Back in May I saw a article on Yahoo about Ancestery.com. It stated that they were going to be putting 3 Million + military records online for free until D-Day (June 6th).
I remember my Mom telling me that I had a relative that was in the Civil War out of Philadelphia. I emailed her and asked this person's name. She said it was my Grandfather's grandfather and his name was John Bowman.
I went onto Ancestery.com and searched John Bowman, Civil War, and Pennsylvania. To my surprise, there were two loose leaf pages worth of John Bowman's from Pennsylvania. I didn't have much hope.
Two days later I went to my Grandmother's house and asked her about this person. She stated that his name was John M. Bowman, which narrowed my search down to four. She then also stated that she knew he was not a private, that he was a ranked person, which narrowed it down to two. One John M. Bowman was a Captain and mustered in Franklin County. The other was a Second Lieutenant and mustered in Philadelphia. I think I found him.
I then asked my grandmother if she knew what his wife's name was because Ancestery.com had pension records and they referenced the spouse. She said she thought it was Mary. I found a John M. Bowman with a spouse of Margaret. I asked my grandmother and she was about to come tell me that it may have been Maragaret Mary. When I opened the picture of the document, it was the same regiment that was mustered in Philly -- the 90th. I FOUND HIM!!!!
Over the weekend my Mom called me all excited. I asked her what was up and she said that she just found my great-great-grandfather's discharge papers. She said there were also papers promoting him to Second Lieutenant. I will get a chance to see them tonight....
Digging into the past and especially your own ancestors is very interesting.
That free Ancestery.com access was pretty nice, I already had my GGGF's CW records but through that, I found him listed in the big book of exchanged prisoners, it had his regiment listed wrong (he had been seriously wounded) and included his "signature" (he could only make his mark) but he was there and I hadn't seen that before.
As a note to everyone the National Archives raises theire rate on CW records a week from Monday so get your requests in now. I just requesed my other GGGF and his brother's record that I had been procrastinating about and eagerly await their arrival.
I too use ancestry.com frequently as well as the nps soldiers/sailors website. Basically feel its a good addition but question sometimes its accuracy as in its content. Was wondering how accurate ancestry.com is? Any comments. Some hits have come back indicating an ancestor was killed in a certain action when his unit didn't participate in that area at all.
I did not have any problem with Ancestory.com, although I think that the search engine could have been a little better. When I was searching, I found two loose leaf pages worth of John Bowman's from Pennsylvania that were in the Civil War and I did not see any way of minimizing my search.