Thursday, September 5, 2013

Personal Servants in the Army

Records of reimbursement for payment of travel and subsistence of officers prior to the Civil War are found in Record Group 217, Entry 516, Settled Accounts of Army Paymasters. The documents contain information relating to reimbursement for the travel and subsistence of valets and personal servants. Officers would file with the appropriate paymaster quarterly. In order to efficiently access these records in the National Archives, the time period and the name of the paymaster have to be known. This makes them difficult to use. One work around is to located the officer seeking reimbursement on a muster roll of a fort or post and from that roll determine the name of the paymaster of that fort and post.

As a side note, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 (prior to 1871) survivor, invalid, widow, widow half-pay pensioner payment vouchers, not found in pension agencies? This may be because the pensioner lived on the frontier and obtained their payments from the local post or fort paymaster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Father and a Son, Two of the Same Name

I wondered if you could solve a puzzle for me if you have time.   I'm working on a supplemental DAR app and I'm finding the records confusing for a Samuel Peck, Milford, CT.  There are two Samuel Pecks, father and son:

Samuel Peck b. 22 Aug 1736 Milford, New Haven, CT
m. 7 Jul 1762 Mehitable Smith, d. of Ephraim Smith and Sarah Newton, all of Milford.
d. 18 Jun 1822 Orange, New Haven, CT

This is the Captain in the 1st CT Continental Line who does not get a pension, probably because he did not have sufficient qualifying service for the 1818 pension; although he probably would have qualified if he had lived to time of the 1832 act. He also serves at a later date in CT State Troops. 

and son,
Samuel Peck b. 19 Oct 1764 Milford
m. 13 Jan 1796 Mehitable Ingersoll, d. of David Ingersoll and Clemence Treat, all of Milford
d. 21 Aug 1842 Milford

This is the 16 year old who does get a pension under the 1832 act, having served for the required six months. 

Fold 3 has two files on "Samuel Peck of Milford".  One is the son, Samuel Peck, b. 1764 and he was a guard at the fort at Milford for one year 1780-81 and received a pension (He would have been 16 yr. old - is this too young?)

It is not.
In the pension letter from the government they state he is S#17012 or 13 on an earlier page.  (  In the same file the government is talking about the Samuel Peck b. 1736 (the father)...confusing.

17012 it is. 

This is the 16 year old pension file. The only thing that I find in the file is descendants telling the government that this is Samuel Peck the Capt. At no time, that I can see is the government telling anyone that this person is the Captain. The fill in the blank form may be confusing, but it is the government asking the person to fill in the blanks and they do and send it back. They, the descendants got it wrong, not the government.

The other file on "Samuel Peck" does not give a soldier # or town but he has been acknowleged by DAR as Samuel Peck of Milford (DAR  Ancestor #: A087701 ) b, 1736 and married to Mehitable Smith. (

This is the compiled military service record for Samuel, the father who was in Captain Donaldson's State troops. He served previously in the 1st CT Continental Line.

 I believe this is the Samuel Peck mentioned as Captain in Col Douglas's unit in Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the I. War of the Revolution II. War of 1812 III. Mexican War, comp. by Authority of the General Assembly, under directionof the office of the Adjutants-General, The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company:Hartford, 1889, pp. 406, 408 (  

This is the father.

On p. 660 of the same source it shows a pension for a Samuel Peck in Milford, age 75 (which would mean it was the Samuel Peck b. 1764).

Although I agree that this might seem to be Samuel Peck, the father it can not be. The listing is from the List of Pensioners on the 1840 census and the father is dead in 1822. So he can't be on the 1840 census based on the given date of death. So it is clearly what it says it is, Samuel Peck, pensioner, 75 in 1840 and it has to be the son.

The father would have been at least 40 yr. old at the start of the Revolution and the son would have been been 16 yrs. in 1780 as a Fort guard.


So, do you think the files all relate to Samuel Peck b. 1736 and that he was mixed up in the files with his son?  If so, how do I correct the file?

There is nothing to correct. The files, with the exception of the compiled service record relate to the son, not the father.

It all looks right to me, if you take into account the voice  that is speaking in the records. Only the descendants have it wrong. 

We always have to look for and identify the voice in a record. In some records there is more than one and we have to understand the role of each in the record. In this case the government was asking clarifying questions of the person who was making the query. The person responded, unfortunately with wrong information. By not understanding the voice, one can be led to believe that the government is making the statement, and that therefore it is true (lol), but is really is just a questionnaire full of a few incorrect answers.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ellsworth as a middle name

Today I was talking with someone who loves to research in Loudoun County, Virginia. A place that I love also. She asked me about the surname Ellsworth. Evidently she has several folk in and from that area that have the middle name of Ellsworth. Only problem is that Ellsworth is not a Loudoun County surname, at least not about 1860, which is just before these kids are being born.

