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Thankful Thursday- George W. Alexander’s Civil War Service

George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record
George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record, Part 1. (Click to enlarge.) 
George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record, Part 2. (Click to enlarge.)

George W. Alexander’s business card (See previous post Wordless Wednesday- George W. Alexander) states he was in Company M, 4th New York Artillery, which was part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. Trying to find his Civil War record, or any proof of enlistment, has been, well, trying.

So is the above record actually for “our” George W. Alexander?

George W. Alexander (1847-1915) was born in Frankfort, Germany, per this enlistment record, and the census records for our known George indicate Germany as his birthplace as well. 

The known George immigrated in 1862 per the 1900 census, or 1863 per the 1910 census, so may have joined the Union forces in New York because his port of entry may have been in that place. Immigration to the US decreased very dramatically during the Civil War, so it is interesting that George would have immigrated in 1862. (Note to self: research what was going on in Germany in 1862 to maybe find clues of his reason for immigration.)

The above enlistment record provides quite a lot of information, including that this George W. Alexander was enlisted April 21, in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 21 by Capt. O’Connell for a 3 year enlistment; his occupation was listed as a soldier. He had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion, and was 5’8″ tall, relatively tall for that time.

The date written at the top of the page for the enlistment records was 1868, so it was too late to really participate in Civil War action. This enlistment record states he was discharged 08 Jun 1869. We have not found information on where our known George Alexander was during 1868-1869, so that is another puzzle piece to find- it might prove that this is not “our” George W. The age does align though.

George was a telegrapher at one point in his life- possibly while in the Army?

I have searched all the sources below over the years and recently, plus many more, and still cannot find records or pensions to prove Civil War service for ‘our’ George W. Alexander. Of course, it doesn’t mean that he did not serve, as there are other family members that did serve yet we cannot find records.

So the search will continue to find more details, but for now, thank you, George, for serving your new country in such a horrible war that made the US whole again.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) His entry in the 1910 US federal census states he was a Veteran of the Union Army. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 11, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_816; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0172; FHL microfilm: 1374829. Accessed 03/19/2014 on Ancestry.com.

2) National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database- no George Alexander, or George W. Alexander, was found in this unit. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/index.htm, accessed 03/19/2014.

3) Civil War Archive- Regimental histories. Does not list soldiers, but notes the 4th Reg. Heavy Artillery was organized Nov. 1861-Feb 1862 in NY, and left for Washington DC 10 Feb 1862. The unit protected the DC area until March, 1864, and was at Appomattox Courthouse on 09 April 1865 for the surrender of Lee and his Army. The unit was honorably discharged on 16 Sep 1865. The unit had lost 116 men killed and mortally wounded in service, and lost 338 by disease. http://www.civilwararchive.com/Unreghst/unnyart1.htm#4threg, accessed 03/19/2014.

4) FamilySearch Wiki was used for background and sources in which to search. https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/4th_Regiment,_New_York_Heavy_Artillery, accessed 03/16/2014.

5) Researched NY Militia units, and there was no 4th Regiment. Sources include http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/NYSM1861.htm, accessed 03/17/2014.

6) There was a 4th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery unit in the National Guard. These enlistments were for 30 days, and the men were mustered in 20 Jun 1863 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and mustered out 24 Jul 1863. I have been unable to find a listing of these soldiers, but they should all be listed in the NPS Soldiers and Sailors Database.

7) US Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 on Ancestry.com, accessed 03/19/2014. Searched New York records and some Missouri- no persons have a preponderance of evidence to indicate they are the George W. Alexander in question.

8) Alexander Family History on Ancestry- name origins, links to all Alexander military records, etc. http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=alexander, accessed 03/19/2014.

9) 4th Artillery Regiment (Heavy), NY Volunteers Civil War Newspaper Clippings- no George W. Alexander found. https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/artillery/4thArtHvy/4thArtHvyCWN.htm, accessed 03/19/2014.

10) Fold3.com search for George W. Alexander- 37 hits, none fit well with the know facts of  ‘our’ George W. Alexander.

11) 1900 US Federal Census, George W. Alexander as head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 10, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 893; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0153; FHL microfilm: 1240893.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Mystery Monday- Those Places Thursday-WW1 and Citizen Historians- SOLVED!

Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923.
Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923. (Click to enlarge.)

This large image (previously published on my January 16, 2014 post: Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians) was in with the old photographs of the McMurray family. Although that post was not about the mystery of the photo, we are excited to have finally solved the puzzle of which ancestor may be in the photograph, and how it came to be.

There was nothing on the image to identify it, but we had an ROTC certificate that was in the same group of papers and photos. We thought that it might be Edward A. McMurray in the photo, though it is hard to tell which he is. Edward was an M.D., and would have been the right age to have been in training during World War I. We did later find out that this was taken in Fort Snelling, Minnesota in 1923.

Years ago I contacted SLU Archives to find out more about Dr. McMurray’s medical training, but I got very minimal information back from them. So the find of the St. Louis University (SLU) Yearbook for 1925 online was exciting, since that is when Dr. McMurray completed his training at St. Louis University Medical School. He was listed as a Senior and it mentioned that he participated in ROTC. The online access was so much better than trying to have someone there find information about him for me- I could just page through and look at whatever I wanted in the yearbook. Checking out the ROTC pages, I found,

“They’re seasoned veterans. Didn’t they spend last June and July at Snelling in Minnesota? And didn’t they step it off at thirty a minute doing “Squads north and south” with the best of them from seven A.M. right on up to ten, their only halt being for milk and cakes? Rookies? No indeed. And weren’t they kept at that same gruelling [sic] pace every day in the week except Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Sundays? Rookies? Say not so. Campaign badges for them.”

Now that we have pictures of Dr. McMurray when he was in his twenties, we can compare them with this photo to try and determine which man is “The Doctor” as he was known by so many. It will be great to be able to just blow up the image on my computer screen, with known images of Dr. McMurray alongside, to try to identify him. Sure beats the old magnifying glass methods of the old days of genealogy research. That is the next step… stay tuned.

I think I will send the image to the SLU Archives as well- maybe they will put it on their website so that other alumni descendants will find it. The St. Louis County Library system is very interested in genealogy so I may also send it to them since they are a great repository for local St. Louis family history.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) January 16, 2014 post: Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians

2) St. Louis University Yearbook- 1925 found at http://cdm.slu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/historicpub/id/38823/rec/8.

3) Family photos and papers.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

A Little Housekeeping for Feedblitz Users

"We Help Mommy" c 1956
“We Help Mommy” c 1956

If you get our blog via a Feedblitz subscription, please go back in and re-subscribe using WordPress, the default. I have had some problems with formatting from Feedblitz and getting the subscriptions right with the company, so just prefer to revert to WordPress. Sorry for any inconvenience, and I do hope that you will keep reading!

National Tooth Fairy Day- Today!

A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things - purportedly from a poem by Charles Ede. From Wikimedia Commons.
A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is “Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things” – purportedly from a poem by Charles Ede. From Wikimedia Commons.

SPOILER ALERT: This post should only be read by those calloused to the harsh realities of corporeal life who don’t suspend belief for flights of fancy and wonder. It may contain suggestions that confirm Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” but be a rude awakening for those under the age of 12.

I never knew there was such an observation as “National Tooth Fairy Day,” but I suppose the Tooth Fairy should have her own day too, if there is a “National Cookie Day” (Dec. 4), a Johnny Appleseed Day (Mar 11), and even a “Multiple Personality Day” (Mar 5).

What is this topic doing on a family history blog? Well, first of all, blame Thomas MacEntee and his wonderful “Geneabloggers” website that lists such things and transports me down memory lane when I really should be making a trip to Home Depot and the CPA. Secondly, this is the “Year of the Story” per many genealogy conferences and speakers, and telling a story about the Tooth Fairy is just one way that we can be remembered by that third generation from us that normally might only know our name, if even that. It is a way to help future generations connect to us.

I have kept a journal for our son about his life from the time before he was born- not entries every day, but just when I want to share something with him that I think he will enjoy knowing in his later years. I do hope that he reads all the volumes one day and shares them with his children. (I also hope that he and his descendants will be able to read cursive then. Cursive is already almost a foreign language to teens and twenty-somethings!) My sister has done the same for her son, though she is smart- and a good typist (keyboardist?)- so she has typed them for him.

