The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 16, 2011

Women were soldiers in the Civil War

JOAN GRIFFIS
Commercial-News

The adjutant general’s office wrote in 1909, “No official record has been found in the War Department showing specifically that any woman was ever enlisted in the military service of the United States … during the period of the civil war.” This statement was proven to be untrue and much information has been found on female Civil War soldiers in their obituaries.

DeAnne Blanton has written a fascinating account of many such female soldiers in her three-part article in the National Archives’ publication, Prologue, “Women Soldiers of the Civil War,” which can be read or downloaded from http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1993/spring/women-in-the-civil-war-1.html.

Many of these women enlisted to be with their husbands and some were not identified as female until wounded and hospitalized and “discovered.”

Blanton cites several documented examples of female soldiers and concludes, “The women soldiers of the Civil War were capable fighters. From a historical viewpoint, the women combatants of 1861 to 1865 were not just ahead of their time, they were ahead of our time.”

Do any readers have women in the family who served in the Civil War?

New Illinois guide

The Illinois State Genealogical Society is proud to announce the introduction of its new “Insider’s Guide to Illinois Genealogy.” This comprehensive reference for genealogists and historians is a four-page, 8½-by-11-inch laminated guide with more than 130 links to websites covering 26 categories of genealogical research in Illinois. The categories include census research, vital records, adoption, marriage records, wills and probate, cemeteries, obituaries, court records, tax records, immigration and naturalization, land records, maps, military records, church records, Illinois pioneers, archives, newspapers, city directories, mailing lists, genealogical and historical societies, family trees, queries, and more.

This guide includes a helpful timeline from 1699 (when the French settled a mission in Cahokia) to the 1950s (when there were expanded highways and migration to the suburbs). A useful reminder of the general migration patterns (from 1800 to 1920) as well as general research strategies (which remind researchers “that not all records are available online”) help make this reference indispensable for Illinois researchers.

The “Insider’s Guide to Illinois Genealogy” can be purchased from ISGS at $7 postpaid. Order online at http://www.ilgensoc.org or send check along with name, address, and e-mail address (optional) to ISGS, P.O. Box 10195, Springfield, IL 62791-0195.

When ordering for yourself, you may want to consider buying extras for special friends and/or family members. This easy-to use guide will be used again and again and its convenient format makes it handy to slip into a backpack or laptop bag for that genealogical research trip.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing JBGriffis@aol.com