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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Headstone Record for Civil War Soldier Perrine Carson

Civil War soldier Perrine Carson (1821-1866) was the brother of my ancestor, Caroline Carson (ca. 1829/30-1915). He was injured in service when building a bridge, and died within a year of his honorable discharge from the Army. His widow, Sarah Ann Carson, died in 1867, leaving five children under the age of 16.

Headstone card for Perrine Carson from National Archives RG 92, Office of the Quartermaster General.

Name: Carson, Perrine
Rank: Pvt.
Service: Co. I, 38th Regt., N.J. Inf[antry]
Cemetery: Presbyterian
Cemetery Location: Hamilton Square, Mercer Co., N.J.
Grave: [blank]
Date of Death: May 21 – 1866
Headstone Supplied by: Sheldon & Sons, West Rutland, Vermont
Contract Date: Aug. 21, 1888 [1]

Leigh Miller posted an image of his headstone on my behalf at Find A Grave. [2] The marker is of the typical shield design, with only his name and regiment inscribed. A similar headstone for Sarah Ann Carson is adjacent. [3] Other Carson family members are interred in the Presbyterian Churchyard at Hamilton Square, New Jersey as well. [4]

Sources:

[1] “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903”, card for Perrine Carson (1888?); digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 Jun 2013), citing NARA microfilm publication M1845, roll 4.
[2] Find A Grave, online database (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 Jun 2013), Perrine Carson, memorial no. 37797943, First Presbyterian Churchyard (Hamilton Square, Mercer County, New Jersey).
[3] Find A Grave, online database (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 Jun 2013), Sarah Ann Carson, memorial no. 37797975, First Presbyterian Churchyard (Hamilton Square, Mercer County, New Jersey).
[4] Nine persons bearing the Carson surname have been included in the Find A Grave database for this cemetery to date, including Caroline Carson and her husband, Charles Carson. See First Presbyterian Churchyard, Hamilton Square, Mercer County, New Jersey, Carson family markers; memorials, Find A Grave, online database (http:www.findagrave.com : accessed 01 Jun 2013).

Headstone Record for Civil War Soldier David Bingaman

David M. Bingaman (1842-1896), served in the Civil War in Companies C, D, and E of the 20th Indiana Infantry. Family lore has it that he was wounded in action at the Battles of Malvern Hill (1 Jul 1862) and Gettysburg (2 Jul 1863). He survived these wounds, but older brother, John M. Bingaman, whom David followed into the Army, perished in combat at Malvern Hill, Virginia. David went on to marry Amanda A. McKibben in 1871. They lived in Illinois, the Oklahoma Territory and Kansas. The couple had no children.

As a deceased Union Civil War veteran, his grave in Pomona, Kansas was marked with a headstone supplied at government expense in 1902, under legislation passed in 1879 (20 Stat. 281). Besides the allowance for grave markers for Union veterans in private, village and city cemeteries, the law stipulated

The Secretary of War shall cause to be preserved in the records of his Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected by authority of this or any former acts. [1]

Today, headstone records for interments in private cemeteries for the period between 1879 and roughly 1903 are part of Record Group (RG) 92 Office of the Quartermaster General. Per the catalog entry there are 166,000 cards that have been microfilmed on 22 rolls. The microfilm may be accessed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. or at regional branches of the National Archives. Nine 3” x 4” inch cards were microfilmed per frame. This microfilm collection has also been digitized, and is available at Ancestry.com as Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903.

Headstone card for David M. Bingaman
Headstone card for David M. Bingaman

Information from the card is as follows:

Name: Bingaman, David M.
Rank: 2nd Lt.
Service: Co. D, 20th Regt., Ind[iana] Inf[antry]
Cemetery: Pomona
Cemetery Location: Pomona, Franklin Co., Kans.
Grave: [blank]
Date of Death: Nov 30 – 1896
Headstone Supplied by: Lee Marble Works
Contract Date: March 29, 1902 [2]

I have not yet been able to ascertain whether applications for headstones made between 1879-1903 might exist, although I have seen earlier examples online at NARA, and catalog entries for the period following. This will be added to my to-do list when I attend the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR) in Washington, DC in July 2013.

Read more about this topic:

Kluskens, Claire Prechtel. “Headstone Records for US Military Veterans, Part II: Records for Headstones Requested from 1879 to 1925.” NGS Magazine 39:2 (April-June 2013), 32-35. A copy of this article may be downloaded by NGS members at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.

Mollan, Mark C. “Honoring Our War Dead: The Evolution of the Government Policy on Headstones for Fallen Soldiers and Sailors.” Prologue 35:1 (Spring 2003), 56-65. Online here.

Sources:

[1] “An act authorizing the Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of Union soldiers who have been interred in private, village, or city cemeteries,” 20 Stat. 281 (3 Feb 1879).
[2] “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903”, card for David M. Bingaman (1902); digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 May 2013), citing NARA microfilm publication M1845, roll 2.