Thursday, May 30, 2013

Carrie Christina Hoch Coffin Plate

Carrie Hoch Coffin Plate
Carrie Hoch Coffin Plate
Carrie Christina Hoch
Died Nov 26th 1900
Aged 18 Years 6 Mos

I had a look in the Ontario Canada Death Records and I found a Carrie Hoch born in 1882 in Fullarton Ontario and died on Nov 26 1900 in Perth County Ontario. More research is needed but I betting this is our Carrie.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Free Acces Until May 31 on Fold3

Search Civil Military - Fold3
The 150th Anniversary of the United States Colored Troops

On May 22, 1863, the War Department issued General Orders 143, establishing a Bureau of Colored Troops in the Adjutant General’s Office to recruit and organize African American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. With this order, all African American regiments were designated as United States Colored Troops (USCT). 

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the USCT, and the National Archives is pleased to announce the completion of the USCT Service Records Digitization Project. In partnership with Fold3, the project provides online access to all service recordsmore than 3.8 million images—of Union volunteers in USCT units. 

From May 22 to 31, the digital collection will be free on Fold3. (All National Archives collections on can always be viewed for free at any National Archives facility nationwide.)

Compiled military service records (CMSRs) are part of Record Group 94, the Records of the Adjutant General’s Office. They contain card abstracts of entries related to an individual soldier such as muster rolls and regimental returns. 

Many CMSRs also contain original documents called “personal papers,” which are especially valuable to researchers looking for documentation on former slaves. These papers include enlistment papers, correspondence, orders, prisoner-of-war memorandums, casualty reports, or final statements. Unique to the records of the USCT are deeds of manumission, proofs of slave ownership, and bills of sale. 

Starting in October 1863, a slave owner could offer his slave for enlistment in military service and be entitled to compensation up to $300 upon filing a valid deed of manumission and release, and making satisfactory proof of title. These forms offer researchers rare information and document the life of a slave person in the absence of other vital records. 

Edmund Delaney was a slave who served in Company E of the 117th USCT Infantry. He was 25 years old when he enlisted in August 1864. Delaney’s owner, Harvey C. Graves of Georgetown, Kentucky, filed a compensation claim for his military service in December 1866. Graves stated that he “purchased [Delaney] at private sale when he was quite a small boy and owned him at the time of his enlistment.” 

The claim form was accompanied by a proof of ownership form to which Graves attached a rare “likeness,” or photo of Delaney, and several of Delaney’s letters written to him while serving in Brownsville, Texas. The letters offer us a rare glimpse into his lonely soldier’s life, especially when he laments that no friends have written back to him: 
“somehow most of them seem to be very much afraid of their pens and ink.”  
The USCT service records also reveal the social issues faced by free blacks, such as the story of Fortune Wright, a soldier of the 96th USCT Infantry. Wright was a free black man before the Civil War began, and he enlisted in Louisiana in July 1862.
On October 23, 1865, a white doctor and another man thought they observed Wright beating a black woman on a street in Jefferson, Louisiana. When they attempted to reprimand Wright, a fight ensued. Wright—fearing for his life—stabbed the doctor, who was beating him with a cane. The doctor died.    

Wright pleaded not guilty at his court-martial trial but was found guilty of murder and sentenced “to be hanged by the neck until dead” on January 5, 1866.

The accused offered his explanation while in prison in New Orleans. He stated that he was approached by an “immoral colored woman” who put her hand on his shoulder and was “acting her willingness to prostitute her person.” The woman told him to give her a dime. Wright said that he didn’t have a dime, and that if he did have a dime, he would give it to his wife. Wright stated that he was angry with the woman for her insulting conduct and language. If she repeated her language, Wright told her, he would slap her. She did repeat herself, and Wright slapped her. 

The two white men appeared on the scene at this point without knowing how the argument began. As Wright walked away, the doctor followed and struck Wright on the head with a walking cane. Wright reeled around and grabbed the stick while the doctor cursed at him to let go. The doctor grabbed Wright by the collar of his coat and then punched him in the face. The second white man yelled to “kill the damned black yankee [since] there is no law for him.” Wright warned that if they both jumped him, he would cut one with his knife. When he was attacked, Wright stabbed the doctor with his knife.

