Friday, April 8, 2011

The American Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge--Happy Dance Time

A would like to send a BIG Flipside THANK YOU to Bill West over at West in New England for challenging us to blog about a Civil War ancestor.  While I was working on my blog last night, I decided that I needed to find the links on the net for the listings of two paternal Civil War soldiers for my sources and it lead to a monumental discovery.

I located my two fellows easily enough, by putting their names into the search engine out at the West Virginia Division of History and Culture website.  Then I decided to try my paternal great great grandfather, John Oliphant VanGilder again using "Van Gilder" rather than VanGilder or Vangilder.  How often have we all located a surname simply by tweeking the spelling?  What came up literally sent shivers down my arms.

There, staring back at me from the screen, were two letters actually written by my great great grandfather!  Both deal with the commission of James A. Davis, who apparently was elected as a First Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant on the same day....September 22, 1862.

I notice that my great great grandfather also seems to have an issue with the spelling of his surname using both Vangilder and Van Gilder in the letters.  No wonder I have trouble with it!

A little more investigating on the website and I came up with two service records for John.  One listing his service as Captain with the 76th Monongalia County Militia in 1861 and the second as a Captain with the Company C Monongalia County Militia in 1864. 

I do tend to recheck websites periodically to see if new information has been added.  I had neglected the West Virginia site for some time.....that won't happen again ;-)

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however if they are inappropriate, they will not be published. 

PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2011, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Linda,
    You should teach a course on genealogy, you are so resourceful and informative. Great post. I love his name by the way, it really sings!

  2. I just LOVE it when I find something while blog writing! And, this is a great one! Congrats Linda!!

  3. Wow, what a treasure you discovered! That would send chills down my spine too!

  4. Terrific Research. I couldn't join this challenge as my grandparents first arrived in 1911, but I would be fascinated if I could find out this kind of information in such a critical event in American history. BTW, if you want to read a funny post about our common name check last Tuesday's post at Family Archaeologist.

  5. I know what you mean with the spelling and spacing. I too have VanGilders in my family tree. I have also seen it spelled VanGalder and VanGelder (even with the spacing.)

  6. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.