McManus, Stephen. Civil War Research Guide: A Guide for Researching Your Civil War Ancestor.

Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003.

For many American genealogists, especially for those in the Southern states, and even more especially for relative beginners (i.e., those who haven’t worked back to the colonial era), a frequent early goal is either to identify an ancestor who fought in the Civil War, or to track down a known (or rumored) soldier ancestor of whom little is known other than the name and state of service. For many years, the best how-to book to assist in this quest was Bertram Groene’s Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor, but that’s gone for rather too long without an update, and there are have been number of major changes in research methods for this subject over the past two decades that must be addressed. (more…)

Published in: on 13 March 2013 at 5:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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Smith, Gordon Burns. History of the Georgia Militia, 1783–1861.

4v. Milledgeville, GA: Boyd Publishing, 2000–1. Hardcover. Index. ISBN 1-890307-32-7. (PO Box 367, Milledgeville, GA 31061 / <>)

There have traditionally been three schools of thought about the antebellum State militias in the South. Some historians have treated them as a joke, a haven for those who wanted only to carouse and get drunk. Others consider it as primarily an paranoid institution organized to enforce slavery. Most historians, however, have simply ignored the militia.


Published in: on 22 June 2011 at 6:36 am  Comments (2)  
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Coldham, Peter Wilson. American Migrations, 1765–1799: The Lives, Times, and Families of Colonial Americans Who Remained Loyal to the British Crown before, during and after the Revolutionary War, as Related in Their Own Words and through Their Correspondence.

Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 2000. 931p., hardcover. Index. ISBN 0-8063-1618-7.

Over the past forty years, Coldham has become a very highly regarded compiler of volumes of information from London’s Public Records Office relating to British emigration to North America. This time he mines the PRO’s vast collection of papers dealing with American Loyalist Claims. (The National Genealogical Society attempted this as long ago as 1980, but they managed to abstract only thirty-seven boxes of papers — out of 150 — before funding dried up.)


Published in: on 8 May 2011 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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Knox, Debra Johnson. World War II Military Records: A Family Historian’s Guide.

Spartanburg, SC: MIE Publishing, 2003. 360p., softcover. Index, illus. $23.95. ISBN 1-877639-91-5. (PO Box 17118, Spartanburg, SC 29301 / Web: <>)

Knox is a professional private investigator and the author of two previous and well-regarded books, Find Anyone Fast and How to Locate Anyone Who Is or Has Been in the Military. In this volume, she attempts a comprehensive guide for both the novice and the experienced researcher attempting to discover information on a veteran of the Second World War. (Though the realization that WWII is now not only history but “genealogy” may be a little unsettling to some of us.) Like the author, I’m an army brat, the son a career officer who saw service in three wars as well as several decades of peacetime assignments. And, as an historian, librarian, and archivist, I naturally went looking for what had been omitted or misinterpreted in this volume.


Published in: on 21 June 2010 at 4:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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