Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Civil War’ Category

Iowa Masonic Library & Museum
813 First Avenue S.E.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52402
319-364-1438

http://grandlodgeofiowa.org/library-2/

As prepared as I try to be for these visits, when we arrive I never seem as prepared as I thought I was. I had emailed ahead and had made arrangements to meet with William R. (Bill) Krueger at this facility. My knowledge of this organization was/is very scant. I brought information about my grandfather who was a Mason. My grandmother was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. I did not understand that these were two separate organizations, so I brought information about my grandmother, as well. I am now more educated.

The building housing the Grand Lodge of Iowa is, in fact, a very grand one, with marble and pillars, wide hallways, high ceilings, stained-glass windows. Very elegant!

Inside we met Bill and he showed me the limited genealogy information on the membership cards housed in the administrative offices. The good news, of course, is that they have these cards; lots of them! This facility is the best resource for this information.

They also have annual reports of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Iowa; many of the early ones (1844-1853) list names of members. They are seeking ways to scan these and make the images accessible.

Then we proceeded to the library, which contains more than 150,000 volumes. It is huge! It is available to the public, however, arrangements should be made ahead of time.

Oh, my! This is an awesome library. The library is so comprehensive that scholars come here to research for major projects! For example, a University of California, Berkeley, business economy major used the library to write his M.A. thesis on how Masonry affected the economy after the Civil War.

Located in Cedar Rapids the library contains typical publications for the area: city directories, railroad conductors reports, opera house programs (1886-1910), and materials for area colleges. The library also features a Civil War collection including a signification Abraham Lincoln collection. I can’t begin to describe all of the items housed in this library; I repeat: 150,000 volumes! Check their online catalog!

My husband is a Landscape Architecture graduate of Iowa State University and we were surprised to discover that this library has the entire book collection of ISU Landscape Architecture Professor Robert Harvey, one of my husband’s favorite professors. Note: this is in the Masonic Library in Cedar Rapids, not the Iowa State University Library in Ames.

So, you never know what you are going to find and where you will find it!

Read Full Post »

Another installment in finding Iowa’s genealogical treasures.

Appanoose County Genealogical Society
PO Box 684
Centerville, Iowa 52544-0684

email: acgs2005@hotmail.com

When I sent an email to prepare for my visit, the response was pleasantly prompt. I was impressed!

Most societies would be very envious to have access to a room like this. However, at one time in the past the spacious room had lent itself to mischief. Probably twenty years ago, the entire microfilm collection was stolen! The current genealogy “brain-i-ac” (description by the librarian at the front desk when we visited) was a dispatcher for the local police department and was doing research for the department when the film disappeared. The police department raised the money to replace the collection! The microfilm no longer resides in the spacious room, but is under the watchful eye of the librarian.

In addition to the film being housed close to the librarian, several valuable genealogy books are stored under the librarian’s desk, out-of-sight of the casual browser.

All that still does not detract from the resources in the genealogy room. I was impressed by the many binders of photocopies of local records. Most of these weren’t transcriptions (prone to possible error), but copies, probably from microfilm, of the records. Yes, researchers could look at the microfilm, but many still like paper! Below is a list of many records reflected in this collection:

    *Adoption Records Index 1850-1926
    *Birth Records photocopies 1880-1934; index only 1937-1981
    *Burial Permits (late 1880s and 1890s)
    *Circuit-District Court Records (microfilm index)
    *Civil War Discharges 1861-1865
    *Death Records photocopies through Book 5 (1935); index only through Book 10
    *Declarations of Intent & Naturalizations
    *Divorce Records 1906-1971
    *Early Pioneer Stores (photocopies of stories from local newspapers)
    *Funeral Home Records (1893-1917)
    *Marriage Records
    *Miscellaneous Early 1900s Bonds (microfilm index)
    *Old Age Assistance Tax Records
    *Persons Subject to Military Duty (1877, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 91, 96 & 99)
    *Postoffices and Postmasters of Appanoose County, Iowa 1846 to 1988
    *Probate Index 1852-1988
    *Veterans Grave Registrations

When I checked the USGenWeb site for Appanoose County, I found that the society has several of the above publications available for purchase.

I saw a book that I wish I had in my library… it would be a good reference book. I’m fairly confident this book has not been digitized because it has been reprinted and is available on Amazon.com for purchase:

    Ingersoll, Lurton Dunham. Iowa and The Rebellion. A History of the Troops Furnished by the State of Iowa… Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott & Co., 1866.

A book that I was not familiar with would make interesting reading, but I wonder about its credibility:

    Kirkland, Frazar. The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes of the Rebellion or the Funny and Pathetic Side of the War. Hillsdale, Michigan: W. E. Allen & Co., 1888.

I enjoyed digging through the shelves here and wished I had ancestors to research in these records. The depth of the county records collection was beyond what I often find as I visit repositories.

