Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Visit to Washington, DC. - Family, Friends, Learning & Laughter - Part 5

    Tuesday continues... with more classes in the afternoon where Marie Melchiori treated us to a couple of sessions on military records.  One was about basic military records at the Archives where we learned about the arrangement of the records by the time of service, i.e. Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc.  They may also be broken down further by the military branch and whether officers, enlisted or volunteer members of the military.  See the free Reference Information Paper at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ref-info-papers/rip109.pdf
    After learning the basics about the military we then dived into more detail on one of the most commonly used records in genealogy research - pension records. This covered the records that can be found in the Archives as well as which ones are making it online. 
    We also learned - as I had found out earlier in the day - that once the record makes it online as a digital version it can be difficult to be able to then see the originals.   I had tried to put in a 'pull request' for one of my wife's ancestors in the Civil War and was told that it had made it online on Footnote.com and therefore wouldn't be "pulled".   I had known that the were getting put up on Footnote, but it was good to know that any Civil War Pension files with an index number below a certain range could be found online.
See - http://go.footnote.com/civilwar_records/#record6
    Class was then let out a little early for an optional evening at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library (DAR - www.dar.org ) that would run from 5 to 8 pm.   This would be a great opportunity to not only see the library, but to also have it open exclusively for our group.

    It was a short walk over to the library which is located down the street from NARA towards the White House.  We then had the opportunity to hear from DAR Library Directory,  Eric G. Grundset, who gave us a brief rundown of the library, how things are organized and used and we were set free to explore.
    I had done some preparation at home for this visit by searching the DAR Genealogical Research Database.
See - http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search/
   This allowed me to find out ahead of time which ancestors were found in the digitized application files for membership in the DAR.  I had found an ancestor on my Father's side, John Coon, and one on my wife's side, Martin Harmon in the database.     
    This meant that at the library's computer media center I could look at digital versions of supporting documents and applications that contained these individuals.  You can download a pdf version of the applications from home for $10, but have no chance to see them before buying unless you are at the library.  The "supporting" documents are not part of the application, but can be purchased for 20 cents a page.  If you are at the library you can pick and choose which of these you want to print after having a chance to see them.  
    This can be important because with John Coon, for example, there were over 18 different applications.  Only one of them was a descendant of his son John who I come through, but it was good to look at the others to see what other information might have been included.
    An unexpected moment came when I had a little extra time and decided to see if anyone from my Bybee line might have been a Revolutionary War Veteran.  Three Bybee's came up.  Two of them were names that I knew, but haven't found to be related.  Then there was a John Bybee.   There are three John Bybees in a row in my pedigree - could it be one of them?   As I looked closer, I found that yes, this John Bybee was one of mine.  I couldn't have been more excited as I printed off many of the supporting documents for John as I dashed to the Metro station to head over and meet my brother-in-law for a ride home.
    If Tuesday sounds like fun, stay tuned for Wednesday...