Saturday, May 15, 2010

Iowa Civil War Project

All states who supplied men for the Civil War should have web pages such as the Iowa Civil War Project. It is a special project of the IAGenWeb and worth checking if you have an Iowa Civil War ancestor.

The web site contains the six volumes of Civil War Records for Iowa, the full citation being Iowa, Adjutant General Office. Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organization 1861-1866 Des Moines: E.H. English, State Printer, E.D. Chassell, State Binder, 1908-1911.

There is a list of correspondence, dates, sources and notes. You can explore this further for information pertaining to your ancestor or his unit. The web page contains Letters to Headquarters, such as Rock Island Barracks May 1864.

If you know your ancestor's infantry, be sure to check out the Infantry, History and Rosters. There is a separate section for Iowa Cavalry, History and Rosters, as well as Artillery.

The entire web page seems rather complex and time consuming, but help is available at the click of the mouse. Toward the top and before Correspondence/Topic/Title you will see "If you want to search all of these records go to the main Civil War page and utilize the FreeFind search engine there."

Not only can you search the site at the main page, but you can also find instructions for joining the Iowa Civil War mailing list. There are links to gravestone photos, more about the regiments, Civil War prisons, photo album, county data and descendant/researcher lists.

Plan on spending time at this web page, particularly if you have more than one Iowa Civil War soldier in your lineage.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

For All Mothers --- Happy Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Both my mother and mother-in-law are deceased, leaving me to be a warmly loved and celebrated person on the special day. I can remember Mother's Day past, such as one when I was about seven years old and bought my mother not one, but several cards. I couldn't make up my mind and having found some change (cards were cheap then) in the family business till, I decided to buy them all. Patiently she opened them one by one, reading the message and I was sure admiring my name scrawled across the bottom.

In 1969 by baby daughter was baptized on Mother's Day. It was a great celebration of three generations as my mother and I posed for pictures with her. She was dressed in a long, white dress and white lace bonnet. She was very petite and out of that bonnet looked dark, brown eyes causing Mom and Grandmother to beam with pride.

This all causes me to wonder how mothers of the past celebrated the day, or if they celebrate it. About 150 years ago Appalachian homemaker, Anna Jarvis, organized a day to raise awareness of the poor health conditions in her community. She called it "Mother's Work Day." Personally I think every day is a mother's work day!

About fifteen years after that Julia Ward Howe, the pacifist, poet and author of the lyrics to Battle Hymn of the Republic, organized a day whereby mothers could rally for peace. When Anna Jarvis died in 1905 her daughter, Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. She lobbied prominent businessmen and politicians. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill proclaiming Mother's Day a national holiday. As Mother's Day became more popular with people sending cards, presents and flowers, Anna Jarvis became enraged. In 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop Mother's Day and before she died in 1948 confessed that she regretted having started the tradition.

Personally, I think Mother's Day is great and also a day to reflect on the lives of our ancestral mothers. My mother was born in 1914, the year Mother's Day was created a national holiday. Living in a log cabin in northeast Tennessee, I wonder if they had the money to spend on anything other than the typical meal that my grandmother prepared. I do know they were a loving family and the love carried down through the generations.

We should remember our prairie mothers and reflect on how they rode in covered wagons or walked alongside them, as their families moved from one location to another. Sometimes that location was a great distance, taking weeks and months.

When the wind blows to extremes here in Nebraska, I ponder on the pioneer women who lived in sod houses and dugouts. Sand and dirt blew in the cracks propelled by wind that never seemed to cease The howl of the wind had to drive them to near insanity. They had no close neighbors and probably existed only for the sake of their husband and children. The stamina of some was worn thin and they found their surroundings intolerable.

There were mothers who delivered babies along the trail as well as burying loved ones. Graves never found or marked and mothers no longer honored, fill my heart with sorrow and also joy. They made all of this possible.

All of the mothers in my lineage ... thank you!