Read Full Post »

Camp Dodge
7105 NW 70th Avenue
Johnston, Iowa 50131-1824

Michael W. Vogt, Curator
Iowa Gold Star Museum
515-252-4531
michael.vogt@iowa.gov

Melissa Shaver, Clerk Specialist
Iowa National Guard Center
515-252-4313
missy.shaver@us.army.mil

Bob Betz
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs
Graves Registration, DD214’s
515-727-3441
https://www.va.iowa.gov/contact_us/index.html

My afternoon at Camp Dodge was enlightening! In general (no pun intended), people say, “That is at Camp Dodge.” So, I went to Camp Dodge. In particular, I went to the Gold Star Museum and asked for Michael Vogt, the only name I’ve heard recently associated with genealogy information.

It turns out I had visited here in May 2000, but had forgotten about that visit until after I made my current trip. I had even assembled a notebook of information about Camp Dodge after that visit 13 years ago. Now, as I write this, I am trying to reconcile the information from 2000 with current information and with information presented recently at the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI).

Iowa Gold Star Museum

While waiting for Michael to return from an errand, I walked through the awesome museum. I should have spent more time, but that wasn’t my mission for the afternoon. Dave and I will need to return on a day when we can give it proper justice.

It wasn’t until I was talking with Michael that I realized the separation of the records. I needed to visit three places on Camp Dodge, not just one! Michael explained this to me, but I was so caught off guard (again, no pun intended), I still didn’t really grasp it all. Only after I visited all three places, and reviewed my notebook from 2000, did I begin to understand.

Michael showed me genealogy-type materials located in both their library and in the “back room.”

In the Library, WWI bonus cards for all branches of service fill 103 archival boxes (similar to shoe boxes), which line the top shelf around the upper perimeter of the library. Then, several bookcases contain military history books. One area has county and community histories with information about participation of local residents in the various wars and conflicts.

In the back room he showed me a WPA alpha roster of Iowans in the Civil War. While this contains less information than the bound roster books(1), the roster books are organized by regiment and company, whereas this is in alphabetical order by last name of the soldier. This roster serves as a finding aid for Iowans in the Civil War if the researcher does not know that unit. Once the unit is known, much more information can be located.

He showed me Iowa National Guard personnel cards from ca. 1900 to ca. 1970. Note, these are only for the Iowa National Guard, not other branches of service.

One other thing, he showed me the personnel records for the Iowa State Guard (ca 1942-ca 1947). The people who served in this unit were the ones who kept life going at home, while others were serving elsewhere in the world. These are the people who mowed the grass and did other maintenance work at Camp Dodge, for example. While it seems obvious that someone needed to do this work, I had never thought about a separate group being formed for this purpose.

From the Gold Star Museum building I drove to a nearby building which houses both the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and the Iowa National Guard (IA NG) Records Center.

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs

At the IDVA I met Bob Betz. This office has 685 boxes of Bonus records. In addition, this is where the Graves Registration project is maintained.

Regarding the IDVA, the Code of Iowa, Chapter 35A.5 DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT states: The department shall do all of the following: [selectively chosen]
2. Maintain information and data concerning the military service records of Iowa veterans.
4. Permanently maintain the records including certified records of bonus applications for awards paid from the war orphans educational fund under chapter 35.
8. Maintain alphabetically a permanent registry of the graves of all persons who served in the military or naval forces of the United States in time of war and whose mortal remains rest in Iowa.

To this end, the following may be of benefit for genealogists:

Bonus Records: Beginning with World War I, the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs has paid a bonus to the people who served in the military or to their beneficiary during conflicts. The WWI and WWII Bonus Case Files have been transferred to the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) Archives in Des Moines. The more current records are stored at IDVA in Camp Dodge.

When I explained that neither my husband nor I remember him receiving a bonus, Bob went to the back room and soon reappeared with photocopies of my husband’s application, his DD214, and a computation sheet, showing that he served for 4 years, 23 days and received a $300 bonus. OK, our memory is faulty!

Graves Registration Project: This project began as a 1930s WPA project to identify the gravesites of U.S. veterans buried in Iowa and has continued. Bob, however, told me that he is not sure they get veteran information from all funeral homes. Apparently, funeral facilities are not required to submit the information. So, the information is only as good as what they receive. The records through 1998 contained 275,000 names and microfilmed copies can be found at SHSI and at the Iowa Genealogical Society.

Iowa National Guard Record Center

Melissa Shaver explained her office maintains records for the Iowa Army National Guard (IA ARNG) and the Iowa Air National Guard (IA ANG). She provided a long list of personnel and unit records that included such things as Leave and Earnings Statements, Orders, Morning Reports, and Reserve Training Reports. Records for the Iowa Army National Guard soldiers discharged or separated before 1950 have been transferred to SHSI Archives in Des Moines (including enlistment files from about 1875 to about 1950 as well as pre-1915 correspondence files).

