Blog
April 23, 2020

Watch: Jewish Confederate Soldiers – Georgia

Jewish Service in the American Civil War: The Solomons Family, originally from South Carolina moved to Savannah before the Civil War, and brothers Abraham Alexander, Lizar, Joseph M., and Moses Joseph all served in Georgia regiments; Louis Merz of West Point, GA, who died during the Battle of Antietam in 1862; Anselm Sterne, also from West Point, who survived the war and was an active member of the United Confederate Veterans; and Joseph Byron Canman – a Union ancestor in the family tree of one of the members of The Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia (JGSG).

Transcript

Adrienne Usher:
Welcome to the Shapell Roster of Jewish Service in the American Civil War. On behalf of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation and my colleagues, Alex and Caitlin, I’d like to extend our thanks to Peggy Friedman of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia, and Jeremy Katz of the Breman Museum. We are so grateful for their enthusiasm, cooperation and tireless effort to promote this event, which is evident by how many of you are here today. So let’s get started.

Adrienne Usher:
Before I tell you more about the Shapell roster, some of you might not be familiar with the organization behind our project, the Shapell Manuscript Foundation. They’re based in Israel, with offices in California. And the foundation is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting original manuscripts and historical documents, with a focus on unique themes in U.S. history and the Holy Land, with emphasis on 19th and 20th centuries. Our research is just one of the many ongoing projects at the foundation. Some of these projects include an exhibition called Mark Twain and the Holy Land, which was at the New York Historical Society until last month. And we have two books in production, one on John F. Kennedy, and another one on Abraham Lincoln, and those will be coming out in the near future. If you would like to know more about the foundation, you can go to www.shapell.org and find out more.

Adrienne Usher:
We are a small team of six, currently located in West Virginia, that’s myself, Montana, that’s Caitlin, Massachusetts, that’s Alex. And then we have additional researchers in Virginia, California and Nebraska. We come from different disciplines, museums, public history, historic preservation, genealogy, art history, and Caitlin is a lawyer with a passion for Civil War history. What we all have in common is curiosity and a dedication to bringing this research to the public. As a side note, if you are interested in volunteering with us, we actually have a handful of volunteers. We’d like to hear from you. And at the end, we will give you an email address you can use to contact us and let us know you’d like to help us out.

Adrienne Usher:
Before I get started on how we got started on this project, I’m going to ask three questions. After each one, I’d like everyone in the audience to use the raise hand feature if your answer is yes. Let’s see if this works. Okay, question number one, how many people here know if they have an ancestor that served in the Civil War? Oh, my goodness, look at that. Wow. Okay, that’s awesome. Excellent. Okay, question number two, how many people aren’t sure if they have an ancestor that served in the Civil War, but their family was in the United States at least before the Civil War?

Adrienne Usher:
Excellent, excellent. Okay. You could put your hands down. Question number three, how many people have heard of Simon Wolf? Wonderful. Let’s see here. So for those of you not familiar with Simon Wolf, he was a prominent Washington, DC based lawyer who was Jewish. If he was alive today, we’d probably call him a social justice warrior, because he was exactly that. He also had a special tie to Atlanta. Another raise hand opportunity, how many of you know about the Jewish Educational Loan Fund? Excellent. Oh, boy. Lots of you guys. Oh, that’s exciting. Okay. All right, next question. How many of you know that it began back in 1876 as a proposal by the President of the national B’nai B’rith to create a Hebrew Orphans Home, which was finally completed in 1889?

Adrienne Usher:
Excellent. All right. And for those of you, Simon Wolf was that President. In 1895, he published a book called The American Jew as Patriots, Soldier and Citizen. In it, he listed nearly 10,000 names of Jewish Civil War soldiers and sailors. And ever since then, that 10,000 number has become synonymous with Jewish and Civil War. It was a limited list, however, comprised of the usual military basics, name, rank and regiment. When I first started on this project nine years ago, I was informed that all the names in Wolf’s roster were Jewish and needed no further research other than to confirm their service information. This is probably a good time to mention that I myself am not Jewish. And having done academic research my entire professional career, when someone tells me no further research is needed, I assume the opposite is true. So when we started seeing clues that some of the names in Wolf’s roster might not be Jewish, I started asking some questions.

Adrienne Usher:
The first seed of doubt was planted by a Massachusetts soldier named Henry Marks, good Jewish immigrant name, right? The problem was, he was brought up on charges for stealing a ham for his own use. Now, like I said, I’m not Jewish, so I asked around, and I was told that dietary restrictions could be lifted during extenuating circumstances. Civil War would certainly qualify as meeting that criteria. And that made sense to me.

