Friday, May 7, 2021

Campbell County Civil War Soldiers Book Update

 Time flies, at least the last few weeks, and I did not realize it had been so long since my last book update. I am still working on a couple more genealogical posts, but wanted to put down at least a few words on my continued progress in the Campbell County Civil War Soldiers. (It will include sailors, but I just use Campbell County Civil War Soldiers to refer to it for brevity's sake.) 

I am still working on it and plowing through names, trying to find more that fit on my list. I have about 1,200 confirmed Union soldiers now (a few dozen Confederates, but I honestly haven't worked on that side much in recent months, though it is still part of the plan.)  My progress has slowed down, of course, as the most obvious sources dry up and I now look for other sources. I'm currently trying to dig through the list of the men of the 23rd Kentucky Infantry. I have about 120+ of them on my confirmed list so far, but still find a couple more each week. I probably need to do the same with the 53rd Kentucky. I think I have about 140 from that regiment, but need to get that unit on a spreadsheet like I have with the 23rd and go through it name by name, a painstaking, but I think, worthwhile, process.  A couple of local home guard units are still on my lists to search. 

I also just realized that Jim Reis, a deceased local historian whom I've mentioned before, left some of his research files at the Campbell County Historical Society and those files include folders of his Civil War research, so I need to dig through those pages too in the search of more names. A quick glance dhows some of his notes and some printouts of period newspaper articles.

I realize that I will never find every single name that meets my qualifications, but I am enjoying the search and am hopeful that if I can finish my project, maybe somebody else in the future will improve upon it and uncover more names and sources. Perhaps looking through microfilm records of more Cincinnati newspapers of the time is one area I need to pursue. The Hamilton County Library is not that far from me and they have a large microfilm collection. 

I am finding quite a few whose only ties to Campbell County were that they enlisted in Newport, usually at the Newport Barracks. I will not include these in my main project because I am not convinced that is enough of a connection to the county, but I have got 120 or so names on a list that I am trying to keep for curiosity's sake. I am sure there are many more of these men out there, though where to look for them is tough question, but if I stumble across any while doing my research I am trying to record their names (after I check to make sure I cannot find any other county ties to them.)  This information might be handy to somebody some day, maybe in telling the story of the Barracks.

I am also getting quite a few of my "stories" done. I have about 60 of them in the "almost done" category - I believe my research, note-taking, organizing and writing of then are virtually complete, though I may go back to change a style on them - I recently decided to add page numbers on each page and I am currently starting to research which fonts would be best. I also have occasionally found additional information on a soldier from an unexpected source, such as research on another soldier, so I have had a few instances where I added the new details to the story, but all-in-all, for these, the main work is done and I am happy with how they are (though I always reserve the right to nitpick them, of course.) 

I have several more of these mini-biographies that are in progress. For some, the research is done and I just need to organize the information into a readable story, while others are still in the research and note-taking phase. I also have a list of more names whose stories might be worth exploring too, but I have not started those yet.  

Some of these tales are longer than others and I have not gone back and done the  math, but I suspect the average story is about 600 words, so for 60 of these documents, that means I have written about 36,000 words, which kind of blows my mind, especially with more to go. That seems like a lot of work to me, and it is, at least compared to what I have previously done for just one project, but it has not felt like work. I guess that is because it is a personal project and I can take my time doing it, with no hard-set deadlines. It is still enjoyable to me. I know many people like to refer to soldiers as ‘heroes,” and i understand that, but these men (and 1 woman) were just normal people too, with normal families, lives, and occasionally recorded problems. There are many good stories waiting to be found and shared. 

I have also started experimenting with an idea for a website where I could upload the list of names, their military information and their genealogical data, but my web-designing knowledge is even more miniscule than I realized, even using WordPress or Wix. I'll probably keep trying this again soon, but finding the information and writing the stories are my bigger priorities right now.

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