In ALL of these offices, privacy rules prevail. Researchers need to show relationship and have proper documentation before being able to see appropriate records.
——————-
Reference:
(1) Brig. Gen. Guy E. Logan, Adjutant General. Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines: State Printer. 6 volumes.

Read Full Post »

Finding more of Iowa’s hidden genealogical treasures:

State Historical Society of Iowa
402 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, Iowa 52240

319-335-3916

http://www.iowahistory.org

Three of us met with Mary Bennett, Special Collections Coordinator, for a tour of the archives in the Iowa City facility.

My biggest disappointment is that only about 5% of the special collections items are in the online catalog. It is absolutely necessary to check the onsite card catalog. Mary explained that budget concerns, staff reductions, and time constraints simply do not allow for getting everything done. However, be sure to check the online catalog to get a flavor of the kinds of materials in this phenomenal repository: http://www.iowahistory.org/shsi/libraries/collections/iowa-city-center/major-manuscripts-collection.html.

As we walked along the rows of shelving, she pointed out the Ruth Buxton Sayre collection, a name I know well. Ruth, a Warren County resident, became an internationally known advocate for rural women, holding various American Farm Bureau and Associated Country Women of the World positions (ACWW). I would have never thought to look in Iowa City for her collection.

Mary said they have a large collection of women’s organization records and a lot of women’s history.

They have:
many documents items relating to the pioneer experience
an incredible Civil War collection including more than 200 diaries,
many personal diaries and letters,
the materials from many clubs, churches and schools,
approximately 3,000 maps,
biographical materials for many prominent Iowans.

In addition they have a World War II clipping project for which volunteers come regularly to work. So far more than 5,000 pages of clippings have been digitized and can be found at: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/search/collection/wwii.

In 1923 the SHSI and the Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs sponsored an essay contest in which high school students were encouraged to write about their grandparents or their town history. This collection uses 22 storage boxes. I first heard about these essays in 1979 when I was on the committee for writing our town history book, Milo 1880 to 1980. Our local librarian knew of the collection and travelled to Iowa City to see what might help in our book project.

Mary showed us the fully equipped paper conservation lab that currently has no staff and she showed us damage that was done to materials when a water pipe broke in the basement.

I came away with some big questions. In today’s world how can I or anyone else ever use the valuable materials located in this history-rich facility without adequate online finding aids? Why is the state not digitizing out-of-copyright materials and placing them online as fast as possible? Why is a paper conservation lab sitting empty? Will future generations be able to use these valuable resources?

Read Full Post »

Finding Iowa’s hidden genealogical treasures:

Special Collections and University Archives
The University of Iowa Libraries
100 Main Library
125 West Washington
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

319-335-5921

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/

Staff member, Jacque Roethler, explained to us that this collection includes rare books, manuscripts, and the university archives.

The manuscript collection includes a large variety of items as diaries, Civil War letters, and pioneer documents to Chautauqua, State Hail Insurance ledgers and other business records. Jacque especially encouraged us to use the Resources section of their website to select Collection Guides and Digitized Collections as well as http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/resources/findingaids.html for finding materials. She indicated that we may be very surprised at what we find. For example, if your ancestor was a farmer and purchased hail insurance, he may well be listed!

The world-renown University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop is held on this campus. So, as we were walking through the aisles, it was not surprising to learn this repository collects books by Iowa authors defined as 1) born in Iowa, or 2) lived in Iowa for at least twenty years.

Jacque explained that they are beginning to use Crowdsourcing as a means for transcribing many of their popular collections. The university is digitizing Civil War diaries, letters and other items, then letting interested individuals transcribe them. To access the ability to do this, go to the home page of Special Collections –> Digitized Collections –> Iowa Digital Library –> DIY History. She said they have some users who are very passionate about helping with this project.

The university archives includes Board of Regents items, as well as faculty and staff employment records. Forty-five file drawers contain the latter material, which she said gets a lot of use. To maintain these files, they have a crew of clippers, who continually check area newspapers for university-related articles. In addition they have files for alumni and former students. The collection includes programs from all kinds of university events, i.e., art shows and theater productions to athletic competitions. All things that should be found in an archives associated with an educational institution can be found here.

Jacque said that researchers can use library scanners and save images to flash drives, or they can bring in a camera. She also explained that soon some enhancements will make text fully searchable on their website. And, finally, she indicated donations to their collection are welcome.

Genealogists, do not underestimate the depth of this collection even if you do not have a direct connection to the university!

Read Full Post »

Continuing the series of Iowa’s hidden genealogical treasures:

Mahaska County Genealogy and Historical Library
Nelson Pioneer Farm
2211 Nelson Lane, PO Box 578
Oskaloosa, Iowa

Phone: 641-672-2989 (phone answered year round)

Website: http://www.nelsonpioneer.org

Facility open May through September or by appointment.