Adrienne Usher:
The next anomaly was an obituary for the mother of a soldier named Philip Halpin. The problem was it stated that she’d lived a true Christian life. Again, I asked for guidance, and I was told that marriage and conversion to the Christian faith was not uncommon. That also made sense. But what really convinced me that Wolf was simply engaging in the 19th century accepted practice of name profiling was the following. Wolf listed in his roster, this is just random samples, there’s more, a guy named Carl Moritz, another guy named Gustav Rosenfeld and a guy named C.C. Fleck. Now, I assumed that those are all good Jewish sounding names. The problem is when we did our research, Karl’s full name was Carl Christian Moritz. Gustav’s middle name was Christian as well and C.C. Fleck was actually Christian C. Fleck.

Adrienne Usher:
Okay, last question for hand raising. Raise your hand if there is anyone named Christian in your family tree who’s Jewish. I don’t see any raised hands. Okay. In short, Wolf wasn’t being nefarious or duplicitous, but his 19th century work needs a 21st century upgrade. And our mission is to correct the historical record and provide as best as we can an accurate accounting of Jews who served in the Civil War.

Adrienne Usher:
When it goes live, the Shapell Roster will be a free to the public, online, searchable database of Jewish service in the American Civil War. As an aside, when I say soldier, what I really mean is those who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Air Force, that’s right. The Civil War era Air Force was known as the Balloon Corps. In addition to the regular military branches, we also have a cabinet member and even a few spies. We often get asked, when will the roster be available? I don’t have a definitive date. But the current plan is within the next few years. We’ve spent years on Union soldiers, and we want to make sure that we give the Confederates the same attention. Wolf listed far more Union names, but we also believe that he missed more Confederate names than Union names. So we want to make sure we give the Confederates our full attention.

Adrienne Usher:
Within the database, each soldier will have his own page, which includes, if we have it, his birth and death date and location, a detailed accounting of his military service, the connections, if any, that we know of, between him and other individuals in the database, and you’re going to find out more about that later when Alex is talking. And marriage, residence, occupation details, and historical documents that provide insight into their lives.

Adrienne Usher:
Some of our soldiers, like Edmund Louis Gray Zalinski, get an in depth soldier story treatment. You can view examples of the soldier stories we’ve already written on our website. So if you go to shapell.org, just add a /roster, or you can just find roster in the bar and click on it there. Those historical documents I just mentioned get attached to the soldier’s record when we find something cool about them, or if we need a proof or evidence for something.

Adrienne Usher:
We have two objectives when researching the soldiers. The first one is proof of military service. The second is for the names from Wolf’s roster, evidence that they were in fact Jewish. Excuse me, we prefer primary source documents, which are defined by the Library of Congress as original documents and objects which were created at the time under study.

Adrienne Usher:
So let’s look at examples of primary source documents organized into three categories. That would be military, public and personal. Examples of military primary source documents include the list you see here. We find these at the National Archives, websites like fold3.com and multiple genealogical sites. We build each soldier’s military service history as best we can, given the information available to us and scan and attach records on a case by case basis.

Adrienne Usher:
There are two things you should know about Civil War research. Number one, 21st century research of 19th and early 20th century documents is best described, as one of our colleagues used to say, as shooting a moving target from a moving vehicle. Right now, there are more digitized records available than there were this morning when you woke up. Number two, less Confederate records survived the Civil War than Union records. The ones at the National Archives are what the Confederate States gave to the federal government after the war. We know that other records exist, however, and we are dedicated to finding them. But less records is a problem. We do not want to exclude someone’s ancestor, just because there’s no known proof that he served. So we are currently brainstorming on how to adapt our methodology to accommodate soldiers with no traditional proof of service.

Adrienne Usher:
Allow me to give you an example. One of our attendees here today contacted me earlier this week to tell me that her grandfather told her that his father served in the Civil Waar on the Confederate side. I offered to do some research, see what I could find. And I found a biographical passage written about her grandfather while he was still alive that included the same information that she told me. There’s no reason to doubt the story. But unfortunately, her great grandfather left very few footprints in the historical record. And I haven’t yet found evidence of his service during the Civil War. But this is important, That doesn’t mean he didn’t serve. Sorry about the double negatives. It is important to us that 125 years from now, our research won’t be regarded as similar to Simon Wolf’s. So we will keep working towards an answer on how to get Julius Katz into the Shapell roster.

Adrienne Usher:
Next category, public records. These are usually created by government or business entities. They allow us to track soldiers throughout their lives through the historical record. Something to keep in mind with regards to obituaries. Obituaries are the last opportunity to be the person you always wanted to be. So just remember to take the information in them with a grain of salt.

Adrienne Usher:
And lastly, we love personal records and objects. We find them in Union pension records. We find them in archives, libraries, museums, historical and genealogical societies that have collections, and in private collections. And we are especially, and I mean this sincerely, especially grateful to descendants who share their family treasures with us. There’s something about seeing a signature or looking at an object and feeling that connection to the person connected to that. When we know that they died during the war or died never having married, we often wonder if we’re the only ones who remember them.