When our son was in 4th or 5th grade, I was chauffeuring a mini-van load of Cub Scouts home from the bowling alley, where they got a back-of-the-lanes tour to learn all about how the mechanisms work, and then they got to bowl a few games to earn their Bowling Beltloop. We were stuck in traffic, and during a lull in the conversation, I heard one of the tired boys pipe up, “So, you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, do you?” My heart stopped for a moment, my mouth started to form words, but I held back as I saw in the rear-view mirror the panicked look in our son’s eyes. All the other boys had older siblings except for ours, so I was afraid to hear what would come next.

A rollicking discussion of preteen male bravado and smarts followed, with our son totally silent on the subject. The existence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were debated hotly along with the Tooth Fairy, and the benefits of each, including what kind of swag was received and the quantity. Science intervened with these smart boys, and our son did chime in on the physics of some of these journeys. Somehow I held my tongue, knowing this was a rite of passage I was witnessing. I also knew that some of the boys had recently been believers, so it was interesting to see how they were processing the information. Being a parent was/is a wonderful psychological and sociological laboratory, and as a Scout leader, I got to witness all my book-learning in many ways. My fear and reactions were a part of this laboratory exercise as well.

The bottom line was that they decided that they believed in the Easter Bunny but NOT Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and we thankfully finally escaped the 5pm traffic jam. I later called each parent to relay the discussion, and then asked our son about what he thought. He told me that he thought the other boys were wrong- they thought they knew everything because they had big brothers. He had seen the Easter Bunny in his room one night, after all, and the Tooth Fairy too. (He did- he really talked to her, all sleepy-like. Somehow I do know that for sure…) I mentioned that one had to believe or those events would not happen. A mercenary nature blended with our son’s rich imagination, and the traditions continued at our house for some years.

Despite a much better knowledge of science and nature, the Easter Bunny still leaves tufts of his cottontail on the floor into our son’s bedroom these many years later, and gifts magically appear under our Christmas tree, although usually before Dec. 24. The annual Easter egg hunt usually reveals restaurant gift cards and dollar bills instead of toys and change, so I guess believing really can make things come true.

So “National Tooth Fairy day”??? Yes, let’s celebrate it and all the other crazy days with stories. Maybe they are meant to make us stop and reflect on how the everyday affects us throughout our life. Maybe they will evoke those sweet memories that should be shared with our children and their children.

I hope that those reading this, and the many more who will never venture to this blog, will write down their precious memories and stories told by their ancestors. It is such a sweet, rich legacy for our future!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Image from Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 2/28/2014.

2) http://geneabloggers.com/genealogy-blogging-events-week-28-february-7-march-2014. Accessed 2/14/2014.

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm. 

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Thinking About 2014 Resolutions

1955_12_Xmas copy
“Gee, Santa!” December, 1955.

Thomas MacEntee has a great post for December 30, 2013, entitled “2014: Putting the “Gee” Back in Genealogy,” at http://geneabloggers.com/2014-putting-gee-genealogy/. In this post with a great leading image, Thomas shares his genealogy goals for 2014, and talks about “Reclaiming the Wonder of Genealogy.” I like how he talks about a kinder, gentler genealogy community too, sort of like in the good ‘ole pre-computer days of a SASE with every query. The article is a good read and provides some food for thought, as do so many of Thomas’ posts. I am definitely a follower of his blogs and always enjoy and learn from his webinars.

 

As an aside, I really like his title because it suggests the ‘proper’ way, i.e., the way I think,  “genealogy” should be pronounced. All those phonics lessons in a midwestern Catholic school would require that first “e” in “genealogy” to be a long vowel- if a short vowel, it would be spelled “gennealogy.” Additionally, since the first syllable is “ge-,” again, Sister Mary Phyllis would insist that “e” be long. It seems these days that the short-vowel “gennealogists” are now out-numbering the long-vowel “genealogists,” and now dictionaries include both pronunciations. (Long “e” first though in all I checked.) So I guess I just need to move on and direct my energies to finding the parents of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885, see http://heritageramblings.net/2013/12/09/mystery-monday-the-murrells-of-virginia-and-iowa/), rather than worrying about pronunciation of my favorite hobby.

 

Happy 2014 to all!