it “Cannaday”. Same bloodline but due to immigrating to America they decided to “Americanize” the spelling from the Irish version. I’ve seen this happen many times just to cite one example. Also, I have encountered that in German immigrants, pronunciations of  particular Christian names can mess with your mind. What we know as “Elizabeth” in English is pronounced like “Alice-a-beck” in German and has been translated to be “Alice” from English into German translation. Please don’t be intimidated by this as diligence will pay off if you are patient.

Thirdly, UTILIZE YOUR RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU! A lot of information has been digitized and is on the web and is FREE-yes FREE, if you know where to look! Here are a few sources I frequently use and have picked many “cherries” from.

  1. familysearch.org (this is the genealogical web site of the Mormon church, this is a treasure trove of will/probate and land title records but can be a challenge to learn how to navigate)
  2. fold3 (this is an ESSENTIAL Ancestry linked site that contains a lot if not most military records. If you are looking for Confederate ancestors and are not having much luck, ask yourself “did I check fold3 ?”
  3. I have also had success of typing in a name with the birth and death dates and searching Google. This can bring you to a lot of sites such as Wikitree, Geni, Roots web etc. and if people make their information “public” you can make a major score on a particular proof.
  4. Once you get back into the latter 1600’s there were not a lot of wills/probate records etc. that were widely available or at least that seem to get more scarce. This is when you may have to resort to genealogical history books. People such as General Lee, the Randolph’s, the Neville’s, the Plantagenet’s, Jefferson’s, etc. are highly documented surnames and in a lot of cases the authors did not stop at a particular surname but will mention other surnames in marriages and those of significance to support a particular bloodline. Some books that I have used for proofs to a large extent are:

“The Holtzclaw Family Genealogy” by B.C. Holtzclaw, PhD,  “The Royal Descendants of 600 Immigrants” by Gary Boyd Roberts, “The Randolph Family of England, Scotland and Virginia, History and Genealogy” by William Randolph McCreight, just to cite a few.

I look forward to reviewing any applications and or supplements that come our direction and as always if I can off assistance to you please do not hesitate to ask.

DEO VINDICE!

Military Order of the Stars and Bars

Missouri Society Genealogist

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