The Civil War Research Information is from Ancestry.com's Ancestry Day at Ft Wayne, Indiana. The pictures of Grant and Lee are the results of a Yahoo search. They were taken by an unnamed Washington D. C. photographer.
Start with a plan.
1. Identify the families in your tree that lived in the 1860s'
2. Do you have a specific person in mind or is their a family legend.
3. Make educated guesses about who might have served in the war.
a. Your direct line
c. Cousins and neighbors
4. Look for men born between 1816-1846, (this includes ages between 15-45 in 1861).Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
Start Collecting Records
1. Start with the U.S. Census for 1860 and 1870.
2. Civil War records for your possible soldiers.
a. Enlistment and Service Records
b. Regiment Records
c. Prisoner of War Records Union and Confederate
d. Pension Records
e. Death records
3. Local Histories and Family Histories.
4. Newspapers (illness,injury, p.o.w., death)
Assemble the Story
1. Create a Timeline
2. How did the family change between 1860 and 1870
3. Map your soldier's journey through the war
1. Organize your data
2. Examine your Family Tree
3. Gather likely suspects
4. Check brothers and cousins
5. Union or Confederate, which side did they serve
6. Check out the border states Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and West Virginia
7. Check enlistment records thoroughly for the information you can find
8. Summarize and update the information you have and know
9. Track the battles
Note: You can also check FOLD3 for more information. Don't forget to check Ancestry.com.
Also if you have the desire and the time go to one of the battlefields. I stopped at Gettysburg Battlefield it was an awesome feeling to stand there using your mind's eye and picturing the conflict that had taken place.
There is First Bull Run (First Manassas; Shiloh and Fredericksburg. So many more battlefields in the North and South.
Share this experience with your children and grandchildren or you can take nieces or nephews along, they would surely enjoy the battlefields and being with you. It would be a marvelous experience for them as well as help in their American History class.
Come along the genealogy research pathway and have a wonderful time researching your ancestors.