Adrienne Usher:
So that wraps up the bird’s eye view of the project, and I’m going to let Alex and Caitlin tell you about some of the soldiers in our database. Thank you so much.

Caitlin Eichner:
Hi, everybody. I’m so excited to be here. So today, Alex and I get to highlight some of our soldiers for you and show you some examples of the type of information and the documents we collect, which will be made available to everyone once our database goes live. We’ve picked soldiers with Georgia connections since most of you are from Georgia, and I’m sure some of you will recognize names and places. First, we have the Solomons family. Simon Wolf included a section in his book called Brothers in Arms, documenting some families who served during the war. We’ve taken that concept and run with it. We traced brothers, cousins, in laws and non familial relationships, like friendships, co-workers, neighbors, among many others. Seeing these personal relationships beyond our soldier service really allows us to have a fuller picture of what these soldiers’ lives were like.

Caitlin Eichner:
In the Solomons family, brothers Abram Alexander, so you can see if you look on the family tree, top left was R. Joseph, M. Moses and Moses Joseph, all served in Georgia regiments during the Civil War. Plus, Moses Joseph’s future son in law Joel or Joseph Levenstein served in Virginia and you can see him down on the right side of the family tree right under Moses Joseph. None of these soldiers were listed in Simon Wolf’s book. We believe he had significantly less records, access to records and fewer sources available to him in the south. So we have already added a lot of previously unrecorded Jewish Confederates and expect to find a bunch more.

Caitlin Eichner:
For those of you familiar with Malcolm Stern’s First American Jewish Families, he included the Solomons families in his genealogies as seen here. But he only acknowledged Joseph Solomons in his survey, but R. Joseph and Moses all served together in first Olmstead’s Georgia infantry in 1861. Mazhar then reenlisted with Abraham in 1st Symon’s Georgia reserves in 1864. The family was originally from Georgetown, South Carolina, which had a significant Jewish population in the early 19th century. And they moved to Savannah before the war. We see a lot of these older Jewish families from the south contributing significant numbers to the cause. It is not uncommon for us to work with families where there are a dozen or more members fighting during the Civil War.

Caitlin Eichner:
There is some of this on the Union side, but a lot of the men we see up north are much more recent immigrants, and they don’t have the numbers living in America at the point the Civil War broke out. Our job is really exciting, but it can also be challenging and sometimes pretty tragic. A lot of the men we invest our time in learning about had hard lives, and some are cut short fighting in the Civil War, killed in action but also dying of disease, exhaustion, starvation. We hope the work we’re doing now in some small way honors those sacrifices.

Caitlin Eichner:
Louis Merz was an immigrant from Bavaria. He came to the United States in 1853 and settled in West Point, Georgia, setting up shop as a merchant. Merz volunteered right at the beginning of the war in the 4th Georgia infantry. His brother Daniel Merz also tried to enlist but was turned away for poor eyesight, so Daniel stayed back and manned their store. Unfortunately, Louis was killed in action at Antietam, which took place September 17, 1862, and which would later be acknowledged as the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. But fortunately for us, Louis Merz was a prolific writer, so we know a lot more about him and what his life was like than we do with most of our soldiers. He kept a detailed diary during his service, which was published in 1959 by the Chattahoochee Valley Historical Society, and he has letters held by the American Jewish archives. Additionally, we have copies of brother Daniel Merz’ letters through a descendant who has been working with us, telling the story of how a comrade gave Louis’ ring after his death to the governor of Georgia, and the governor personally tracked down Daniel to return the ring to him.

Caitlin Eichner:
We collect these resources and use them to find new soldiers, relationships between soldiers, and we’ll make them available for everyone to use and learn about these soldiers once our database goes live. Let’s switch over to Alex here.

Alexandra Apito:
Hi, everyone. I’m going to talk to you about our next soldier, Anselm Sterne. Through Louis Merz’ diary and letters, we know that he and four other Jewish soldiers, Jacob Friesleben, Isaac Heyman and brothers, Levi and Anselm Sterne were friends, all from West Point Georgia, and enlisted together in Company D of the 4th Georgia Infantry.

Alexandra Apito:
Other primary source documents give us additional information about a soldier’s service history, but also a valuable insight into other parts of their lives. Here, we have this great newspaper article written about Sterne. The byline of this article is this article is a fourth in a series of articles about the fathers of real daughters of the Confederacy in this area. The first paragraph of this article reads, “12 year old Anselm Sterne didn’t divide the United States into North and South when he came to America from Germany. But when he settled in America, it was the small Georgia town of West Point and when the Civil War broke out, his love of the town and his friends there made him aware that his South was being brought under fire. He was already a member of a crack company, the West Point Guards. When Georgia seceded on January 19, 1861, the Guards immediately offered themselves to the Confederate government for 12 months. Sterne, with such friends as Louis Merz, an uncle and others in the guards were ordered to Augusta.”

