Tuesday’s Tip — Forming a Research Plan for Little Eddy

The last two Mondays I have written about Edward Dwyer in the Civil War, Little Eddy the Drummer and Military Monday- Edward Dwyer in the Civil War, continued.  Yesterday I looked at Edward’s Missouri service, using the Civil War cards which I had downloaded from fold3.com when I had a subscription.  I didn’t do anything with the information then, but now I’m trying to use my time without subscriptions (this journey of Genealogy in the Recession) to further my research in other ways and to write my family history.  Last Friday, I highlighted some of the things that I learned in Marian Pierre-Louis’ webinar “”Plan Your Way to Research Success.”  Today, I’m going to begin work on creating a Research Plan for Edward Dwyer — feel free to add your comments or e-mail me at 1footplanted@gmail.com with any suggestions.

The first thing about a Research Plan is to focus on one person — Little Eddy — keep the focus narrow — find out about his military service — and write down what I know:

Edward Dwyer, born 22 May 1847, in Saint Louis, Missouri 1

In 1860 Jeremiah Dwyer and his family were living in St Louis Ward 7, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri.  The household included Jerry, 40, drayman, $3000, $400; Ann, 34; Edward, 12; Mary, 9; Laura, 2.  Edward and Mary attended school within the year. 2

8th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K
mustered in as a private 02 Jun 1862 [age 15]
promoted to musician
discharged 04 Jun 1863, Nashville [age 16]
Patrick Callahan, also resident of St. Louis, same dates 3

7th Regiment Missouri Infantry, Company F
enlisted 29 May 1864, St Louis, musician [age 17]
enrolled for a period of 3 years
bounty due $100, credited 8 ward St Louis
joined as recruit with consent of guardian
mustered in 25 Jun 1864, Memphis
Detached as musician at Gen. Hosp. Nashville Tenn
transfer 04 Dec 1864
11th Regiment Missouri Infantry, Company A
Deserted 30 Sep 1865
Returned from desertion 01 Dec 1865.  Stop one month pay sentence of a G.C.M.
Muster-out 15 Jan 1866, Memphis, Tenn
Clothing Account due soldier $11.77   Bounty paid $180; due $120.
Age 17
Stop one months pay proper sentence of Court Martial.
Stop $5.00 for one drum complete.
Reference to A.W. French 4

1866, Dwyer Edward, student Bryant, Stratton & Carpenter’s College, Olive, cor. 5th 5


1 Baptism record from St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, on microfilm at the St. Louis County Library, Frontenac

2 U.S. Federal Census, 1860. St Louis Ward 7 , St Louis (Independent City), Missouri, page 169; Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2004.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls..  Accessed on Ancestry.com (date unknown).

3Extracted from Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, Vol. 1. – 1861-1865.Leavenworth, Kansas: Bulletin Co-operative Printing Company, Chicago. 1867. http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/statewide/military/civilwar/adjutant/8/k.html Eighth Regiment Kansas Volunteers – Infantry, Company K

4 NARA M405 Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Missouri, Record Group 94, State: Missouri, Roll 0473, Eleventh Infantry, Cr-D; Roll 0441, Military Unit Seventh Infantry, D-Fi. Accessed on fold3.com (date unknown).

5 City Directories for St. Louis, Missouri, 1866. Publisher Edwards Greenough & Deved. Page 340. Accessed fold3.com Sep 2011


Tuesday’s Tip – Websites for Death Information–Free, of course

In my journey of Genealogy in the Recession, I use a lot of websites that are free.  I always used many of them, of course, but I relied most heavily on subscription sites.  My posts about Genealogy with No Budget, free websites and links to websites are among the most popular — I guess there are quite a few people looking to save money but continue to research and write their family histories.  So here are a few more of the websites I turn to often.

This is the website I search first to — surprise — find a grave. There are several other sites, but this one has been around a long time and often has what I need, including, dates, a photo if I’m lucky, and sometimes obituaries, death notices and more, plus information about the cemetery. I always double check all of this information, though. Often it is unsourced, and as we all know, death certificates are sometimes wrong (darn, those sons-in-law!) and I’ve found a surprising number of gravestones with incorrect dates. It’s often a good place to start looking for a death date, however, and then you can search for a death certificate or social security record.

Social Security Death Index, on NEHGS
One of the free databases on NEHGS’ site American Ancestors, you can find out more in last week’s post Thrifty Thursday-The Free Part of NEHGS.

Missouri Death Certificates
One of the free databases on the Missouri Secretary of State website, Missouri Death Certificates is one of the best resources on the internet.  If you are lucky enough to have ancestors/relatives who died in Missouri between 1910 and 1961 (currently), you will definitely want to bookmark this site.

I have found Advanced Search best. Because names may have alternate spellings, make full use of the options “starts with,” “ends with” and “contains.” I have sometimes resorted to searching individual years, with or without a county, in really tough cases. You may need to try just the first or last name (I hope you’re not searching for Mary Jones or John Smith).  I have found death certificates for Mrs. X X — her first name was not mentioned anywhere!

