Tracing your Civil War ancestor

Calvin_Mingus_Photo.jpg
Private Calvin Mingus (1827 – 1889), 1st Regiment, Ohio Heavy Artillery
Forty-nine members of the Mingus family fought in the American Civil War, from the four main branches of the family (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina). Some of the Buckeyes were my direct ancestors; others were extended family (first cousins, second and third cousins, etc.). On my father’s side, three of his grandmother’s brothers fought at Gettysburg in the 7th West Virginia Infantry on East Cemetery Hill and my great-great grandfather Aaron Barnhill fought in the Western armies. On my mom’s side, my great-great-grandfather John D. Sisson, an English immigrant, was a drummer in the 51st Ohio regiment.
There are several resources available to help you learn more about your Civil War ancestor, assuming you know his name. If he was a Pennsylvanian, Samuel Bates’ History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers gives a rather complete listing of the soldiers in each formal (and some informal) units, and the corresponding Pennsylvania soldiers index card file at times also lists their height, weight, occupation, place and date of enrollment, etc. The State Archives in Harrisburg has census records, military records, and other pertinent data.
On the national level, the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized resource of more than a million names; simply type in the ancestor’s name and a list of people matching that name will soon appear.
Also, the National Archives and Records Administration can provide pension information and other interesting data.

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