Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Little Exploring, A Little Shopping, A Little Research

That pretty much describes the past 2 days here in the Saratoga Springs area.  Yesterday we made our way to the center of town,
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where we walked around and checked out some of the local shops and a few well-known name stores, like Eddie Bauer, where we each found some bargains we couldn’t pass up.
We walked around the Historic Congress Park
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and stopped to take a picture of the Historical Society building, the architecture around here is so beautiful.
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After our little tour, we stopped in at the casino for a buffet lunch with our coupons and played a few slots.  My skill with the penny slots continued to outshine Jim’s luck, so with his losses and my gains, we came out pretty even.  All in good fun, we usually put in $20 each so our budget doesn’t get overly extended.
Now for the story of “A Little Research”, most of you know that I play around with genealogy now and then, I’m certainly not a die-hard researcher who follows all the rules and conventions of the discipline.  I get curious about an ancestor and see what I can find out with some casual digging.  I’ve found documents, graves, census, marriage, and other records in several locations across the country, as the mood hits.
Many years ago, my dad was going through some of his family mementos and giving them to my brothers, sister, and myself.  I ended up with a little box containing a carved bone ring.  Inside the lid of the box was written in my grandmother’s handwriting:
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“Ring made by Uncle James Washburn while he was in the Army (Union) during Civil War, for his Father, Reuben Washburn.”
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Since we are going to be touring some famous Civil War battlefields this summer, I thought I’d see if I could find out anything about Uncle James Washburn and the ring.
I’ve discovered that he joined the Union Army in August of 1862 in New York.  He ended up at Gettysburg where he was taken prisoner by the Confederate Army on the first day of the battle, July 1, 1863.  He was taken to a prison in Richmond where he contracted pneumonia and died on December 2, 1863 at the approximate age of 20. He was the oldest child in a large family, my great-grandfather was one of his younger brothers.  James left no direct descendants.
Recently, I found a website dedicated to his regiment and corresponded with the site’s owner.  Turns out he had several transcripts of letters James wrote to his family, as well as this picture:
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Yesterday, I discovered that the New York State Military Museum and Research Center is right here in Saratoga Springs.  Today I took my materials in and got an appointment with a researcher there.
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He produced several books and articles in their collection pertaining to the New York 154th.  I asked for copies of 4 of the articles, so now I have more reading to do.  I’ve been intrigued with learning more about the Civil War since I know about this ancestor.  I suspect there are family connections to the Confederate side as well, but I just haven’t been able to document them.  I’ve been told that my great-great grandmother was a cousin of Jefferson Davis, but I have nothing to prove it, so it’s just a story at this point.
At any rate, it adds a whole new dimension to our visits around the country when I find these wonderful connections!

3 comments:

Janna and Mike said...

It's a record--two blogs in one week!! Mike really enjoyed the subscription to Ancestry.com I gave him--he found long, long ago relatives! Hope you guys continue to enjoy your stay in New York!

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Very interesting, Ellie.
Two blogs in three days, we are honored. Thank you for sharing.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Renea Kappler said...

AWESOME!!! I LOVE hearing about geneology!!! You are doing GREAT! Keep searching and let us know all about it!