Sunday, February 20, 2011

Military Records of Civil War Vet Madison Lewis

I discovered Madison Lewis’ Civil War service record and pension index card through research on a few weeks ago. Madison enlisted in the 1st Regiment, United States Colored Cavalry, Company B on December 22, 1863 at Camp Hamilton located in Hampton, VA. Later I searched the database on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailor System where I located the names of other soldiers in Madison’s regiment as well as a regiment history. Since these discoveries, I have been studying and analyzing these records.

Additionally I also typed up a timeline of events in Microsoft Excel from the service record and regiment history in order to make some sense of the military career of Madison Lewis. I use Microsoft Excel often for these type of research project because of the ability to sort and filter the data. Any spreadsheet software or table in word processing software would assist in analyzing genealogical data.

Typing up a timeline in Microsoft Excel with regiment and service record dates and events helps me to understand the military career of Madison Lewis.

I look forward to looking at the pension records of Madison Lewis soon. I’m sure this record will contain genealogy gems that will take me on a new research trial. Maybe, if I’m lucky, there will be a tin type photo of Madison in his file.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How I Discovered My Adopted USCT Soldier Madison Lewis

This is continuation from the blog posting on "My Adopted USCT Soldier."
I first learned about Madison Lewis after reading the unpublished autobiography* of his brother-in-law George Washington Fields (1854-1932). In this narrative entitled Come on Children, George Fields writes about his life as a slave in Hanover County, VA and his family’s escape to Hampton, VA in March 1863. Other time periods in George Fields’ life through adulthood are also included in this autobiography. The first time that Madison Lewis is mentioned in this narrative is when Fields writes about the day his family escaped from slavery in Hanover County, VA to Hampton, VA. This escape occurred in late March 1863 according to Fields, and arrived at Old Point Comfort in Hampton, VA in early April. Early that morning on the day of the escape, a skirmish between Confederate and Union soldiers occurred at the Hanover County Virginia Courthouse . After the Union army’s victory in this skirmish, numerous slaves in the area escaped to Union lines and onward to freedom.

*Note: A typed copy of “Come on Children” is housed in the Sis. Evans collection of the Hampton History Museum. Based on the typist notes in this manuscript, this copy was typed from another draft of this autobiography. I have not yet located the original of this autobiography.
My focus of this research project is James A. Fields, but through searching his life, I have veered off into other research directions of his kinfolks such as his brother George Washington Fields, his mother Martha Fields, and now his brother-in-law, Madison Lewis.

Through an internet research on a few weeks ago, I discovered that Madison Lewis was a United States Colored Troop soldier. This has been an extremely exciting journey into military and Civil War era research and I still can’t believe that I’m even interested in this type of research.

To Be Continued. . . Part 2

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Descendants Search for Ancestor David Carll

Apparently actress Vanessa Williams is not the only descendant of Civil War soldier David Carll who has been searching for information on him. The article “African American Civil War Museum Honors OB Civil War Vet David Carll” (Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot, August 20, 2010, written by Dagmar Fors Karppi) indicates other descendants have been researching his life. On August 7, 2010, a presentation was made by Frank Carl (great-great grandson) of New York, NY and Gilbert McDonald (great-great-great grandson) of Odenton, MD., at the African American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C. about their ancestor David Carll. This article ironically does not mention Vanessa Williams’ quest to find information on her ancestor. Neither were there any other references to other descendants researching David Carll mentioned in Vanessa Williams’ Who Do You Think You Are episode last night.

The article further indicates that while doing research at the National Archives, great-great-great grandson, Gilford McDonald, viewed his ancestor’s pension record and discovered the tin-type” photograph of his ancestor. The article does not indicate a date when this discovery occurred. This article is a must read and it gives some details about David Carll’s 12-year struggle in collecting his rightful pension and the reason the photo was sent as part of the pension file.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Call for Papers

The Asalh Association for African American Life and History has issued a call for papers for their 2011 conference which will be held October 5-9, 2011 in Richmond, VA. The theme for this year’s conference is “African Americans and the Civil War”. The deadline for submission is April 30, 2011.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Civil War Emancipation Blog

Today, I was sent the link to a Civil War blog by a genealogy friend. The Civil War Emancipation blog is designed "to commemorate important milestones in emancipation in the Civil War as their 150th anniversary arrives in the sesquicentennial." It is fantastic to see the creation of so many Civil War related blogs.