My family has a letter written to my great-great grandmother named Susannah McClelland sent to her by a friend or neighbor dated Easter Sunday from Shiloh. The letter mentions a fellow friend that was wounded at Shiloh. That wounded friend came home, got married and was my great-great grandfather named James McDowell. I would love to find the family of the man who wrote that letter. His name was Neiahmiah Thomas. First name may be spelled incorrectly. How do I find this mans family. All 3 were in the central part of Ohio. I would also like to donate the letter to a museum with the guarantee that it would never be sold to a private collector, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
On that second part I'm not exactly sure how you'd be certain they wouldn't sell it to a private collector. I suppose you could have the letter appraised and then donate it to a historical museum (maybe a local one or try for one near where your great-great grandmother was living during the war) on the condition they don't sell it or they will owe you the sum of the appraisal. Though I would probably just leave it at the condition they don't sell it as it probably won't be appraised for very much.
On the first part you'd probably have to go through some genealogy sites to find Mr. Thomas's family
Instead of donating the letter, you could LEND it to a museum. I've seen that in museums from time to time. An item on display will be noted as "on loan from the collection or..." or even "on permanent loan from the collection of..."
Thank you for responding to my inquiry. Geneology is the best idea. I've never gone to any kind of website for this but I think it would be fun to venture there.
As for lending the letter to a museum, that is something that appeals to me. I'd like for it to be on display. It shows the feelings of the average soldier and not an officer. I'd like for it to be displayed and lending is the best way.