Thrifty Thursday – new states added to 1940 Census at has added twelve more states which can be searched for free.  I found out about it from today’s genealogy insider’s blog post.

So I’m interrupting my research plan for Little Eddy to look for my Missouri relatives!  Hopefully I can find my elusive great grandparents:  3 of them have been hiding from me!

The genealogy insider also has links to the full list of states available on as well as on Ancestry.

Hope you enjoy this great information which is available free!


Military Monday- Edward Dwyer in the Civil War, continued

Last week I wrote about Edward Dwyer in the 8th Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment that served in the Union Army during the Civil War:  Little Eddy the Drummer.  Edward served from 02 Jun 1862 to 04 Jun 1863; he was mustered out in Nashville, Tennessee, having turned sixteen on 22 May.  Did he then go home to Saint Louis?  I’m not really sure.  I’ve been going over the records that I downloaded from (now fold3) some time ago.  I remember being excited to find Edward Dwyer, but something must have taken me away from his story.  Now I don’t have access to those records, and it’s frustrating.  But I’m going to try to put together what I have.

First I made a spreadsheet of his service records (I’m a spreadsheet person, if you haven’t guessed.  I make spreadsheets of everything, including clothing purchases, especially on sale and with a coupon!).

Here is the Muster and Descriptive Roll for Edward Dwyer, Musician:

I love the physical description given:  hazel eyes, dark hair, light complexion, and height 4 feet 8 inches!

Occupation Plumber is an important clue that he is my Edward Dwyer as I have later Saint Louis City Directories where he is listed at the same address as his father Jeremiah and Edward’s occupation is given as plumber.

On the Muster and Descriptive Roll, he is 17 years old, and the remarks state “Joined as a Recruit with consent of Guardian.”  I wish that I had these types of records for Edward’s service in the Kansas Regiment when he had just turned 15 years old!

So, looking at the muster rolls, I am immediately faced with a contradiction:

Although both of these cards clearly state that Edward enlisted 29 May 1864 in St. Louis, Mo, the second card states that he appears on Company Muster Roll for Feb 29/64 to June 30, 1864.  Would the muster roll for the entire company show him as an additional enlistment during this time period?  Or was Edward in the company prior to May?

He continues to be on Muster Roll cards for July & Aug 1864 and Sept & Oct 1864.  The next card for Edward Dwyer, Music, Co F, 7 Reg’t Missouri Inf. is a transfer to 11th Mo Infty.  Roll Dated Nashville Tenn Dec 14, 1864; it gives the same enlistment and muster in information as previous cards.

The next group of cards is for Edward Dwyer, Musician, Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry.  The summary card says “See also 7th Mo Inf.”  On the Muster Roll for Nov & Dec 1864: Joined for duty and enrolled May 29, 1864, St. Louis, Mo, period 3 years; absent; Detached as musc. at Gen. Hosp. Nashville Tenn.  Transferred from 7th Mo Inf Dec 4/64 S.O. 153, Gen Canby”

Edward is present on Muster Roll cards for Jan & Feb 1865, Mar & Apr 1865, May & Jun 1865, July & Aug 1865.  The Sept & Oct 1865 card has remarks:  Deserted Sept 30″/65 and lists the supplies missing (I think): one Shelter Tent, one Drum Complete, one Knapsack Haveret [haversack?] one canteen

On the Nov & Dec 1865 Muster Roll card, Edward is again present.  Remarks:  “Returned from desertion Dec 1″/65.  Stop one month pay sentence of a G.C.M.” [General Court Martial]

The last card is a Muster-out Roll, Co A, 11 Reg’t Missouri Infantry, dated Memphis Tenn Jan 15, 1866.  Muster-out to date Jan 15, 1866.  Last paid to June 30, 1865.  Clothing Account:  due soldier $11.77.  Bounty paid $180; due $120.  Remarks:  “Age 17.  Stop one months pay proper sentence of Court Martial.  Stop $5.00 for one drum complete.”

Looking at all of this information, I definitely need to do more research into the Civil War, especially desertion and court martial.  I think that it was not an uncommon occurrence.   I would love to know more about Edward, Little Eddy:  Where did he go?  Was he gone from Sep 30 to Dec 1 (2 months) or only the one month that they stopped his pay?  Apparently he returned with most of the supplies, but what happened to his drum?

Also, when did Edward enlist in the Missouri Infantry?  He was mustered out of the Kansas Regiment 04 Jun 1863 in Nashville.  Did he remain in Tennessee until he joined a Missouri unit, or did he return to his family in Saint Louis?  The Muster and Descriptive Roll says that he enlisted in St Louis, Mo, May 29, 1864, but was mustered in June 25, 1864, in Memphis.  And then, there is the Muster Roll for Feb 29, 1864!

Edward enrolled for a period of 3 years.  He was mustered out of the 11 Reg’t Missouri Infantry, Co A, on Jan 15, 1866 so he did not complete his three years.  Were enrollment periods adjusted once the War ended?