Remember when searching death certificates that the individual may have died in a hospital, which could have been in one of the big cities rather than within their home county.  Note that even though Saint Louis is an independent city, searching St Louis county does return results for both city and county.  I have often been very glad for that.

Other online Death Certificates

FamilySearch has many Death records, some only indexes, some images.  Here is a  list of Birth, Marriage and Death Collections by state.  No further collection filters are available so you have to look for the death records; those with images have a picture of a camera next to them but not all of these are certificates.  Be sure to check out collections for states you are interested in as there are some browsable collections (no index) and new information is added all the time.  Here are some with images.

FamilySearch also has the U.S. Social Security Index online.  “Name index to deaths recorded by the Social Security Administration beginning in 1962. Current as of May 31, 2012” (as of this writing).  They say there are also a few from 1937 to 1961.

Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records
One of Joe Beine‘s great sites is another place to look for possible free records.

New York City Death Records Search, 1891-1948
This database from Italian Genealogical Group is an index only, but it may have information that you can use.

This list is not exhaustive, of course, but I’ve found it very useful in my research.  If there are websites that you would recommend, please add them here in a comment or e-mail me at 1footplanted@gmail.com

Tuesday’s Tip – Stop and Summarize

With the free access of Revolutionary War Records available recently on Ancestry.com as well as currently available on fold3.com,* I have been accumulating quite a bit of information and images.  It is a challenge in racing through to find records while the databases are available to strike a balance in using your time efficiently.  How much of the information do you need to incorporate into your own tree right now?  How much can wait for later?

With my journey in Genealogy without a Budget, I am still working to find that “perfect” balance.  I try to put the pieces together, at least in my mind, to figure out what additional information might be available from these free databases.  A Research Log would probably be helpful with this, but I have not been good about using them.  I am looking forward to the free Legacy webinar “Plan Your Way to Research Success” by Marian Pierre-Louis on Wednesday, July 18.

However you go about deciding what to look for in the free databases, at the end of each day, or each session, you need to summarize what you have done, what you have found, what you are still looking for.  When the free period has ended, summarize again.  This time, make sure that you have a to-do list of what you need to do with all the information you found.  For example, you may need transcribe the images, add dates and places to your tree, determine how this new information fits with what you already know, determine what information you still need.

At the very least, before you take a break to recover from your sprint through the free databases, make sure you know what you have found.  List the databases that you searched, list the records you found in each one, make sure you have the proper sourcing.  In Windows Explorer (Windows 7), look in your Recently Changed folder and make a list of images that you have saved and any documents that you may have created from the information.  Evernote is a good place to keep your lists.

It is tempting to say, wow, that was a lot of work, I need a break — and walk away from all of your new-found goodies.  But you’ll be glad that you took a little time to summarize your work.  Then when you come back to it, you will be ready to tackle your to-do list, find out what amazing breakthroughs you made and write a narrative about your ancestor.  Then those free databases will truly have been worth the wait!


*Access to fold3.com’s Revolutionary War Collection is free through July 15.

Tuesday’s Tip – Useful Websites, Genealogy Tools

When working on your genealogy, do you find that there are certain calculations that you do over and over?  Are there words that you have to look up?  Are there forms that you like to use?

These are some of my favorite websites — I have their bookmarks in a folder called Genealogy Tools:

This website has a number of calculations that I find extremely helpful, including the following:  Age Calculator, Birthdate Calculator, Cousin Calculator, Day of Week Calculator, Easter Holiday Finder and Inflation Calculator.

I have these 3 from the site bookmarked separately:

Tombstone Birthday Calculator
Often gravestones give the date of death and the age in years, months and days.  Use this tool to calculate the birthday.

Day of the Week Calculator
This tool is especially helpful when working with newspapers.   Notices in the paper often give a day of the week that an event occurred but not the actual date.  Use this tool along with the date of the newspaper to calculate the event’s date.

The Inflation Calculator
This calculator works for years 1913 to 2011.

This calculator’s range is 1800 to 2010.


Index of Old Occupations
This is a site from the United Kingdom.  There are additional links here that you may want to explore.

Latin Words for Genealogy
Included here are some basic terms found on Baptism, Marriage and Burial documents

English Equivalents of Foreign Given Names

Behind the Name:  the etymology & history of first names

Genealogy Charts & Forms
Here you will find all kinds of downloadable charts and forms, including U.S., U.K. and Canadian Census forms with column headings you can actually read!

Genealogy Relationship Chart

WolframAlpha computational knowledge engine
Ask a question, such as when is Good Friday 2013?   Enter a math calculation; try the image input.  I haven’t used this site much yet but it looks like it has a lot of potential!

Best of all, all these websites are free!  I hope you find them useful.  Do you have any you would like to add?  Please leave a comment or e-mail me at 1footplanted@gmail.com.