Alexandra Apito:
This article is really great because it tells us not only that Sterne was already a member of the West Point Guards when the war began, but it tells us more about his immigration to the United States, his place of residence before the war, and that he had an uncle that served with him. It also mentioned Louis Merz again, the soldier that Caitlin has just discussed with us, who wrote about his friend Anselm Sterne in his diary.

Alexandra Apito:
From his records, military records, we found that Sterne was appointed a member of the brass band during his service, which is really interesting. And after the war, Sterne moved to Albany, Georgia, where he was a charter member of the Jewish congregation. He then moved to Anniston, Alabama, where he was lay reader at Temple Beth-El.

Alexandra Apito:
Another newspaper article we found titled Hebrews in Vital Roles and Affairs in Anniston also has the same photo of Sterne that you can see here. It’s always so great to find a photograph of a soldier that you’re researching. This article lists Sterne as an early leader of the synagogue in Anniston. Stern also appears on a roster of charter members of the Jewish congregation of Albany from the history of Dougherty County. And a document we always love to find, which we were able to find for Anselm Sterne is his obituary. We were lucky to find it, because not everyone has one, and his obituary states that few men have passed away in Anniston in recent years leaving behind such a large number of devoted admirers, as were claimed by Anselm Sterne.

Alexandra Apito:
As Adrienne mentioned before, an obituary was really the last place that the deceased or their family could present themselves the way that they wanted to be remembered. This lets us know that Sterne was admired and had a lot of friends. But this document also gives us other information, such as information about his funeral services. They were conducted at the Temple Beth-El by Rabbi [inaudible 00:22:19] of Montgomery, Alabama, and also includes other valuable data to us, specifically such as information about his birth, his immigration, his residence at the time of his death. And it also mentions that he served in the Civil War.

Alexandra Apito:
Sterne was an active member in the United Confederate Veterans, and his wife led a chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And these organizations provide us a great way to be able to track guys that were having trouble confirming service for through traditional service records, or if we’re having trouble confirming their civilian identity after the war. And then the document that you can see on the right of your screen is a reproduction of the pledge made by Anselm Sterne to not escape if he was released from a prisoner of war camp while on a working detail in Union hospitals. That’s also really interesting.

Alexandra Apito:
The next soldier I wanted to talk about was Joseph Byron Canman. He’s brought to you by one of our descendants who is in our audience right now, Peggy Friedman. Thank you so much, Peggy. She was instrumental in organizing this meeting today and making everything happen. And she brought us her ancestor. Canman was a union soldier. He served in the 117th Illinois infantry as a fifer, and then as a drummer. And then he was put on special assignment as a clerk for court martial tribunals. He was then sent to the Ordinance Department and finally, the Adjutant General’s department. This is an example of a trend that we often see, which is using Jewish soldiers as clerks, as they often had higher rates of literacy than the general soldiering population at the time.

Alexandra Apito:
One of the main reasons that Canman is a prime example of an outreach success story for us is that without Peggy, we probably would have never known that he was Jewish. He was married in a Methodist wedding ceremony, and as far as we can tell, did not live an outwardly Jewish life. However, he is Jewish through his father, and we would never have known this had Peggy not reached out to us and let us know more of her family history. Peggy also informed us that Canman was really considered the black sheep of the family, and we found this to be true when we found a really interesting tidbit about him. Canman began living under the name of Joseph Campbell in 1878 after the war, because he claimed that he was trying to escape a debt of $4,000 because he had, and also because he had left his family and didn’t want them to find him, so a little scandalous, but very interesting.

Alexandra Apito:
This is a great example of a soldier using an alias after the war, which was more common than you may think. People changed their names a lot during this time period. Again, this is why it’s so important to gather information from descendants who will know more about their own family history, obviously, than we will. We also have many examples of soldiers using aliases during the war. One of the main reasons we have found this happening so far was that soldiers often wanted to hide military service from their families, whether they were underaged at the time of day enlisted, or they just had really protective parents. Many soldiers feared that their families would interfere with their enlistment. And many were afraid that their mothers and fathers would actually show up and drag them home from the war. We have also found a few examples of soldiers expressing that they didn’t want their true name to be published in newspapers if they were to die, because they didn’t want to upset their families with details of their death.