I was very fortunate on the day of my visit. Information I had indicated that the facility was open until the end of October. In reality it isn’t. The curator happened to be working outside that morning and contacted the librarian who was able to come help me.

The library has numerous county district court docket books, probate indexes and inventories, which have most likely been microfilmed and are available elsewhere. I saw militia registration books, family histories, area newspaper clippings, such as birth, marriage, and a large collection of obituaries and cemetery indexes along with pictures of the stones at Centennial/Dunsmore and Spring Creek Friends Cemetery. Also, don’t underestimate the military collection which includes Civil War and WWI letters. The shelves include Oskaloosa city directories and phone books as well as pictures and year books for schools and William Penn College/University. Mahaska County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee records, pictures, scrapbooks are found here. Also included are funeral memorial cards from Bates, Garland-VanArkel-Langkamp, and Powers Funeral Homes.

In addition, the library has a large collection of country school records, original cards for WPA cemetery surveys, Quaker yearly meeting minutes, sizeable collection of information on coal mines and some information on underground railroad. I also found early naturalizations, assessors books, and in the back room is a large collection of original newspapers.

There is no computer in this library and apparently the society has not made any plans to digitize anything. The library is not heated during cold weather except when someone has an appointment to visit.

This is an exceptional library that needs greater accessibility, more technology, and more climate control with a stonger emphasis on preserving the collection.

Read Full Post »

Continuing the series of Iowa’s hidden genealogical treasures:

Genealogy Library at the Prairie Trails Museum
Wayne County Historical Society
Hwy 2 East, PO Box 104
Corydon, Iowa 50060-0104

641-872-2211

Website: http://www.prairietrailsmuseum.org
Admission: Adults $5; Jr/Sr High $2; K-6 $1

Hours: depend upon the season; closed during the winter, check website for hours. Also, open by appointment.

This is a great research facility: friendly staff, everything organized and nicely labeled, and a lot of resources to peruse and study.

The first thing that caught my eye in the library was the extensive collection of country school records, some dating to years prior to 1900, though most begin after the turn of the century. The school records are arranged by township, and often they are the teacher’s register identifying the school term, names of students, age, sex, birthdate, attendance record and standing (grade) by subject. The library also has area yearbooks, though many years are missing for some schools.

The library has a collection of birth (beginning 1880) and marriage records (beginning 1851), obituaries (beginning 1890), and cemetery transcriptions (burials 1846 to 1991). The librarians were very pleased to show me their latest completed project: preserving and indexing Probates, Wills and Estates 1851-1925. Awesome!

I estimated that family histories, memoirs, and similar materials filled nearly 16 linear feet.

The library has a nice military section which includes a Civil War ledger (perhaps kept by a company or quartermaster clerk) from Feb 186 to June 1863 with lists of provisions, tools, duty and attendance rosters and deaths; the volume names Capt Carothers, Lt. Malott and Lt. Speer, as well as the enlisted personnel, but does not indicate the unit. The collection includes transcriptions of three Civil War diaries (for Aquilla Stanidfird, Ezra Miller, and M.S. Andrews) and a book 1861-1865 Civil War Veterans, Wayne County, Iowa.

A binder Spanish-American War May 1898 – Nov. 1898, Wayne County Veterans includes a typed copy of an article by Veteran Grant Kelley “Interesting Facts About the Spanish American War” which had appeared in Corydon’s Time Republican newspaper on March 5, 1953. Several three-ring binders and books have information about men and women who served from Wayne County in both World Wars.

Scrapbooks with area newspapers have been indexed. These include newspapers from Corydon (1922-2006), Humeston (1922-2005), Seymour (1890-2005), Allerton (sporadic 1881-2004), Sewal, Lineville (1940s, 1980-2002).

Churches of Wayne County, Iowa was compiled by Ortha Green (pencil date: “1972 or after”). Also, histories of the towns in the county are in the library.

Many photos have been preserved in archival boxes and organized into family, town, and school categories.

Corydon is known for its annual Old Settlers celebration. Materials from these events are kept in this library. Also, some local clubs have donated materials.

While the library has some materials for surrounding counties, the primary focus is Wayne County.

A highlight of the library are the shelves of binders and other information from the Iowa Mormon Trail Association. The trail runs through Wayne County and the land of a specific resident, who has become active in the association and donated many materials to the library. I randomly opened one of the binders and read what a father had written about the death of a child and the family’s destitute situation.

It is unfortunate that this library only has a limited internet presence, and it appears that nothing has been digitized.

However, the library is only part of this awesome facility. For a complete understanding of the history of Wayne County, the researcher also needs to visit the extensive museum. It is outstanding!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »