News: Annual Research Pilgrimage

Well here we are again in our nation’s capital on what has become an annual research pilgrimage to the seat of the largest repositories of Old Army Records in the country, Washington, D.C.’s branches of the National Records Administration Archives (NARA) and Library of Congress (LOC).  Kevin & I have returned again this year to continue our, never ending, quest to populate our Old Army Records collection with as many SU rich documents as are available.  Our goal is to provide you with access to the most comprehensive collection of records focused on the details of the Old Army soldier’s day to day life.  Now, anyone who has taken even a casual look at the either the NARA or LOC online catalogs would say, that is an impossible task.  We have considered that but have decided it is a task worth pursuing.

Desks, chairs, & Bookshelves in the NARA West Reading Room, March 2019.
Where Kevin & I spent the last week, NARA West Reading Room. Photo by Kevin O’Dell March 7, 2019.

With that in mind we do our best to prioritize our records research and scanning. As we have mentioned in our past news posts, one of our main priorities has been gathering the General Court Martial Orders (GCMOs) for the various departments for the entire Old Army period, 1800 to 1899.  Well we are continuing that priority.  But we find it impossible to limit ourselves to just one records category.  So, while I continue to add to our already voluminous collection of GCMOs;  Kevin gathers records that are even more SU rich, such as registers and inventories. These type of records will provide you with a wider view of the issues an Old Army soldier had to deal with on a day to day basis and within his career; such as, what kind of work he was forced to do while sentenced to hard labor or what help could he get if he lost a limb.  These are just two examples of the type of information we’ve added to our Old Army Records collection that we haven’t found anywhere else on the internet.

Experience Helps

Despite weather forecasts of snow that threatened our travel and commuting plans.  Typical obstacles for travel across the country in the winter. Deciding which records to spend our, limited, time here to pursue has been the most difficult part of the trip, so far.  However, due to the experience we’ve gained by the many times we’ve repeated this trip and the excellent and professional help from the staff at both the NARA & LOC as well as at the Washington – College Park (I-95) Holiday Inn, our preferred place to stay when in the D.C. area, we’ve been able to successfully gather a diverse portfolio of records as evidenced by the following list of topics.

  •  Crime and punishment confinement data, including work performed by prisoners confined at military posts.
  • Marksmen/ sharpshooter qualifications, including shooting scores and rankings within a department and even the entire army
    • How did your Old Army ancestor rank?
  • Daily jobs performed by soldiers.

In the coming months, we will be adding the many records we’ve digitized, on this trip, to our database and will publish articles related to these very topics.  So, be sure to return often so as not to miss any of what promises to be both entertaining and informative content on our page.

Old Army Records Research Services

In addition to gathering records to populate our Old Army database, we were able to use our experience in conducting research at these repositories to fulfill a research request for a client.  We’re proud to offer our Old Army Records Research Services to anyone who would like us to locate & gather records from the 19th century US Army.  Feel free to contact us with your research request for availability & pricing.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and impressions of our website.  So, leave us your comments and suggestions as to what you would like to see on our site and what records you would like us to add to our Records Inventory.  Until our next news post, ENJOY.

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