Alexandra Apito:
So we want to hear from you. We’ve been hearing from a couple people in the chat so far, but definitely let us know if your ancestor served in the Civil War. When the Shapell Roster goes live, it will be again free and open to the public. Each soldier will have their own page with documents we’ve gathered from a multitude of archival repositories. If we already have your ancestor, you will be able to access all of these documents we found, and you’ll be able to download them for free. And if we don’t have your ancestor, we would love to do research about them for you for free. So please give us their names and any information you might have about them. And either way, we really want to talk to you.

Alexandra Apito:
So the best way to do that is to email our outreach coordinator, Eliza. Her email’s on the screen eliza@shapell.org, so we can make sure that your ancestors are honored for their patriotic service. So now, we’re going to address any questions that were asked during the presentation. I’m not sure if we have any. But please use the Q&A function at the bottom or the top of your screen. I believe it’s near the hand raise function that you guys were practicing earlier to ask us any additional questions you might have about any of the contents of our presentation or any further questions you guys have. Thanks.

Adrienne Usher:
Okay, excellent. Oh, look at all those questions lining up, okay. You want me to take Peggy’s question?

Alexandra Apito:
Sure.

Caitlin Eichner:
Go for it.

Adrienne Usher:
All right, great. So Peggy asked, is there a list of soldiers on the Shapell Roster, so that we can know if we’re sending you the name of someone that you have already researched? So the answer to that is no but for very good reason in that literally, our list changes daily. So there would be no way for us to-

Caitlin Eichner:
We want to hear from you whether we’ve already researched your ancestor or not.

Adrienne Usher:
Exactly. So we just want to hear from you guys. So Jeremy just asked, I know you still have a lot of research to do, but what is your current tally, both Union and Confederate? So let me start by saying that we’ve been going through the Wolf names, and to date, we’ve already found 800 duplicate names. So that doesn’t mean that they were Jewish or not. Those are just duplicate names, where somebody served in multiple regiments and they’re listed multiple times as individuals. So we have worked really, really, really hard to stay away from what we call the numbers game, because we feel like there are still so many names that we haven’t found, especially on the Confederate side. And once we finish our analysis of Wolf, we’ll be better able to address the number question, but just so you know, right now, Wolf names fall into three categories. They are either Jewish, they are either not Jewish, and there’s a handful of those, or we have a category called Jewish according to Wolf. And what that means is we have not yet found anything to give us direction one way or the other. So until we get all of those names assigned a status, we won’t really be able to address the numbers question. So I’m sorry that was a non answer, but-

Caitlin Eichner:
We’re working on it.

Adrienne Usher:
We are working on it. So Sharon asked, do you plan to connect your database to ancestry.com and other genealogical websites? So I’m assuming most of you all are familiar with JewishGen and JewishGen’s partnership with Ancestry. So what we would, we have discussed this with people at the foundation, and we feel like it’s too early at this juncture to make a decision one way or the other. But my guess is if we were going to do that, we would do it through JewishGen. That seems to be the best way to do that. And I’ve had some conversations along those lines with the people at JewishGen, but I think that but regardless, because our database will be free to the public, even if it stands at me, a standalone, and we don’t end up partnering with Ancestry, you won’t need to worry about having to do a membership fee. So it will still be free.

Caitlin Eichner:
Also, I just wanted to grab Sandy asked a question in the comments section, and I just want to address that really quickly. Sandy asked if we list deserters, and we do, and we don’t judge. We have guys who enlisted and were around for five days. We have guys who deserted after almost four or five years or four years of service. We’re totally non judgmental. If you served a day in the military, you were officially on the rolls, we include you.

Alexandra Apito:
It was very prevalent during the Civil War and a lot more soldiers deserted than you would ever imagine and came back a lot too.

Caitlin Eichner:
A lot, yeah. President Lincoln at one point issued a proclamation allowing deserters to come back. And if you would fulfill the remaining time left on your enlistment period, they’d totally forgive your desertion. So we have a bunch of guys, too, who left at some point and then come back and actually end up fulfilling their service honorably.

Adrienne Usher:
And we also have people who were said to have deserted, which was actually paperwork issues. In other words, if you’re not there at roll call, somebody’s going to assume you deserted. Well, you may have been detached and the guy taking roll call wasn’t informed enough. You could have been in the sick, the hospital.

Caitlin Eichner:
We see a lot of that in the official records, things being corrected later on. There’s a lot of chaos in war. So we also have a question in the comments about how much we’ve used Robert Rosen’s book to help with our research. And we definitely have referenced Rosen. We’re adding to some of his information. He’s been helpful. So we appreciate his work.

Adrienne Usher:
One of the things to keep in mind about Robert Rosen’s work is that when he did his book, the Internet was in its infancy. So the difference between then and now is huge. But we absolutely have been in touch with him. And he’s actually pretty excited about what we’re doing. And so, but one of our very first objectives was to make sure that every name in Rosen’s book has been researched by us and a lot of them were also in Wolf, but some of them that we didn’t know, and so they are now in the database, absolutely.

