Step #5: Military Records, fold3.com, etc.
The military records on ancestry.com and also on the fold3.com websites are really, really interesting.
If you have an ancestor who served in the military.
If this is you, then there is a veritable treasure trove of information awaiting you between these two sites that may tell you where they served, when they served, with whom they served, and all sorts of additional details.
If you don’t know if they served, check it out. The results may surprise you.
During the Civil War, one of my ancestors was living in California. I thought he wouldn’t be involved, being so far from the action.
But he served in the California Cavalry, Company A.
Another ancestor was in his seventies, living in Illinois during the Civil War.
Too old, right?
Actually, he served six months as a farrier (blacksmith).
One of my ancestors served in the state militia for Massachusetts during the American Revolution.
The information probably wouldn’t be too revealing, except the first time his widow applied for a pension, the application was denied.
So the attorney in charge hunted down all sorts of people yielding a great deal of evidence regarding when and where my ancestor had served.
Not only was it interesting reading, but it sure made it easier when it was time to go through all the service rolls.
Another ancestor was too young to serve in the Revolution…just ten years old.
Actually, DAR has documented him as a patriot…it seems he hauled water to the American soldiers during the Battle of King’s Mountain. Who knew?!
In another case, one documented DAR patriot actually served in both revolution wars: The American Revolution (1776) and the War of 1812 (1812).
Because these two wars are so far apart, most did not serve in both.
We checked on him in the second war “just in case,” and there he was!
One more example: one ancestor was too young for the Civil War…he was 16 when it ended.
But by continuing my research, I did find his documented service as a scout during the Indian Wars.
It may not have been the kind of “service” we normally look for, but it was significant enough that his widow drew a pension!
So whether your ancestor was too young, too old, or just plain lived at the wrong time…research him anyway.
The results may surprise you!