And could I explain it? She has surnames like Frye in her family. And that is generally a northern Loudoun, Lovettsville kind of surname. German Settlement, Union sympathizer kind of surname, usually. So I asked and her people were those type of Loudoun folk. The kind that spent as much time in Ohio as they did Loudoun during the war (a trait of Germans and Quakers of the area).

I knew why immediately.

The answer: Elmer Ephriam Ellsworth.

Is that your answer?

If you wiki him you will see why I think this is the answer.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I had so much FUN!!!!!

Who would have thought that I could have so much FUN!!! right after I had so much FUN!!!

I have just returned from spending a few days in the David Library of the American Revolution in Washington's Crossing Pennsylvania. For a know it all like me learning new stuff just makes my day. It makes me a better know it all. And this trip I just did not stop learning new stuff. I am working on a book (okay, so I am always working on a book and one day one will actually get done, I know, I know) that jumped out at me as being some thing that had to be done. A How-To on Hessians.

So for a few days I looked at everything Hessian and it was a non-stop, "I didn't know that" or "I didn't think about that" kind of experience. Of course, I am going to save those revelations for the book, but no matter.

Out of the experience came news that after July 1782 (somewhere is mention in the Papers of the Continental Congress, but I haven't looked at is deeply yet) if was possible for a Hessian to get out of prison by joining the Continental Army, or for the amount of $80.00 to obtain a redemption certificate and basically get a get out of prison camp free card. Had to sign an oath of allegiance. If he did not have $80.00 he could indenture himself to someone who made the payment for them (wonder if there are records somewhere about these guys) and work off the debt. Or of course he could stay in prison. This put an entirely different view on my view of how Hessians joined the Continental Army.  So the question is if a Hessian gets a redemption certificate and heads into the wilds of Pennsylvania or The Valley is he really a deserter?

If you don't know the David Library you should. Google it and see all the neat things they have in their catalog. If you have an interest in anything between 1750 and 1800 this is the place to be. I could have spent a month. The next time the Bucks County Genealogical Society invites me to come and speak I will be much better prepared to take advantage of the facility. I think that is called a research plan.

Thank you the David Library of the American Revolution.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More than one way to skin a CMSR

I have been looking for military records on Fold3 and couldn't help noticing your involvement there. Consequently, I have a question regarding the Civil War Records. Specifically, I wish to locate a military record for William Carter who served in Co. C, 8th Missouri Infantry, CSA (Mitchell's).  The index for this company, however, begins at Cl-G!  I do have a Company C roster which does, in fact, begin with Adamson, Isaac. (I spot checked two other names from the list, and they were included.)  Putting in the soldier's name brings me negative results.
Any thoughts?
 try this:,none

if that does not work do this search:

William Carter

there is a single abstract card.
These are further comments that I would have made had I thought about them at the time.
My search rotation with Fold3 is Browse, Search, Advanced Search. 
So in this case no luck with Browse because the A - Ck is not listed. It looks like it was combined with the 7th by mistake.
Search for William Carter just returned too many possibilities. But with a little narrowing it was obtainable.

Advanced Search as above gets right to the record. Wish there was more than one.
Knowing when to be creative in index searches is a key element of a genealogists tool box. 
I am sure that we all have examples of records that we could not find using standard methods but found when were creative.
I think my favorite is using a neighbor to locate someone in a census.

Monday, November 19, 2012

War of 1812 Compiled Military Service Records

I received a request for info a while back that I thought I would share.

Are there service records for the War of 1812. I found my ancestor in the Register of Enlistments. I thought he was in the militia.

First there are compiled military service records for volunteer soldiers (like militia and state troops) if the War Department managed to obtain the muster or payrolls. The index to these compiled miltary service records are found on NARA microfilm and are available on Some complied military service records were microfilmed and are now also on Fold3. These are the records that relate to Uriah Blue's Detachment of Chickasaw Indians, Maj. McIntosh's Company of Creek Indians, sailors on Lake Erie and soldiers from the Territory of Mississippi.

There are no compiled military service records for Regular Army personnel. You have to create those on your own. The first step is to find the person on the Register of Enlistments to see what it has to say. From there you should be able to obtain the company and regiment that the person belongs to. From there you go to RG94, Records of the Adjutant Generals Office and the series entries that are in the 90s. These include enlistment papers, medical certificates and personal papers.

In addition to the 90s, as I call them there is one other place you might consult. That is M1856, Discharge Certificates and Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Discharge of Soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815. These six rolls of microfilm are really interesting. The joy for me is the miscellaneous records part. The other joy is the finding aid which is available as a .pdf file through the online microfilm catalog. It is 116 pages of searchable names. There is also information from these records in a section on the website that is called War of 1812 Discharge Certificates.

