Genealogy 101 - Lecture III
Presented by David Norris
Sponsored by the New Hanover County Public Library
Your Surname, Immigration Records, Military Records
Ancestry.com - “Learn About the Family History of Your Surname” is offered by Ancestry.com at http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/default.aspx . Among other things, you can find the origin of your surname; its US distribution in the 1840, 1880, and 1920 censuses; find how many with that name served on each side in the Civil War.
Federal law didn’t require ship captains to turn in lists of immigrant passengers until 1820. There are some scattered records of passenger arrivals, dating back as far as the Lost Colony (1584-1587) and Jamestown (1607).
A few passenger lists from 1774-1775 for Wilmington survive. http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/tousa_nsc.shtml
Passenger ships rarely went straight to North Carolina after the Revolution; most immigrants went first to New York, Philadelphia, or another major port.
The New Hanover County Public Library has many useful genealogy books related to immigration during the colonial era.
Some online ship passenger lists:
An extensive list of Virginia resources (including passenger lists), which are useful for finding 17 th and 18 th century Virginians, many of whom have descendants in North Carolina: http://www.genealogylinks.net/usa/virginia/index.html
“Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600s” (includes ships to Jamestown and elsewhere in Virginia, early New England arrivals, and many more links to early ship passenger lists) http://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm
Immigrant Servants Database http://immigrantservants.com/search/simple . Includes 8000 names of colonial-era indentured servants.
The Ship List http://www.theshipslist.com
Olive Tree Genealogy http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/year.shtml This site offers a spectacular range of free passenger lists from the 17th to 20th centuries. You can search by year of arrival, destination, or departure point.
New Bern: Partial list of Swiss and Palatine immigrants, 1709-1711: http://newbern.cpclib.org/research/settlers.htm
Useful National Archives pages:
Main genealogy page: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy;
Immigration records page :http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/immigration
Naturalization records: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/naturalization
Passport records: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/passport
Ancestry.com (available through the New Hanover County Library or by subscription) offers many databases relating to immigration, naturalization, and passport applications.
Castle Garden: 10 million records from , the main official US immigration center from 1850-1892: http://www.castlegarden.org
Ellis Island, the main gateway to American from 1892-1924; their records include names of immigrants, and photos of many passenger ships: http://aolsvc.ellisisland.aol.com
Passenger names are often spelled wrong. Always try alternate spellings; searching by first names; selecting “close matches” or similar options; or “wildcard” searches (i.e., “Sch*” for “Schoenberg”, etc.)
Militia records are not centralized like US or Confederate Army records. Good sources are local history and genealogy books in the Main Library; The Colonial Records of North Carolina; Ancestry.com; and county pages at
Revolutionary War Records
Daughters of the American Revolution http://www.dar.org/library/default.cfm
Loyalists from North Carolina: http://members.aol.com/HoseyGen/NCLOYAL.HTML
Check the DAR Patriot Index (available at the Main Library) for the names of related members and ancestors. You can order a copy of a member’s application paper for $10, which links that member with a Revolutionary War ancestor.
Footnote.com http://www.footnote.com/documents.php has online versions of National Archives collections of Revolutionary War rolls, service records, and pensions.
Heritage Quest (available through the New Hanover County Library) also has online access to Revolutionary War Pension files.
Trevor K. Plante’s article “An Overview of Records at the National Archives Relating to Military Service”, from the Fall 2002 issue of Prologue, is available online at http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2002/fall/military-records-overview.html
Civil War Records
National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System offers a quick search for Civil War ancestors: http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss
The New Hanover County Public Library has the major published resources such as the 15-volume North Carolina Troops 1861-65: A Roster (complete to the 68 th North Carolina so far, it contains detailed unit histories and capsule biographies of each soldier.
The Library also has the essential The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 volumes; known as the “Official Records”) and the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. These are also available online. Visit “The Essential References for Civil War Research” at http://soldierquest.org/essential_references.htm for links to online versions of the Army and Navy “Official Records,” and other useful military resources.
The Library of Congress’ Civil War Maps Collection http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/civil_war_maps has hundreds of maps, including several detailed maps of Wilmington and New Hanover County.
Confederate or Union Army Service Files; and Union Army Pension Applications are at the National Archives in Washington, DC. You may order them online at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/pre-ww-1-records.html A combined service file costs $25.00; a complete Union Army pension file is $75 ($50 pre-Civil War files); an abbreviated “pension packet” is $25. Bounty land warrant application files are $25.
Footnote.com is adding the Confederate Service Files from the National Archives microfilm (NC is almost 50% complete). Footnote’s records include units of the Junior and Senior Reserves, which have not been published in the North Carolina Troops series.
Confederate pension files are held by the individual states; see this list: http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/military/civil-war/confederate/pension.html.
20th Century US Military Records
WWI and WWII records can be ordered from the National Personnel Records Center, at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/index.html
WWI Draft Registration Cards, and other 20 th century records, are at Ancestry.com.
Prepared by David Norris for Genealogy 101 sponsored by the New Hanover Public Library, February 2008
Copyright David Norris 2008