Alexandra Apito:
Any resource like that, that we can get our hands on, we definitely try to vet and include as much information as we can.

Caitlin Eichner:
Absolutely.

Adrienne Usher:
Looks like next question in the Q&A is from Rebecca. It says was what Jewish soldiers said about slavery markedly different than non-Jewish soldiers? Were there any Jewish religious overtones? And I see a couple of upvotes on that. I’m trying to say-

Caitlin Eichner:
We got a mix, and honestly, it runs the gamut kind of the way. I think the entire American population kind of ran the gamut. We definitely have guys coming over who were [inaudible 00:34:27] in Europe who are fighting their own rebellions and they come over and they tend to be very staunchly anti-slavery abolitionists. It goes against their intellectual belief in equality and access. We also have some Jewish slaveholders, so there is definitely a mix.

Caitlin Eichner:
I think the biggest thing that we found about our Jewish citizens at this period of time that doesn’t always get talked about is there’s a lot of assimilation to the societies they’re living in. And so our southern Jews fought for the Confederacy and some specifically point out and say, “Hey, I don’t believe in slavery, but I believe in my home and this is my home now.” Some of them did have slaves or some of them were more okay with the practice. A lot, most of them we don’t have records on how they felt about it to be honest. But we do have some noted abolitionist types from up north. It definitely runs the range, just like the entire population in the United States at that point.

Alexandra Apito:
Yeah. And just going back to one of the soldiers that I had mentioned during the presentation Anselm Sterne, he specifically in the article that we found written about him, said that he wasn’t really concerned about matters between North and South, but that he was very devoted to West Point, Georgia. And if West Point, Georgia was going with the Confederacy, that’s the way he went, because he was about West Point, Georgia. So again, like Caitlin just said, it was a lot of going with the community that you were in, and wanting to be on that side.

Adrienne Usher:
So let’s see. All right, so Peggy, Peggy asked, which archives have you been to, have we visited for research? Is this an area where you are using volunteers? Yes, ma’am. So remember that part where I said we’re a really small team of six, and we don’t have the ability to travel. And thanks to COVID-19, now we’re not even allowed to so. Yeah, that kind of changes everything. But absolutely, because here’s the thing to keep in mind about archives, libraries and historical societies. They are limited. The smaller they are, the less budget they have. And we know, because I’ve been in the museum world for 25 years, that there are absolutely valuable resources in these tiny museums and archives and libraries all over the country. And they tend to collect the families’ business histories and genealogy histories and whatnot. And so there are tiny towns all over the South, where there were Jewish former soldiers, veterans that were very prominent members of society.

Adrienne Usher:
We would love if you know of a small institution that has collections about these. Absolutely, if you want to go there, then get in touch with us and let us know what they have. I just actually was in Richmond, Virginia, and went to the, let’s see, I’m trying to remember, so it’s the Virginia Museum of Culture and History, which now has a lot of the Confederate records there. And I had the opportunity to go through some records that it was like, wow, there’s all our guys. So yeah, and so I wasn’t able to scan anything at that time but we’ll definitely go back. So the answer is, yes, please reach out to Eliza and let us know where you live and what you want to do. And we will absolutely put you to work at our regiment, 100%.

Adrienne Usher:
Okay, I see one from Megan, my grandfather immigrated in 1864 to Chicago. I think he served in the Civil War, but I’m not sure.

Caitlin Eichner:
So again, definitely email us. Like we said Eliza, E-L-I-Z-A at shapell.org. We will 100% look into it. So tell us everything you got, we’re pumped.

Adrienne Usher:
Peggy had a question about do you have any tips for identifying men with the same name? You know what? I think we should do an entire webinar now that we figured this out about that very topic, because-

Caitlin Eichner:
We deal with this all the time. I was doing it yesterday. And honestly, the biggest suggestion I can say about that is don’t think resources won’t be useful. I had a set of brothers who were in Louisiana and I was trying to confirm if the fourth brother was this Jewish gentleman living in New York City by 1868. And I was digging around and I couldn’t find any reference to family. And suddenly, his naturalization papers had a reference to his earlier application for citizenship in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and it’s signed by one of his brothers once I find Louisiana papers.

Caitlin Eichner:
So it’s a lot of digging. It’s a lot of census work. It’s a lot of directories, which are Adrienne’s favorite reference. She’s the queen of finding people on them. Newspapers are great. Wills are an amazing source for finding family trees. People always think about wills. But a lot of the time, people would lay out their entire family to make sure that their assets would be disposed of to someone related to them no matter when they died. So you’ll get nephews, nieces, brothers, cousins, et cetera. But yeah, we could definitely teach an entire seminar on this.

