Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Best Laid Plans......

Well, I had grand plans for my Kentucky research trip: A stop at the Campbell Co. Genealogical & Historical Society Library in Alexandria, followed by a visit to the Pendleton Co. Library in Falmouth. I would be looking for information on the Crail, Berry and Mullins families. [The latter for my girlfriend.]

I received an email on Wednesday that the Courthouse in Alexandria was being renovated and the CCHGS, housed there would be closed until sometime in November. Argh!

So that left the library in Falmouth. I was able to access the "Pioneers of Pendleton County, KY" & copied the pages covering the above named families. Added to that was information on a few allied families. The library held abstracted tax and court records, as well.

It was not the haul I had hoped for, but a nice haul nonetheless. Details forthcoming!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Research trip coming!

Hopefully the Crail story will flesh out some as I venture to Campbell and Pendleton Counties in neighboring Kentucky this week.

I have made contact with research facilities in both counties. [Always advisable! Your schedule may not fit theirs, especially if your destination relies on volunteers!]

I have a rough idea of what material both places have on the families that I'm interested in. [Check with staff or the facility's holdings or catalog before you go.]

I will organize my notes and venture forth in hopes of finding plenty of new details or, at least, verify what I have. [The more evidence, the better!]

Report on results forthcoming!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Crails in the Indy Directories

In my quest to locate my Crail ancestors, I have searched the Indy directories [primarily] from 1855 until about 1952.

The earliest entry was for Sylvester Crail in 1863. He resided in west Indianapolis and was listed as a soldier. Entries were spotty from 1865-1873. Sylvester appeared 5 times, his step-son William, 3 times and brother John once.

Using census and other records to assist the search, I have been able to match most of the Crails within four groups, those of the four brothers: Sylvester, John, Aaron and George.

Knowing when certain family members were elsewhere - having moved, military service, etc. has been helpful. So utilizing the census, marriage, military, tax, land, death and other record groups is crucial to the search. Family lore can help too!

For example, knowing that Aaron's family [widow Catherine and kids] was in Hamilton Co., IN during most of the 1870s was helpful. The 1880 census placed them back in Hamilton Co. [Eldest son James, a blacksmith, at least was in Indy for 1778-80.]  James next shows up in Indianapolis in the 1913 directory [1911-12 are missing].

Knowing that he was in Peru or Tipton, IN through the early 1890s, steered me away from Indy. Various records [birth, marriage, veterinary college, directories, census, federal employment ] gave me his location until 1911, when he was transferred back to Indy.

It takes a variety of records to complete a story!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

City Directories

City directories are a fantastic source for researching urban ancestors. Some locales publish rural or suburban directories as well. I have utilized directories for cities of various sizes: Chicago, Muncie,  Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Covington, Newport, Marion, Peru, Shelbyville and others - mostly in Indiana and the Cincinnati area.

The format is fairly routine: names are, of course, alphabetized. With each entry you will find the given name, occupation, residence (whether the person is the householder [h] or boarder [b]), and in some cases the place of employment. If a woman is widowed, then (widow of _____) will be entered.

You may also find advertisements for a relative's business. Streets are listed in the back of the directories with house/business numbers and residents/owners. [You can find out which relatives lived nearby!] There is a list of abbreviations near the front of each directory.

Check the town or city of interest to see when the directories were published. Directories may be missing for some years., World Vital Records and some other sites offer a limited number of directories. Most libraries will have copies on microform or the actual directories.

If you are researching Indianapolis-based ancestors, Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis [IUPUI] has a superb digital collection of city and suburban directories beginning with 1855 and running to 2001. You can do a keyword/surname search or simply flip through the pages.

If your ancestor is not in the directory, check the next few years earlier and later. He/she may have been missed.

Once the ancestor stops showing, you can assume that they moved, died, or in the case of females - remarried. I have seen one entry that stated that the person returned to Ireland!

Entries had probably reached the age of majority at his/her first listing.

Don't let the occupation mislead you. A person may be listed as a laborer one year, a carpenter the next and then as a mechanic. Focus on the specific - he was probably a carpenter. [Early on, a mechanic was someone who worked with his hands.] Mechanic, as in auto mechanic, wouldn't be common until cars became commonplace.

Location can help you with relationships. Same address? Probably family. Folks with a common surname [rare, unusual or limited number] are probably related. [This does not apply with Smith, Jones, Lee or entries with 25 or more of that surname.] Surnames that frequent a given neighborhood are likely family.

City directories are a valuable resource, fun and interesting to examine.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What new information was gleaned from Sylvester Crail's State Soldiers' Home Application?

