Saturday, August 6, 2016

Adding Them Up and Keeping Them Straight

I love my military ancestors.
40th KY Infantry, Co., K

As I look into their faces, I often wonder the thoughts that may have been going through their mind as they left their homes and families; perhaps never to see them again.  The photo above is of Robert H. STEVENS, a veteran of the Civil War, and one who served as a POW.  He also suffered a pain in the side and a broken foot, perhaps from a sudden jar from shells from a cannon.  (information taken from the 1890 Kentucky Union Veteran's Census)

After picking up where my parents left off, I began to discover more and more military ancestors; so many that I began to lose count.  I really wanted to keep a running list of them, and prepared an Excel spreadsheet to do so.

First, I asked Mr. Kerry to give me a list of all of the wars the United States has been involved in, including the years.  In just a couple of moments, he handed me a list.  (Note:  We have been married nearly 39 years.  The trash has been picked up every week during the wee hours of Friday morning -- for 39 years.  Every Thursday, I gently nudge him and ask, "Kerry, do you remember whose coming tomorrow?"  His answer, after pausing to think, "Uh, your sisters?"  Sigh...But, he can remember every war America has been part of.)

I entered those wars and their years across the top of a spreadsheet, leaving a column on the left to enter their names.

Each time I find a new military ancestor, it is easy to insert his/her name on the left, and to write a very brief description in the war column.

I now have added ancestor #169!!  I could never remember all of them without a chart to help me out.

I have also included those who are currently enrolled in the military.

It's just one more way to keep me straight.  Perhaps it can help you, too!


  1. Wow! Your family lines are strongly drawn to military service. Even looking at my collateral lines, I don't think I could come up with more than maybe 30.

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! My family has been here forever, knocking down the trees and paving the way for others to come. My latest find this week was an ancestor who was at Valley Forge!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, dear Marleen! It's my way of honoring them.

    2. Do you also record military service in your genealogy database, assuming that you use one? Can the database generate a report that lists them? I do record it in my Reunion database, but I would need to do some finagling to create a report on the ones who have something in their Military Service field -- doable but needing

      The reason I ask is that I try to use the database to keep all the details together and current. Updating the information in the two places usually means that I'll miss one or the other.

  3. I have all of the major information entered about them in RootsMagic, along with the media of pension files, draft cards, bounty land, etc. All of those are kept in files on Dropbox that I simply pull from to upload to the database.

    This is just an ongoing spreadsheet that I keep to show relatives, nieces, nephews, etc. on a whim. They are fascinated when they see just how many there are on both my side and Mr. Kerry's side. The info on the spreadsheet is very minimal, for it will take me back to the visual records that I have stored in another place.

  4. You've inspired me, Peggy. I always have trouble finding Veterans Day cards in the stores, so I've been using drugstore card-printing services to make my own with photos. This year I think I'll go heavier on the text and include a list of veteran-relatives in the card. We've talked, and heard talk, about them from time to time over the years, but I bet most of our family don't have a full picture. I'll have to use bigger cards! Maybe I'll hear about some others when the cousins get these.

  5. That is a wonderful idea, Marian! I have loved introducing my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to their military ancestors.