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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - August 13, 2009


The August 13, 2009, meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library in Edwardsville, Illinois.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.


In the absence of our Treasurer LaVerne Bloemker, Secretary Barbara Hitch presented the financial report for the month of June 2009.

and the financial report for the month of July 2009.

Librarian Elsie Wasser reported that we had received several new items for the library:

New pages (Fort Russell Township) have been added to the Index of the 1900 Census for Madison County. Barbara Hitch is doing the indexing.

The History of the Heron Family by Henry Eugene Heron, 1979, 130 page, unindexed. MCGS member, Kay Kulfinski, graciously loaned her copy of this book to the Society to allow us to reproduce it.

Old Families of Louisiana by Stanley Clisby Arthur, Huchet de Kernion, and George Campbell was donated anonymously. This work consists of 432 pages in two volumes and has a combined index.

August Meeting

On August 13, 2009, Tom Pearson of the Special Collections Department of St. Louis Public Library, presented a program titled Dirty Rebels and Damn Yankees: Researching Civil War soldier Ancestors. Mr. Pearson started his presentation by defining a few technical terms:

A civil war soldier enlisted in a regiment, which consisted of roughly 1,000 men.
A regiment was made up of 10 companies, each of which consisted of roughly 100 men.
A regiment was normally commanded by a colonel, while each company was commanded by a captain.
The ten companies of a regiment were lettered from A to K, omitting J. The letter J was not used because a handwritten I and J look too much alike and can be easily confused. A cavalry troop of 12 companies would add companies L and M.
A regiment was part of a larger group called a brigade, which usually consisted of 3-5 regiments.
The commander of a brigade was normally a brigadier general.
Union Civil War armies were mainly named for the major river in the area in which they operated, i.e., Army of the Potomac or Army of the Cumberland.
Confederate armies were normally named for the geographic areas in which they operated, i.e., Army of Northern Virginia or Army of Tennessee.

Tom stated that finding information about a Civil War soldier involves discovering six key pieces of information:

1. Which Side Was He On?
2. What State Did He Serve With?
3. Was He a Regular, a Volunteer, or Militia?
4. What Was His Arm of Service?
5. What Was His Regiment and Company?
6. Did he survive the war?

Mr. Pearson had a handout that contained a lengthy list of Websites, essential reference books, and basic reference books for Civil War soldier and Regiment research. This list, with the website links can be found at Researching U.S. Civil War Soldier Ancestors

If you should have questions, or would like help with a particularly vexing Civil War question, Mr. Pearson can be contacted at:

This presentation was well received and prompted several questions.