Tracing your Confederate Ancestors
Remember, Confederate ancestry can be found on both paternal & maternal sides of your family, so trace as much as possible!
1. Begin by investing in some form of genealogy tools to record your family tree.
There are several books available such as:
Tracing Your Ancestry Logbook by E. Wilbur Helmbold
Un-puzzling Your Past: The Best-Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy and
The Unpuzzling Your Past Workbook both by Emily Croom
There are also a variety of computer programs available such as Ultimate Family Tree or Family Tree Maker www.familytreemaker.com
You can also hire a private genealogist to work on your family tree for you. If you want to hire a researcher, write to the following address for a list of qualified individuals:
Board for Certification of Genealogists, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
2. Gather your family information such as family bibles, deeds, wills, marriage certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, christening records, etc. Talk with members of your family. Take pictures of headstones. Record as much information as possible with as much detail as possible.
3. If you hit dead-ends, don't give up! If you have a surname(s), try posting a message at www.genforum.com or www.ancestry.com or www.rootsweb.com under the list of surnames for more help. You may try signing up for the mailing list(s) for that particular surname or area as well.
4. If you have family that seemed to have stayed in one particular area, try the library/archives for that County/State. In Virginia, you can find a list of public libraries at this link: http://www.publiclibraries.com/virginia.htm or you can contact that particular county for more information.
The Virginia State Library has excellent resources available both via the internet and at their location. Their website can be viewed at this link: http://www.lva.lib.va.us/.
The Library of Virginia is located at 800 East Broad Street in Richmond, VA. Phone Number-(804) 692-3500. The public reading rooms are available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday-Saturday.
5. Once you have found a Confederate ancestor(s) and have an idea of the unit/regiment in which they served, you will want copies of muster rolls, pension records, etc. If they served in Virginia, you will be able to find most of this information at the Virginia State Library.
Other resources to try are the United Daughters of the Confederacy libraries (www.hqudc.org), the VA Historical Society (www.vahistorical.org) or even the Museum of the Confederacy (www.moc.org). Many researchers do charge fees for their time/service. You may want to try to do this on your own or pay for someone else to do the research if you stumble upon a "brick wall" within your own family tree.
6. If your Confederate ancestor(s) served in Virginia and you know the regiment in which they served, you may also want to look at or even purchase the appropriate Regimental Series for that particular regiment.
The H.E. Howard Co. has commissioned the "Virginia Regimental Histories Series". To see if that regiment is available, please contact H.E. Howard Co. directly at:
H.E. Howard Co.
Rt. 2, Box 496-H
Appomattox, VA 24522
7. Once you have documented your family tree and have found your connection to your Confederate ancestor, remember to share! Share with other family members! Take a copy to that area's library and ask that it be filed for other researchers and/or contact those resources above and ask if they would be interested in copies as well. This preserves your hard work for future generations!
8. Most important tip: NEVER GIVE UP & HAVE FUN!!