Wright’s captain and his attorney sent pleas for a postponement of the sentence to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby of the Department of the Gulf. They were hoping for time to appeal to President Andrew Johnson for a pardon based on self-defense. 

Several postponements were granted. The series of the documents leading to President Johnson’s final decision reads like the ultimate page-turner. On February 24, 1866, General Canby received a telegram from the War Department in Washington, DC, stating that President Johnson has ordered that “the [death] sentence be duly carried into execution.” A copy of this message on American Telegraph Company letterhead survives in the service record.
Wright was not notified of his fate until the evening before his hanging. A week earlier, Provost Marshal A.M. Jackson was warned in a letter from Eastern District headquarters in Louisiana that “Precaution must be taken that the office of hangman be confided to a capable person so that no disagreeable results may ensue, and that the body be not disturbed until the hangman has pronounced life to be entirely extinct.” 

Jackson’s report of the execution dated the next day describes quite a different scene.

The knot on the rope was not soaped properly and the knot slipped as Wright fell from the platform. Though he was suspended, his neck was not broken and he could still breathe. Wright was taken down and put on the platform a second time. It took fifteen more minutes of strangulation before death took Fortune Wright. Jackson claimed that though the circumstance was “unpleasant,” Wright did not suffer “as he remained insensible from the time of the first fall.”

The stories of the USCT soldiers will be available free to non-subscribers on Fold3 from May 22 to 31, and can be accessed for free at any time on computers at the National Archives.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Freeing the dead…

“In our culture, we memorialize the dead, but we don’t maintain relationships with them,” said Shandaken resident and spiritual teacher Glenn Leisching. “Memorial Day is the only time that we honor them, and it’s just about soldiers. But all our ancestors need to be acknowledged.”


Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend: Remembering My American Uncle

Memorial Day Weekend: Remembering My American Uncle
Peter Gerth. U.S. Army WW1
In honor of Memorial Day I thought it would be nice to post a photo of one of my American relatives in the Military. I have many ancestors and relatives who have served in the Military but as I am Canadian most of them served in the Canadian or British Military.

Here in Canada we tend to think about our Military Ancestors on November 11th, Remembrance Day. Memorial Day is an American holiday but I guess that's one of the great things about the Internet age. We can all get involved in each others holidays.

Peter Gerth was my Great Grandmothers sister's husband. My Grandmother spoke of him as Uncle Peter Gerth. I don't think she met him more than a few times in her life. She could only tell me that he drove a trolley in Gaylord Michigan. So with only that info and this picture I set out to learn what I could.

One of the first things that I found was the 1910 census.  This told me that his first name was in fact Lambert. I guess he did not like the name Lambert. Can't say I blame him. The census also gave me a year of birth and a Country of birth.  

GERTH LAMBERT  23 M W CANADA MI WAYNE 17-WD DETROIT 1910 Series: T624 Roll: 680   Page: 270
Gerth, Lambert, 23 b Can German, imm unkn, NA, conductor
Gerth, Katie, wife,  21 b Can German, imm unkn
Butler, Carrie, mother in law, 53 b Can German, married 30 years, 6 children, 5 living, imm unkn
Ryan, Viola, niece, 7  b Can English

I then found the WW1 Draft Registrations.

WW1 Draft Registrations
Name: Lambert Peter Gerth
City: Detroit
County: Wayne
State: Michigan
Birthplace: Ontario;Canada
Birth Date: 17 Jan 1887
Race: Caucasian
Roll: 2032763
DraftBoard: 26

Now that I know he was born in Ontario Canada I was able to find his Birth Registration and then look for him on a census as a child in Ontario. This work continued with one record leading to another. So lets just say I now know a lot more about Uncle Peter.

Happy Memorial Day Uncle Peter. Thank you for your service 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coffin Plate Of John R Steph??

Coffin Plate

This is an interesting Coffin Plate as it names the parents of the deceased. I have only seen a few that have this kind of info. Unfortunately I cant make out the surname. It looks like Steph???

John R
Son of John N & Anne E Steph???
Died March 3 1864
Aged 11 Months 27 Days

For more coffin plates see