Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just In It For The Stories

I've asked myself how come I love this genealogy thing so much. Why do I sit here at this blasted computer for hours on end trying to fit pieces of some long ago puzzle of a life together?

Most of the people I run into who are passionate about family history tell me they do it as a legacy for their kids and grand kids. I have neither. So why do I do it?

My best guess is that I'm in it for the stories. Just this morning spent four whole hours searching on Footnote for the Civil War records of my Mom's first cousin 3 times removed. Does that sound like the actions of a sane person?! This guys is barely a relative, he's hanging on to the family tree by a thread. Yet I kept digging deeper and deeper.

OK, so his story is kinda interesting. He mustered in the Second Potomac Brigade of the Union Army at Cumberland, Maryland in late August, 1861. He signed up to serve three years but only made it to New Years Eve of that same year before getting shot. He died the next day.

Does this sound like a story to you? Cause it sure did to me! My story-sniffer-outer read HOT on the meter! So off to Footnote I went. Love Footnote... worth every penny.

Seems that the Company got drunk (cause that's sort of what people do on New Years Eve, especially if your are with a bunch of guys and not at home.) One of the guys in his company, Rudolph Luteman, took his rifle and shot and killed my ancestor, James Snider.

The really cool part is that Footnote let me see the letter Leutman wrote to the commanding officer from the holding cell pleading for mercy seven months after the shooting! He escaped a month later. Guess he was tired of being imprisoned.

Funny thing is I see records for a guy with the same name mustering in again in Cumberland, 28 Sept, 1864. Wonder if it's the same guy?

And I wonder if they were neighbors back home? Oh, nuts! Now I have to go look at that 1860 census, and maybe the 1850 and 1840 too. There goes a couple more hours! Will someone please stop me... on second thought, never mind. I do love this stuff.

A View of the beautiful rolling Western Maryland hills.
Eat your heart out, Ireland!

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