Web Sightings: New Jersey Civil War Gravestones

This is the first post in what I intend to be a continuing series I am calling “Web Sightings“, highlighting websites I use in my own research.

New Jersey Civil War Gravestones [link] is an online database of headstone images of Civil War veterans and related service and biographical information aimed primarily at genealogists and family historians. Their mission “is to capture digital images of gravestones of our ancestors who served in the Civil War and are buried throughout New Jersey“.

This website is one of the many independent sites now utilizing software originally developed for the Gravestone Photo Project (GPP) in 2003 to house and display cemetery images as part of the larger Iowa GenWeb project.

More than one million gravestone images have been uploaded to GPP websites as a whole, and more than 12,000 of those images are part of the New Jersey Civil War Gravestones site. Soldiers from both sides of the conflict are included in this New Jersey database, as long as they were buried within the state. Since this is an archive of grave markers, there will be no entry in the database if there is no corresponding headstone image. This is one of the main differences between New Jersey Civil War Gravestones site and the better known cemetery website called Find A Grave.

nj-civil-war-gravestones-main

The site has a Quick Search function, which allows one to input a first and last name, and limit the search to a particular county within the state of New Jersey. This is the default search type, accessible on the site’s home page, or by clicking on Search on the menu bar. There is also an advanced search feature, accessible by clicking Search on the menu bar, then Advanced Search. Advanced search reveals additional parameters including search by record ID, cemetery, submitter information or upload date.

Searching for the grave marker of a service member is straightforward: simply input a name in the search box. I am searching for the surname Carson, so that is the name I used in the example below. If searching for a very common surname, you may want to include a first name and/or county in your search. As a general rule, I always do a very broad search at the outset, and then narrow the search only if I get too many results.

nj-civil-war-gravestones-search-bar

I quickly received a list of eleven Civil War soldiers with the Carson surname buried in the state of New Jersey with gravestone photos contributed to the website.

nj-civil-war-gravestones-carson-search-results

I recognized all five of the Mercer County names; three of these men were brothers, and are part of my extended Carson family from that area. Their information from the New Jersey Civil War Gravestones site appears below.

james-carson-nj-civil-war-gravestonesJames T. CARSON (1836-1910) Co. E, 21st New Jersey Infantry [1]. (Click on his name to go to the featured website.)

perrine carson nj civil war gravestonesPerrine CARSON (1821-1866) Co. I, 38th New Jersey Infantry [2]. Birth and death dates are from my own research, and are not part of his database entry. See my blog post regarding the provisioning of his headstone, part of the Office of Quartermaster General records (RG 92) at the National Archives here. A more legible image of his headstone is on the aforementioned Find A Grave site here.

george carson alias cassner nj civil war gravestonesGeorge H. CARSON, alias CASSNER (1834-1903) Co. F, 38th New Jersey Infantry [3]. Middle initial of H (for Henry) and his birth date is from my own research. I included an image of one of his pension cards (from T289) as part of a 2012 blog post here. The pension bureau confused the service of two New Jersey Civil War veterans named George Carson, and have papers incorrectly interfiled in their pension files as agents attempted to establish their separate identities.

The fifth man from Mercer County, John Wesley Carson, is not the same man as I have blogged about here previously, even though they share a name. Our John Wesley Carson moved about following the Civil War and died in Oregon.

There are several things to be aware of when using the New Jersey Civil War Gravestones site.

It is not all-inclusive. Not all Civil War veterans buried in New Jersey are included in this database. This is a volunteer-driven site and requires that a recent photo of the headstone be submitted, along with information about the veteran’s military service. The site owner will then verify the service before actually posting the photograph. If the soldier had no headstone, or service cannot be verified, then the submission will not be accepted.

All headstone photographs submitted to the site must be original images taken by the contributor. Images from other websites or taken by others may not be uploaded without their express permission. The photographer retains all rights to the image, but gives permission for the project coordinator to edit the image if necessary to meet certain specifications and to store and display the images “permanently for free public access“.

Getting permission to utilize the photographs may prove to be difficult. I have submitted two separate requests via the website’s contact form (12/2012 and 6/2014) and never received a response to either request.

Overall, this is a fantastic resource for those with Civil War soldiers buried in New Jersey. Kudos to the site coordinator for undertaking this worthy project. I wish I could name those responsible, but I have not been able to glean that information from the website, nor from a WHOIS search. And, a BIG thank you to those who have contributed their time and images. Should you have images you wish to contribute, please visit this link.

Finally, here is a link to other Gravestone Photo Project sites.