Alexandra Apito:
And that being said, if you are having trouble identifying someone in your family that has a very common name, reach out to us to help you. So again, definitely email us because we do it a lot. So we’ve had a lot of practice. So definitely let us help you, we would love to help you figure it out.

Adrienne Usher:
And I have confirmed that there are no extant copies of the city directory for New Orleans in Louisiana from 1861 to 1864. And so if anybody finds one, call me. Don’t even-

Caitlin Eichner:
Call Adrienne now, please.

Adrienne Usher:
Looks like Dana asked, have you come across any soldiers from Tuscaloosa, Alabama? Her hometown.

Caitlin Eichner:
I’m going to be honest with you, we have not done a ton of work in Alabama right now. I’m currently in Louisiana. Alex is in South Carolina. So I think yes.

Alexandra Apito:
I would be surprised if we don’t have.

Caitlin Eichner:
I would be shocked if we didn’t have because that was already like a trade town.

Adrienne Usher:
Let’s just say yes. But then don’t ask us who.

Caitlin Eichner:
Come back for that answer.

Alexandra Apito:
Oh, Adrienne, there’s a question Jay had was what was the name of the archive you mentioned in Richmond?

Adrienne Usher:
Okay. So the reason I was kind of stuttering about it is, so there are, so there’s three institutions in Richmond. There’s the newly opened, and I hope I’m getting these names exactly right. I believe it’s the American Civil War Museum. And they have two locations. Then there’s the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. And then there’s the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. So when I went to Richmond, I contacted all of them. And in the process of setting up the American Civil War Museum, they were trying to figure out what was the best place for the records to reside. And by that, I mean that had the best security, the best place for people to view them.

Adrienne Usher:
And I believe, if I’m correct, it was determined that they would be best held at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. They have a large part of the collections are still being processed. And so I was allowed to look at some of them, which was quite gracious of them. But like I said, I wasn’t able to scan anything. But those records aren’t available to the public, because they’re still being processed to make them available to the public.

Adrienne Usher:
Now, I had been in touch with the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum for when we first reached out to them, like six years ago, something like that. And so they had all these records that they said they were processing to make available to the public. And I would check back periodically, and they were never available. What I found out a couple of months ago is that their records are from the origin of the Daughters of the Confederacy. So they don’t actually include Confederate soldier records. So there was no reason for me to go there and look at their stuff. So I actually, a lot of what I was looking at at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture were actually sitting directories of Richmond, and I was just taking iPhone pictures, because then that gives me an idea of who was living in the city. So when we get to Virginia, we’ll have an idea.

Adrienne Usher:
One of the things we might want to mention about the Confederate records is the whole naming convention for the soldiers and the whole IJ issue. Do you guys want to talk about that? How if you see somebody named Jay Levi.

Caitlin Eichner:
It might be I Levi really.

Adrienne Usher:
Yeah.

Alexandra Apito:
It’s the handwriting at the time. It was mixed up a lot of Is and Js. I just had a soldier I was working on last week, actually, whose name I think his name was Isaac Moses and was listed as J. Moses in many documents and I was able to find that it was actually this Isaac Moses.

Caitlin Eichner:
Yeah. And unfortunately, in the Confederates a lot more than with the Union records, they love initials. And it’s like, could you just write his name? Please tell me his full first name. And I don’t know why. But we definitely see that a lot more with the Confederates than the Union, you rarely see just initials. So yeah, it can be tricky. You have to get a little creative. You have to know a cursive F could look like a cursive S that kind of thing.

Adrienne Usher:
Olson S-es.

Caitlin Eichner:
Olson S-es. So we do a lot of work trying to decipher that. German handwriting keys, if you’re working with recent immigrants can be amazing deciphering especially signatures and stuff. We’ve done a lot of that work. So yeah.

Adrienne Usher:
Absolutely. Bert asked a question about what have we found in synagogue archives. It’s interesting. Some synagogues have made their collections available online. I’ve talked to some registrars and some sextons at their synagogues, where their marriage and burial and birth records are in warehouses. And so there’s only six of us, so we’re kind of limited. So, if you happen to know of a synagogue that has-

Caitlin Eichner:
Yeah, if you’re a member of a synagogue that you know has archives or collections, and you want to go look around for us or introduce us to who’s in charge of their archives, that would be amazing. We’ve worked with a synagogue in Richmond so far, a synagogue in Philadelphia. That is definitely one of our major outreach points. Eliza’s been working, contacting a lot of synagogues, because we know they have such rich resources, especially for these guys we can’t find a lot of documentation. Generally, obviously, if they’re hanging out in a synagogue, they’re Jewish, and that’s amazing.

Adrienne Usher:
But yeah, again we can use your help, absolutely.

