NEW Civil War Union Grave Site DatabaseMarch 26, 2012 at 3:44 am | Posted in American Civil War Genealogy Resources, Genealogy Websites | Leave a comment
Tags: civil war cemetery finding aide
While at a National Archives workshop on Civil War records recently, I learned of an amazing new project that will help Civil War genealogists find their ancestors’ resting places easier than ever.
After the presentation a gentleman in the audience stood up and identified himself as a member of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. Further, he shared that as part of the sesquetennial
(150th Anniversary) celebration of the Civil War the organization has set out to identify and record the burial site of every one of the Civil War veterans. Wow. They are spending their weekends walking cemeteries nationwide to find our fallen heroes resting places.
But wait! It gets better. Then they are recording those findings in their online database for everyone to use – for FREE. You just gotta love these guys.
Now, not to be partial to only one side, the gentlemen said with great authority that the Confederate Veterans organization is working toward the same goal for their fallen heroes. Both organizations plan to finish their projects by the end of the anniversary period in 2015. He estimated that they are at about 15% completion right now.
Using the Database
Immediately after the workshop, I had to run home and test this new toy out. For years, I’ve known where (city, state) my Civil War veteran died and was presumably buried, but never knew the name of the cemetery. As I quickly learned It was super simple to use. I went to the website, typed in my ancestor’s name, George Watson, and a list of George Watsons was returned. I picked out “my George,” clicked, and I got the above image. It includes basic facts about his service, which helped me confirm that this indeed was “my George,” and low and behold, it lists the cemetery.
What Do You Do with the Information?
My next step would be contacting the local genealogy or historical society to see if they have a volunteer, who might take a picture of the headstone for me. Indeed, they may be interested in the story I’ve accumulated on George for theirfiles.
Further, if it isn’t a proper Civil War headstone or if it is in poor condition, I can make application for a new headstone to be supplied from the Veteran’s Administration – for free.
Alternative Veteran Gravesite Database
My Civil War ancestor, George Watson, died an untimely death away from home. For this reason and maybe others, he was not buried in a national military cemetery, i.e. Arlington, Leavenworth, Riverside. If your ancestor happens to have been buried in one of these cemeteries – regardless of the military conflict – you can probably find the record of his burial in the Nationwide Gravesite Locator sponsored by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
Did you know that the precursor to the Sons of the Civil War Veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic is credited with creating Memorial Day? How fitting is it that we now take the time to find, recognize, and honor those same veterans as they recognized those who went before them.