**

Sources:

[1] New Jersey Civil War Gravestones, database and images  (http://newjerseycivilwargravestones.org : accessed 29 Jul 2014), entry no. 10384 for James T. Carson (1836-1910), citing Groveville Cemetery, Groveville, Mercer County, New Jersey; image contributed 24 Aug 2012 by “fredsays”.

[2] New Jersey Civil War Gravestones, database and images  (http://newjerseycivilwargravestones.org : accessed 29 Jul 2014), entry no. 6857 for Perrine Carson (no dates), citing Presbyterian Churchyard, Hamilton Square, Mercer County, New Jersey; image contributed 16 Sep 2010 by “fredsays”.

[3] New Jersey Civil War Gravestones, database and images  (http://newjerseycivilwargravestones.org : accessed 29 Jul 2014), entry no. 6853 for George Carson (d. 1903), citing Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey; image contributed 15 Sep 2010 by “fredsays”.

Disclaimer: The author regrets the inability to obtain explicit permission to showcase images from this website and makes no claim to ownership of any image shown here. Clearly, all screenshots on this Web Sightings post were taken from the New Jersey Civil War Gravestones site, and every attempt has been made to make that obvious.

1894 Death of Jane (Mozingo) Rice

In anticipation of my upcoming research trip to Virginia, I offer these transcriptions of the death notice and the newspaper obituary of Jane E. (Mozingo) Rice, born in Westmoreland Co., Virginia in 1826. I obtained  copies of the newspaper items when I first visited Kansas in 1992, and the graves of Cornelius Rice, his wife, Jane, and several other relatives on a glorious fall day. The Baldwin Ledger is, alas, not one of the digitized newspapers online on the Chronicling America website.

Baldwin Ledger 12 Oct 1894

“The citizens of Baldwin and vicinity are very sorry to learn of the demise of Mrs. C. B. Rice. The funeral services took place yesterday from the M. E. Church in Baldwni. [sic] Rev. J. M. Sulliven officiating. The I.O.O.F. of Baldwin and many friends attended the funeral. The sorrowing friends have have [sic] the deepest sympathy of this entire community. A full obituary will be given next week.” [1]

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Obituary.

Jane Elizabeth Rice was born in West Moreland county, Va., June 6, 1826, and died Oct. 8, 1894. She was raised a Baptist but at the age of 16 joined the Methodist church, and continued a worthy member until her death. She was married to C. B. Rice in Georgetown, D. C., on the 3rd of Feb., 1846. She was the mother of eleven children, nine of whom, with her husband, survive her. With her husband she moved to Kansas in 1857 and settled in Palmyra township, where she lived until her death. She became a Rebecca in Mechanics Lodge, No. 18, of Georgetown, D. C. in 1853. The funeral services took place Aug. 11, at 10 a.m., from the Methodist church in Baldwin. The sermon was preached by J. M. Sullivan. The remains were laid to rest in Ashland cemetery. A good mother, a kind neighbor and friend, one who has lived through the early history of Kansas, has gone beyond. Shd [sic] lived her life well and has gone to her reward.

RESOLUTIONS.

WHEREAS, Almighty God has deemed best to call home the loving wife of our beloved brother, C. B. Rice; therefore, be it

Resolved, That we, the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, tender our heartfelt sympathy to our bereaved brother and family; and,

Resolved That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Baldwin LEDGER for publication and also be spread on the minutes of the lodge.

F. MESSINGER,
F. JOHNSON,
J, M. STARR,
Committee. [2]

Notes and comments:
If Jane died 08 Oct 1894, she could not have been buried 11 Aug 1894 as stated. That should probably read “services took place Oct. 11….”

The cemetery where her remains lie is now known as Oakwood Cemetery, marked with a red star on the map.

1887-baldwin-city-map-oakwood-marked

Sources and credits:

Image credit: Baldwin City, Douglas Co. [Kansas, atlas map], (Philadelphia: L. H. Evert, 1887) p. 24; digital image, David Rumsey Historical Map Collection (http://www.davidrumsey.com : accessed 04 May 2014). Used via a Creative Commons license.

[1]  “Here and There.”, Baldwin Ledger (Baldwin, Kansas), 12 Oct 1894, p. 5, death notice for Jane (Mozingo) Rice.

[2]  “Obituary.”, Baldwin Ledger (Baldwin, Kansas), 19 Oct 1894, p. 3, Jane (Mozingo) Rice obituary.

