Historian offers Civil War ancestor search
June 9, 2003
Historian and author Clay Feeter of Pistol River, Ore., will do free “quick searches” of Civil War ancestry from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. today at the Bookcellar.
Feeter travels the country using computer data bases to search for Civil War soldiers by name. He then offers a “Soldier Report and Regimental History” for $30.
“I’ll tell you, every event is like a live television show — it is an absolute goose-bump experience for me and the people,” said Feeter on Thursday from Alturas, Calif., where he was doing searches at the Modoc County Museum. “This is a really emotional deal.”
Americans are not good about keeping track of their history, he said.
“They were too busy heading West,” he joked. “Americans are always on the go.”
He can help people reconnect to their family’s past.
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“I’ll say, ‘Well, look at this, your ancestor won the Medal of Honor,’ and they’ll say, ‘I never knew that!'”
Searchers should bring their ancestor’s full name, the wife’s name if known and what state they lived in at about 1861.
“That way, I know if I’m looking for a Confederate or Union soldier because sometimes you never know, ” said Feeter. “Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee were up for grabs — it was very divided.”
Feeter also asks people to e-mail as much information as possible to him at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance.
He uses several data bases, including one from the National Archives, to find what rank soldiers had, what unit they served in, and whether they were wounded, killed, or captured.
“And I pepper it and paint it with my years of Civil War research,” he said. “I can paint the whole picture for them.”
IF YOU GO
What: Civil War historian’s “live” ancestor search
Where: The Bookcellar at 1202 N. Carson St.
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today
Cost: Quick search is free, compiled history available for $30
Call: The Bookcellar, 885-7772
E-mail background information in advance to email@example.com.