There is also the question of Patrick Callahan, the other musician from St Louis who was mustered into the Kansas Regiment on the same date as Edward and also discharged at the same time in Nashville.  I would like to check the Civil War records to find if Patrick also joined the Missouri Infantry companies that Edward did.

And one final intriguing card, that I must have overlooked the first time:

Who might this be?  And is there any connection to my French family?


National Archives Catalog Title:  Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, compiled 1890-1912, documenting the period 1861-1866
Publication Number: M405
Record Group 94
State:  Missouri
Roll 0473, Eleventh Infantry, Cr-D
Roll 0441, Military Unit Seventh Infantry, D-Fi
Accessed from, date unknown

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

Workday Wednesday – Jeremiah was a Drayman

Draymanthe driver of a dray, a low, flat-bed wagon without sides, pulled generally by horses or mules that were used for transport of all kinds of goods [Wikipedia]

My gg grandfather Jeremiah Dwyer was a drayman in the mid 1800s in Saint Louis, Missouri, according to the 1850 and 1860 census.  Saint Louis directories in the 1860s list him as a porter for Pottle & Bayley in 1864 and then M.L. Pottle & Co in most of the remaining years.

From Kennedy’s 1860 St. Louis Directory:
Pottle & Bayley, (Moses S. Pottle and Romanzo Bayley), com. butter and cheese, 3 and 4 N. Levee

By the 1870 census, Jeremiah is listed as an “R&C mcht” (I think) and I have no idea what this means.  Suggestions, anyone?  The value of real estate given in the 1870 census is $5,000 and personal estate $2,000, which seems like a lot of money.

Jeremiah’s son Edward Dwyer was a student at Bryant, Stratton & Carpenter’s College in the 1866 St Louis Directory, a plumber in 1868 and a student at Bryant & Stratton College in 1869.  The 1870 census lists his occupation as plasterer.

I’m not sure how common it was to go to this type of college or how expensive it was.  I hope someday to learn a little more about their lives during this time period.

But now I’m singing “Jeremiah was a Drayman” to the tune of “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” and I need to get that out of my head!

Mystery Monday – Anna Rooney, county Clare to Saint Louis, Missouri

Last Monday I wrote about the mystery of my gg grandfather Jeremiah Dwyer‘s early life in county Tipperary and his immigration to the U.S.  This week it’s his wife’s turn.  Anna Rooney was born in county Clare about 1823.  Her immigration to the U.S. and her early life in New York City is a mystery, as is how and when she moved to Saint Louis.

The first documented evidence we have of Anna is her marriage to Jeremiah Dwyer in Saint Louis, Missouri, on 27 Sep 1849 at Saint Francis Xavier Church.  Her parents’ names are given:  Patrick Rooney and Elisabeth Young.

As I wrote last week, Jeremiah was a widower with a three-year-old son when he married Anna.  Anna and Jeremiah had seven daughters but only three lived past early childhood.  There may be clues in the sponsors for the children but as of today I haven’t been able to learn any more about them. Their surnames were Dwyer, Young, Burke, Hayden and Hearn.

Most of what we know about Anna and Jeremiah comes from one of their granddaughters, Celia.  Quite a bit is in a letter she wrote to her cousin, my grandmother, in 1962.  Anna lived with Celia’s family for several years before she died, and they had the photograph of Anna above.   My grandmother’s mother, Laura, died when my grandmother was only four years old so she did not remember any stories about her grandparents.

Here is a portion of Celia’s letter:

Our grandfather came from Tipperary.  My mother said he was a very religious man and very good to them.  Our grandmother came from County Clare.  Her father’s name was Rooney, and her mother’s name was Young.  I gathered that the Youngs were well off.  Our grandmother was a twin and her mother and the other baby died when she was born.  She was raised for a few years by her mother’s people, but as they were not Catholics, her father took her to his sister in New York City–where she was raised.  How they both got to St. Louis, I don’t know.

I also do not know if Anna’s father stayed in the U.S. — and I don’t know the name of his sister.  Jeremiah’s death notice in 1875 requested that New York state newspapers copy the notice so it is possible that Anna still had relatives there.  At her death in 1887, only Boston newspapers were requested to copy the notice.

I have not been able to find any information about the Rooneys on passenger lists.  I don’t know what part of county Clare they might have been from.  So Anna and her father Patrick Rooney’s journey to the U.S. remains a mystery.  If anyone has any suggestions as to how to solve the mystery, please comment here or e-mail me at

A free search with a free image led me to a discovery that is priceless!

In my blog post last Friday I talked about following Thomas MacEntee’s advice to search for non-New Yorkers in the New York papers on (this was one tip from his “Finding Your New York Ancestors” Legacy webinar).  I was able to find an article about my granduncle living in Missouri, Horton I French.  So I decided to try another unusual name.

This time I searched for Schuyler French.  He was my great great grandfather’s brother, and they were born in the Schenectady area — so there was a New York connection.  And Schuyler is a somewhat unusual name, although less so in that part of New York.

