Friday, May 30, 2014


Death & Civil War picture

May is a month where we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our rights and freedom.

I wanted to share the information about this documentary with you.  I just watched it this morning, as I had recorded it several days ago.  Here is a link to the site:

The American Experience - Death and the Civil War

This was such an interesting study of how we came to have National Cemeteries in America.  So many of our citizens died on our own soil during this epic struggle that there was chaos over what to do with all the bodies. 
  • How do you identify the dead?  There were no dog tags on soldiers back then.
  • Do you return them home?
  • How do you notify the loved ones?
  • What about all those men who cannot be identified?  Where do you bury them?
  • Do you just have bodies buried where they lie with no identifier?
  • If so, then you have bodies in fields, backyards, alongside roads etc.
These were just some of the questions raised during this long and bloody battle.

How many soldiers did we lose in the Civil War?

Here is a comparison chart I found online with numbers from all the wars since our country began.  None of these numbers are 100% exact as new casualties are always being discovered.  However, you’ll notice that there were approximately 620,000 deaths during the Civil War.  And, all the other wars combined total approximately 644,000.  So, almost as many during the one conflict as all the others combined.

(Click on any image to enlarge it)

Civil war dead
Our first National cemeteries were established in 1862, as a direct result of the deaths during the Civil War.  Here is a link to a site that gives the dates of the establishment & first burial of all our National cemeteries.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs - National Cemetery Administration

Here is the first page from that website.

Natl Cemeteries
My husband has many family members who are buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery here in San Diego, California.  Among them are his Mom, Dad, Uncles, Aunt and Cousin.

Here are some photos, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

We’ve gone from this:


To this:



And finally, to this:


Do you have family members buried in our National cemeteries?  I can’t imagine that there is anyone reading this who doesn’t. 

Watching this documentary was very educational for me.  Thanks again to PBS for their wonderful programming.

And, no words can thank any of our military men and women and their families enough for their service and sacrifices. 

Cemetery Records - What can they tell you?  How do you use them?
Surprise - A Birth Record Where it Wasn't Supposed to Be

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Excellent presentation, as usual. Here's a link to a very handy listing, by state, of all National Cemeteries. The list includes an address, phone number and FAX number. This is much more convenient than the "official" listing.

  2. I'd seen that episode of American Experience was coming on, but didn't end up recording it. I just looked, and it is available online! So, I will be watching it. Thanks for the reminder!

    Also, thanks for the comment on my blog post about my "busted" brick wall. Sometimes it seems like things just fall into place & other times you can't find anything at all. Lately, I've been on a streak! In fact, I'm gathering new information so quickly that I'm having trouble processing it all. It's time to slow down & see what I have already uncovered.

    1. Glad you found it online. I watch on my iPad sometimes. Very convenient. I'm kinda in the same position right now. I have a lot of info coming in from several places, including my trip to Scotland. Plus, I'm trying to complete the addition of over 100 people to FindAGrave from the Aboyne Kirkyard. I like to add links and photos when I add memorials. I am hoping their families will find them and I can transfer them over. Best of luck on all your research.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  3. I don't know of any family member who is buried in a National Cemetery, although I'm sure if I branch out far enough in my tree, there is likely someone. Most of my family are buried in small country cemeteries.

    Several years ago I was able to visit the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA. My third great grandfather's brother died in the Civil War and is buried there in a mass grave and the cemetery was able to provide the number he is buried in. It was a humbling and somber experience to stand there and see the rows and rows of markers for those who died in that war. I love cemeteries because they allow me to have that connection to those who have passed on and remind me that they were real.

    1. I feel exactly the same way when I go to cemeteries. I think about the lives of those who are buried and all the things they experienced. I have many Civil War veterans in my family that's for sure. Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments :)


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.