Prior to acquiring a copy of Sylvester's application, which was made by written request to the ISSH, I knew his service record, date & place of birth, etc. I was hoping for some new details into Sylvester's life and his family's.

What I learned:
1] He was living in Carmel. Hamilton Co., IN in 1897.
2] Sylvester arrived in Indiana at age 12 & had resided in Marion & Hamilton Co. for 30 years. [That would mean he arrived in Indiana about 1847 & the Hamilton/Marion area in 1867.]
3] He laid claim to two marriages in 1857 & 1886, both in Indy. [That would mean he was off by 10 years on his residency in Hamilton/Marion.]
4] There were 3 surviving Crail kids: Ann E. Lyons [30, California], Sarah [25, Cal.] & John S. [23, Carmel, IN] [Again, he was off on details. They were all about 10 years older than he reported.]

How accurate the details were depended upon Sylvester's recollections. The doctor reported Sylvester suffered from chronic gastritis and was very feeble and unable to work. His memory may well have been affected. Sylvester died the next year at age 63.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Civil War Research: State Soldiers Home Applications

You may have a Civil War vet who spent his final years in a Veterans Home or State Soldiers Home. The veteran would have been required to apply for residency. That application might have some very valuable information for the family historian.

Aaron Crail's eldest brother, Sylvester, found himself in dire circumstances by 1897 and applied for admission to the Indiana State Soldiers' Home in Lafayette, Tippecanoe Co., IN. The following questions were asked on the application. I would imagine that similar questions were asked on the forms for other states' soldiers' homes.

1] full name & age
2] when & where born
3] company & regiment
4] rank
5] were you enlisted more than once? if so company & regiment
6] dates of enlistment
7] where enlisted
8] muster-in date
9] discharge date
10] where discharged
11] honorable discharge?
12] receive pension? how much?
13] nature of disability
14] occupation
15] able to read & write
16] money or property? how much?
17] resident of state?
18] how long? give town, county
19] marital status, when & where married to current spouse
20] age of wife
21] do you wish wife to join you?
22] number of children living, names, ages, PO address of each
23] unable to support self & family?
24] agree to do proper amount of work & obey rules of ISSH?
25] previous application to a Nat'l or State home?
26] discharged from same? reason
27] understand rules, promise to obey them?
28] willing to pay costs of residence?
29] willing to pay to gain residence?

The application was to be notarized and accompanied by a physician's certificate.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Civil War Service Records: follow-up

Yesterday's post detailed Aaron Crail's Civil War service file. Today, I will flesh it out and offer some research suggestions.

Service record highlights:
(1) Company descriptive book card: This is a gem.  In addition to rank, company and regiment, the card gives you the age, height, weight, hair and eye color and complexion of your ancestor. The date, place and term of enlistment is also given.

(2) Company muster, muster-in and muster-out rolls: The date and place of signing up, enlisting and mustering-out [discharge] is given.

(3) Company muster rolls: Every two months a card was added to the file with any or all of the following information: present or absent, stoppage of pay or amount due the government from the soldier, remarks [explains why soldier was absent or present], surname of person filing muster information.

(4) Hospital muster roll: Details on when, where soldier was hospitalized.

(5) Returns: Details on hospital stays.

Aaron Crail  enlisted on 9 March 1864 and was mustered in as a private in Co. I, 124th Indiana Infantry on 17 March 1864. [The same dates and unit as brother John.] Aaron was reported sick while on duty at Cleveland, TN on 5 April 1864. He was hospitalized at Atlanta on 18 August. By January 1865, Aaron had been transferred to Columbia, TN, where he was fit enough to serve on safe guard duty [possibly hospital guard or protecting local citizens]. Over the next two months, he was back in the hospital. By April, Crail had been removed to Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, OH. During May, Aaron was in Louisville, KY [on leave or seeking medical treatment?]. Crail was discharged and sent home on 6 June 1865.

The 124th saw action during the Atlanta Campaign [May - Sep 1864]. Torrential rains fell during the campaign. Aaron contracted, or exacerbated, a case of tuberculosis/consumption during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

Aaron would survive less than three years after the war. He died on 28 March 1868 on his farm near Castleton, IN.

Further research:
(1) Soldiers and Sailors System Database: If you have a name, you can probably find your soldier.
(2) Fold3 has the pension card index for Civil War soldiers [as do other sites]. Use the pension number to order the file.
(3) NARA: Order service and pension files from the Nat'l Archives. [Hiring a genealogist to copy the files may be cheaper than NARA copy fees.
(4) Look up regimental histories on-line.
(5) Check appropriate state archives for enlistment records of soldiers and unit histories.