All the entries seemed to be Schuyler at the end of a sentence and French at the beginning of the next one (Schuyler Street, I think, and then French governess, French dressmaker, etc etc).  But I was persistent.  There were only 66 results so that wasn’t bad.  And I found one blurb of Mrs. Schuyler French of Holla, Mo. (that’s Rolla, OCR can have some difficulty with those old newspapers) visiting her sister — that was in an article for Twenty Years Ago Today; those are always fun.

So, encouraged with this find, I plugged on.  And what I found made me blink several times: Schenectady NY Evening Star and Times, 1861, a letter written by Mr. Schuyler French.

This letter had been written by him in Rockford, Illinois, on 12 Aug 1861, after escaping from Springfield, Missouri.  [For all you history buffs, the Battle of Wilson’s Creek was 10 Aug 1861.]  He described how difficult it was to get out and how his Uncle, Paymaster in the Confederate Army, was able to get him a pass from a Rebel General that allowed him to get through.   He told of leaving everything but their clothing behind and how he had just gotten “a nice lot of new furniture, and had everything as nice and comfortable as could be desired…”

Schuyler’s letter told of the devastation in Springfield and you could feel his contempt for the Rebels.  It was a remarkable look into a life in Missouri in the Civil War.

And then it got even better.

He described what had happened to his brother — my gg grandfather!  “My brother has suffered severely from the southern army.   They took possession of the store the first day they came into Springfield….”  The letter gives a detailed account of it all.

Growing up, I had heard this story, but I heard that both sides had looted the store.  You see, my gg grandfather, Lansing French, was married to a woman born in Virginia, and I’m pretty sure that she, at least, was partial to the Rebel side.  One more look into the divisions caused by the Civil War.  In fact, her mother, my 3g grandmother, would not lower the flag when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated — a story that was handed down in more than one line of the family so you can see how important that Virginian heritage was!

The letter does not tell where my gg grandfather was.  Was he in Rockford, Illinois, with his brother?  The family story is that my gg grandfather took his family to New York and stayed with his brother Alonzo over the winter.  We know that a daughter was born in New York.    At some point, Lansing joined his brother who had a shoe store in Rockford  (that’s the family story again).  But we also know that Lansing was a sutler* in the Second Arkansas Cavalry (organized in Springfield, Missouri) from Mar 1864 to Aug 1865; and was in the city elections of Springfield in Sep 1865.

So there are still more questions to be answered (aren’t there always?!).  But finding this letter was an unexpected gift.

And it was the result of a tip in a free webinar and a search at a free site with images of newspapers that are available free.   What does that say about genealogists?  So many people volunteer their time to further the cause.  And that makes Surviving the Recession that much easier — and that much more special.



*A sutler or victualer is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army  in the field, in camp or in quarters. The sutler sold wares from the back of a wagon or a temporary tent, allowing them to travel along with an army or to remote military outposts. (Wikipedia)

Old Fulton NY Post Cards by Tom Tryniski

This site is one of the best finds ever, and it’s free.  If you haven’t heard of Old Fulton New York Post Cards, you’ll be amazed.  It has post cards, of course, but it also has almost 20 million pages of New York newspapers, dating back to the early 1800s!

I have a lot of ancestors from the Albany and Schenectady areas; and let me tell you there is nothing better than reading about them in the newspapers!  Census records are fine for locating your families and finding out how many kids there were and their ages, and all that.  But reading about their lives in the newspapers is so much better!

The small town newspapers are great.  They have lots of tiny blurbs about people’s comings and goings, their visits to folks, their vacations, and even their illnesses.  The death notices and obituaries are invaluable; weddings can be a lot of fun as well as a tremendous source of information and clues!

But let me tell you about two of my finds, including probably the best one I’ve ever made:

As I said, I had looked though a lot of the newspapers on, had searched a lot of names, and had found a lot of articles.  But Thomas MacEntee’s Legacy Webinar on Finding Your New York Ancestors (a wonderful one, by the way, I highly recommend it) led me to another find.  Thomas has in his research toolbox and recommended it to the webinar attendees.  But then he added an invaluable tip:  Search for names of people who didn’t live in New York; lots of news is picked up in those newspapers.

Using this advice, the first person I searched for was my grandmother’s brother, Horton I. French.  I thought this was an unusual enough name that maybe something would come up.  Having the last name “French” is not an easy search.  I never knew there were so many French horns, so many French bulldogs, French governesses, French maids, teachers, professors, and on and on.

Anyway, I was thrilled to find that there was an entry for “Horton I French.” He was an Episcopal priest, and this was an item about the first marriage he performed, in a church in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in 1935.  It was also the first marriage in this new church and the first marriage for both the bride and the groom.  A story from a small town in Missouri was picked up by several New York papers — and there it was for me!

So a huge thanks to Tom Tryniski and to Thomas MacEntee for making this find possible.  Just Google “Old Fulton NY Post Cards” and you’ll find lots of information on using the site.  The FAQs on are great, too.

Next time I’ll tell you about my best find ever!