Alexandra Apito:
We have a question from Howard about South Carolina soldiers and how many that we found in Greenville in particular. So I am currently working in South Carolina, and the names, I can’t give you an exact number yet. It changes literally every day. At least hundreds of soldiers from South Carolina, maybe more. We’re not sure yet. Greenville, I can’t look right now while I’m sitting here, but we have at least a few soldiers from Greenville.

Adrienne Usher:
Is that Tuscaloosa?

Alexandra Apito:
Yeah, exactly. Yes, we have soldiers from South Carolina. And since I’ve been working in the state with the names that we already had, I’ve been able to add tons of new soldiers that Wolf missed in his roster. We have a lot of families that had maybe one brother listed by Wolf, and he had four or five other brothers that also served with him that were missed by Wolf. So we’re adding every day. And we love to see new names. So if you know of anyone else in South Carolina-

Caitlin Eichner:
Yeah, let us know.

Adrienne Usher:
One of the resources that gave me a really good understanding of how it was in the south was there was a diary account and I don’t remember, I don’t believe it was by a Jewish soldier. But they talked about in fact, I know it was a Union non Jewish soldier. And he talked about his regiment coming into Savannah. And how the only males in Savannah at that moment were old, blind and crippled men and males in short pants, i.e. children. And what that visually created for me, was this idea of did you really want to be the only able bodied man in your town who wasn’t in a regiment? And I’m pretty sure that answer is no. So if you have these really large families, and so we’re seeing in families all the brothers, all the fathers, all the uncles, all the cousins, my expectation in the south is within a family that’s going off to work, I would be surprised to find an able bodied male who wasn’t in a regiment. That would surprise me more.

Caitlin Eichner:
The Confederacy had a hefty draft as well. The Union had a draft. It happened. And then it kind of flowed, the Confederate had multiple waves of drafting people. They kept expanding the age limits or the age range of people they were pulling in. And even if you weren’t able bodied to serve, once they figured out you had potentially skills they still want to use, like we have a guy who was in his 40s, he gets drafted, they find out he’s a shoemaker. It’s like he can’t march, he’s not able bodied enough to actually fight. They send him to Richmond to make shoes. So a lot more guys end up getting pulled in to the Confederacy that way than we have on the Union side as well.

Adrienne Usher:
Right, right.

Alexandra Apito:
Are you including men in your list who served during the war in a position other than being a soldier in a regiment? My great grandfather, David Mayer served as a supply officer for the governor of Georgia.

Adrienne Usher:
Right.

Caitlin Eichner:
So I’ve read about David Mayer, very cool guy. That’s awesome. We are currently kind of figuring out how we want to include people like that, if they were officially enlisted into the Confederate Army as a supply officer, so like they worked with the Department of Subsistence, or the Quartermaster Department, and they’re actually officers within those, they definitely are in the database, there’s no question about that. We also have guys like sutlers, whose names we are collecting. We’re really interested in them. We’re in the process of determining how to display them in our database, how to make that information available. We need to do more in the process of researching David Mayer. So if you have more information, and you want to talk to us, we’d love to talk to you about him, because we’re figuring out which of those categories he fits into now.

Adrienne Usher:
And this is purely on a technical level. So we’ve added people like David to our sutler list, so we have sutlers, we have businesses-

Caitlin Eichner:
Blockade runners.

Adrienne Usher:
Blockade runners, exactly. And so again, this also addresses how do we put in soldiers who have no service records into our database. So the way our database is structured is we have to have information about the regiment to fill out the record. So it’s also kind of a technical issue. But what I’m confident of is that David Mayer being a perfect example, we absolutely would love to have the information, and we will, we may turn it into a related to soldier stories kind of thing. We’ve got a lot of ideas about how to share what we’ve collected in terms of stories, not just straight up data. So while we may not have them in our database, we may do a whole treatment of them on the website as the story. So that’s a possibility in the future.

Caitlin Eichner:
Yeah, yeah, we recognize these are important contributions to acknowledge as well. And we definitely want to include them. Like Adrienne said, we’re just in process.

Alexandra Apito:
We have one last question from Jeremy. Did the South have substitutes, as did the Yankees? Yes, the north and the south both had substitutions as something that they practiced.

Adrienne Usher:
Yeah, 100%

Alexandra Apito:
Or to be able to get a little more bounty to serve for someone else.

Adrienne Usher:
Exactly. So, yeah. Okay all right. Thank you, everybody. Have a lovely day. Stay safe. Stay inside. Okay?

Caitlin Eichner:
[inaudible 00:53:40] and contact Eliza and you all talking directly to us. So that would be amazing. We want to hear from everybody.

Alexandra Apito:
We’d love to do more research. Thank you so much, everybody.

Adrienne Usher:
Bye bye, stay safe.

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