Carson Family Group Sheet (Pt. 2): Early Research

Research on the Carson family of New Jersey and Kansas in the early days before Internet-based genealogy records became commonplace

We left off last time having learned the names of four Carson siblings from New Jersey: my 2nd great-grandfather Andrew F. Carson and his brothers: Charley, Furman and Wes. From informal oral interviews with my grandmother and a cemetery trip to her hometown, I learned that three of the brothers had migrated from New Jersey to Kansas at some point in their lives, lived in the vicinity of White City, Morris Co., Kansas, and were buried in White City Cemetery.


Location of White City within Morris County, Kansas [1]

The information presented below is from my 1992 cemetery field notes:

Typically when doing genealogical research you start with the known, and then move backwards in time, searching for clues that link people and generations. One of the building blocks of an American family tree is the United States Federal census, taken decennially (i.e. every 10 years) beginning in 1790. To access the census microfilm, I made a trek to the local branch of the National Archives in Seattle, where I searched for each of the Carson males in the 1920, 1910, and 1900 census enumerations for Morris County, Kansas. Because of a 72-year black out period before the census is released to the public at large, later federal census listings were not available when this research was first conducted in the 1990s. Here I have extracted the information from the census listings into a table in my word processing software for comparison purposes.

Census comparison for Carson brothers
1900-1920 U.S. census entries for brothers Charles, Andrew and Furman Carson. Wes Carson was not indexed or otherwise located in Morris Co., Kansas.

Doing the census research provided important background information. Not only did it establish the presence of the three Carson brothers over three decades in a small community, it also consistently placed their origins, and that of their parents, in New Jersey. However, since none of these census households included a father or mother, it did not help me answer my research question which was “Who were the parents of Andrew, Charley and Furman Carson of White City, Kansas, and of Wes, location unknown?”

Because I wanted to learn who the parents of the brothers were, I needed to choose a census where they were all likely to appear together in the parental household. Looking for four people together rather than just one individual increases the likelihood that, when found, you have identified the correct family group.

In this case, the census closest to their birth dates was the 1860 census. If I was doing this research today, the 1860 census would be the first census to search. However, if you were doing research fifteen years ago, you may recall that the 1860 census index was available in book form, and only the heads of household were typically indexed – not children. Since I did not know the name of the parents of the Carson brothers, that census wasn’t my first option. Instead, I chose to search for the brothers in the 1870 census using a published Heritage Quest index that included children.

In 1870, Charles would have been about 18, Andrew would have been about 16, and Furman would have been about 14. Therefore, I needed to look for young males of these names and ages in the census index for New Jersey. If all were indexed, all entries should lead us to the same household assuming that the brothers had not yet left home. Finding Wes in the household would have been a bonus, since no information regarding his life had been uncovered up to that time.

The net result of this exercise was that the only entry in the census index that matched up was that of “Firman” Carson. [2] True to form, Wes was not found at all, and the entries for males named Andrew or Charles Carson were all older than our subjects.

1870 New Jersey census index Firman Carson

This index entry led me to the correct roll of microfilm and page number, which yielded this result:

1870 census entry Carson family
1870 U.S. census entries for Carson family members showing Furman, Charles and Andrew in the household, highlighted in yellow. [3]

Although not stated, we can surmise that Caroline Carson may have been the mother of all the Carson children in the household, including Charles, Andrew, Furman, Eley, Amanda and Jane Carson; the ages fit into a logical birth sequence, and all bore the same surname. (Oddly enough, the census index got two data points wrong: the spelling of Firman – clearly “Forman” in the census entry, and his age, which shows as 13 not 14. Still, it led me to the correct family. Using the printed index was easier than cranking through a whole county’s worth of entries on the film.)

Now that I potentially had the name of one parent and the Hamilton Township location in Mercer County, New Jersey, I continued my research – operating under the assumption that Caroline was the children’s mother. Where was the Carson father, and who was Lewis Rainear?

***
Sources:
[1] Image: “Morris County Kansas Incorporated and Unincorporated areas White City Highlighted” courtesy Wikimedia user Arkyan under the GNU Free Documentation License (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morris_County_Kansas_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_White_City_Highlighted.svg : accessed 21 Dec 2013).
[2] Raeone Christiansen Steuart. New Jersey 1870 Census Index (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), p. 246.
[3] 1870 U.S. census, Mercer County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hamilton Township, p. 82 [stamped], dwelling 270, family 268, Caroline Carson family in Lewis Rainear household, National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 871. The original of the edited image shown here downloaded from Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Dec 2013) rather than scanning a poor copy printed from microfilm at the time.