It is also possible for a person to both be in the militia and the Regular Army, just not at the same time. Many militiamen join the Regular Army during the war. Many researchers fail to recognize that when the militiaman falls off the rolls, he might have joined the Regular Army. Prior to Ancestry putting up the Register of Enlistments this was generally ignored because the registers are a real pain to deal with. Today there is really no excuse.

There are additional resources for War of 1812 research which can be found at:

At a minimum, you should read Stuart L. Butler's article on Genealogical Records of the War of 1812.

There is also a list of links to other resources at this URL.

Butler has several books which I use often in my Virginia research in the War of 1812. My favorite has been recently revised.

A GUIDE TO VIRGINIA MILITIA UNITS IN THE WAR OF 1812 Stuart Lee Butler, second edition, revised and expanded. 8 x 10,
2011, xvi, 270 pages, index, maps, photos. When this volume first was published in 1988, it quickly became a definitive study on the role played by the Virginia militia in defense of both the state and the nation in the Anglo-British conflict. The author of the volume spent his career with the National Archives and Records Administration in the Old military and Civil Branch Records, where he specialized in early American military records. Since his retirement, Mr. Butler has continued his research in the area of the War of 1812, and with the upcoming bicentennial of the conflict, the product of this expanded research is presented in this new work. The primary sources of information for this enlarged volume are found among the massive holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC. In addition, materials have been drawn from numerous other state and local archival collections to present a balanced, scholarly account of the Virginia militia and its role in this war. This book is as complete a guide to the militia units raised in Virginia as records permit. The book is divided into three parts: Part I describes the organization of the Virginia militia, i.e., its regiments, battalions, and companies, and explains in what manner it was to be called up during an emergency. Part II frames an expanded history of the role played by the Virginia militia during this conflict. Part III, the largest portion, is a county-by-county listing of the units, with the naming of the regimental commanders, company commanders, and the known action and movements of the unit during the war. The book includes the name of the company or unit commander, not every soldier who served within that unit. Researchers who have secured copies of CMSRs [compiled military service records] from the National Archives or other sources will be able to determine the unit in which a soldier served, where and when that unit operated, and, in most instances, ascertain the soldier's county of origin. A complete index of unit commanders completes this standard reference work. What is presented here is a distillation of a life's research by the premier scholar in the field of the War of 1812.
[Gtvm2] $30.00

VIRGINIA SOLDIERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY, 1800-1815 compiled by Stuart Lee Butler. 1986, paper, 188 pages, introduction, index. This volume contains the abstracted service records of 5,193 Virginians who enlisted in the regular United States army during the period 1800-1815. Material is taken from the Register of Enlistments now in the custody of the National Archives. The list contains, wherever possible: full name; unit to which he was assigned; occupation prior to enlistment; county of birth; age; place and date of enlistment, and status at the end of his term of services (i.e., date and place of discharge, desertion, death, or other record. This book will become a major reference tool for genealogists in this period of Virginia history. Many of the pioneer families in the mid-west were descended from these cashiered soldiers at the end of the war.
[Vsus] $17.00

He also wrote a book on the titled Real Patriots and Heroic Soldiers: Gen. Joel Leftwich and the Virginia Brigade in the War of 1812

Hope all of this helps.



I had so much FUN!!!!

[I posted this on my As Craig Sees It Blog, but I thought it needed to be here also; hope you don't mind]

I just spent a week in the National Archives as a tour leader for the National Genealogical Society First Annual (at least I hope it is an annual event) D.C. Research Tour.

I have to tell you that I had a blast. Twenty-four people all anxious to learn more about records in the National Archives. What more could I guy like me ask for?

It was so much fun that I thought I would do it again. Only this time as a Heritage Books tour. And in such a way that it would not conflict with the 2nd Annual National Genealogical Society D.C. Research Trip.

One of the problems with the D.C. trip, and I am not being critical, is that orientation to the tour occurred the night before the first visit to NARA. I think that can be solved by using a GoToMeeting format and having orientation a week or so before the event so there is time to let it rest and have time to think about it. And then of course have a quick check closer to the event.

Then my mind wrapped around the possibilities. Why not have about four lectures spread over the month before the event that dealt with the theme. So if the theme was Revolutionary War it might look like this:

Understanding Revolutionary War Compiled Military Service Records
Understanding Revolutionary War Pensions
Understanding Pension Ledgers, Pension Payments, Last and Final Payments
Understanding Bounty Land
(requires internet connection, headset, and whatever else it takes to make GoToMeeting work on your end. Sessions will be recorded and available for download later, maybe provided on a flash drive to participants)

Three days at the National Archives
Two days at the DAR Library
(meaning that I will be at each one of these places on the appropriate days and available for guidance and consultation)

Hotel and Food on you.
Transportation to and from facilities on you.

Cost: $225

What do you think of the concept?
What themes should be considered?
What facilities should be visited?
What have I forgotten?
Would you go?

Help me, please.