Category Archives: family

C’mon People Now, Smile on Your Brother

In light of being called a bigot for writing about the Scots Irish, I decided to reflect on the attitude held by some of those whose ancestors never left the homeland toward those of us living in the immigrant melting pot called America.

Students at Ellis IslandLabeling our Ancestry

If your ancestors have lived in a country or region for hundreds of years, you might feel a sense of pride in your heritage. You might resent others who claim that heritage but who were never born in your country, but if you do, you are surely short-sighted, or at least, uninformed. America was populated for the most part by people who came from other countries. Some recently, but many from the 18th century to the massive immigration period of the 19th century. That means we have a short past on the North American continent and are likely to identify with the countries from which our ancestors came. Immigrants

Some like to call themselves Irish, English, Italian, or whatever, but what they really mean is they have roots in those countries. If they themselves were born in America, they are American. They might say they are Irish-American, African-American, or Chinese-American, but if they do, they are only referring to the land where their ancestors were born. This is not meant to defame any native born people. I wish people would not take offense. (Personally, I only say I’m American or sometimes American with Irish roots, or Scots-Irish roots, or Welsh roots, because I can positively trace my ancestors to those countries.)

What This Labeling Really Means

Irish famine immigrantsIt means we appreciate the sacrifices those ancestors made. It means we respect their decision and we understand how much they missed the land of their birth. But perhaps even more important, it means we recognize there was family left behind. Sometimes we long to reconnect what our ancestor was forced to sever, even if we can only do it in a small way.

This sums that up so well: Letter to My Irish Ancestor

What the Labeling Does NOT Mean

Flag of the 89th OVI Civil WarIt does not mean we aren’t proud to be Americans. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that. Ever. We live in the land of the home and the brave, the land so many people come to to seek freedom, the country so many people today depend upon to protect democracy or to bring humanitarian relief all over the world.

American Flag

Lee Coursey

We ARE Americans, first and foremost. But to ignore where our ancestors came from would be to ignore part of ourselves. Some do, of course. They are not interested in genealogy. But many, many others care very much.

We Are Family

Truly the entire human race is connected somewhere along the way. Who can truly say he/she is native? People have moved about since the beginning of time. Can anyone truly hold on to his/her ancestry and say it only belongs to those currently living in a particular country? I don’t think so. And if you think so, I say let’s compare DNA. Let’s start living as though we are all long-lost cousins, because in fact, we are.81fa7-congregationpast350

That’s my view.

The Civil War Trail of my Ancestor, A Case Study

The Story of A Civil War Solider

So many letters exist detailing the experiences of Civil War soldiers. Unfortunately I’ve not been able to find any written by Edward B. Myrick, the Civil War ancestor I’ve been trailing. But that didn’t stop me from trying to find out more about him. He was born in Clermont County, Ohio, in July of 1845. He mustered in with the Ohio 89th Volunteer Infantry, Company F, at Camp Dennison in Ohio near Cincinnati. He was 18, 5′ 6″, light complexion, gray eyes, light hair, born in Clermont County, and was a farmer. This I found in his Civil War Pension File from the National Archives.

The Company History

Camp Dennison where author Cindy Thomson's ancestor mustered in.

Camp Dennison depicted in Harper’s Weekly

I was able to find out what the company Edward was attached to was doing when. This became valuable information when I was trying to patch together his own experience, because for nearly two years he was not with his company. He hadn’t gone AWOL, even though the rolls often listed him as absent.

The company was ordered to Covington, KY, shortly after being organized in August of 1862. They participated in the defense of Cincinnati against threatened attack. When I visited the Roebling wall murals in Covington, KY, with friends this summer, I had no idea one of the mural represented something my ancestor did.

Roebling mural depicting ancestor of author Cindy Thomson

Civil War Soldiers crossing over the Ohio River.

From there they went to Point Pleasant, WV, on October 5, and attached to several other units. They advanced to Falls of the Kanawha, VA, October 10-November 3 and then moved on to Fayetteville Court House until January, 1863. From there they went to Nashville, TN; Carthage, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; and the Tullahoma Campaign June 23-July 7. They were part of the Occupation of Middle Tennessee until August. In late July Edward fell sick. This is where the rolls contained at the National Archives helped me out. (Although in one place it says he was sick in June.) He was in “Convalescent Camp Gallatin, TN.” There was a lot of fighting going on in August in and around Gallatin. You can read about it here.

There were 108 beds at this hospital. He first shows up in Hospital Muster Rolls of the Cumberland USA General Hospital in Nashville, TN, July & Aug 1863, and is listed “sick.” There are 900 beds here. He remains listed there as sick through Feb. 1865. Back in Gallatin the muster rolls listed “1st Battalion of Convalescents.” The Nashville rolls don’t list this. I had to look that up.

What Injured and Sick Soldiers Did While Waiting to Rejoin Their Units

This book: The Encyclopedia of Civil War Medicine By Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein, has some interesting information. Look it up if you want more in depth information, but basically soldiers in these hospitals could be called upon for defense if needed, and were often given nursing duties. They could be furloughed if their recovery was expected to take more than 30 days, but there is no evidence Edward ever went home during this time. I’m not sure I’ll ever know what he was doing during this time or how sick he really was.

The Ohio 89th’s History

In the meantime Edward’s Company moved on to Georgia and participated in many campaigns, including the Siege of Atlanta and of Savannah. When they began the Campaign of the Carolinas, which came after Sherman’s march to the sea, Edward rejoined them, probably in March of 1865. He participated in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C., on May 24, and his company was mustered out and paid at Camp Dennison in June. A regiment is normally 1000 men. A company has about 100. Edward’s regiment lost three officers and 47 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded. They lost five officers and 245 men by disease. A total of 300. I’m not a Civil War expert, but I think they fared better than most. Disease was the biggest killer of men during the Civil War. I have another ancestor who died from disease having not fought at all.

 

Great great grandfather of author Cindy Thomson

My great great grandfather Edward B. Myrick

That’s what I have on Edward so far, except to say that right after the war he moved to Indiana, got married, had children, and died in 1907.

If you have any research that crosses any of this, please let me know!

 

There is a really interesting web site dedicated to the Ohio 89th here. Also I’ve contributed Edward’s complete pension file records on this site. You can find it under “Other Information.”

My First Post

Welcome! 

I’ve been working on a new website, and since it’s just me, myself, and I working on it, it’s taken me a while before I was ready to show it to the world. But here I am, finally, and I’m glad you stopped by!

With my new series with Tyndale House, I thought I needed a new website, and a new blog. A place where I can connect with folks who are interested in what I’m interested in: history, family legacy, Ellis Island, reading, and writing.

Check out the tabs above where you can find my books and where to purchase them, something about me if you’re so inclined, and some other stuff.

I’d love to hear your family stories. Where did your people come from? Do you know a lot or just a little? Would you like to know more?

I’ve been interested in genealogy for some time. I call myself an amateur genealogist, because I’m not professionally trained, and I’m not in the business of tracing other people’s roots for them. I like to hear the stories, and imagine what life was like for those people, and then create fiction. I also have been known to write some “how-to” articles for genealogy magazines. I may not write about your family exactly, but I what I do write might allow you imagine the world your ancestors lived in, what was important to them, how they grew spiritually through their life experiences, and maybe even how that affected you generations later.

What about you? Tell me something. I’m listening! 🙂