I should probably start with a confession: while I wear a lot of hats at the State Archives (webmaster, blogger, online catalog (MARS) supervisor, metadata person for digital collections, etc.), unlike most of my co-workers I do not have a history background. I also don’t have a lot of experience with genealogy. While I enjoy helping other folks find information on their family history using our various online tools, learning about my own family history has never been a driving force in my life.
So when the Civil War 150 Committee decided that we were going to do an online exhibit on “Finding Your Civil War Ancestors” using our own relatives as the starting point, I did the only logical thing: I called my mother.
My mother is our unofficial family genealogist and she agreed to give me the names of three of her relatives, along with a little information on them that was passed down to her from her grandfather. That information was:
Robert Hardy Massey [my mother’s grandfather’s grandfather] – born November 29, 1834 in Madison County, NC; died February 28, 1914; enlisted in Company F, Regiment 64 of the Confederate Army (North Carolina State Troops) on July 22, 1862 in Madison County.
David Jobe Massy [Robert H. Massey’s brother] – born April 1, 1842; died July 16, 1910; enlisted in Company F, Regiment 64 of the Confederate Army (North Carolina State Troops) on July 22, 1862 in Madison County.
Moses “Moe” Brown [Robert H. Massey’s father-in-law] – born 1820; died December 19, 1861 in Manassas, Virginia; enlisted in Company B, 16th Infantry, North Carolina State Troops on April 29, 1861.
It was then up to me to see what I could find using that information. So I went to what I know best: our online catalog, MARS.
Using the MARS Basic Search, I found nothing relevant for Robert Massey. But, while searching for personal name subject headings using the Advanced Search screen I found a subject heading for “Massey, D. J.”
I then did a search in MARS on that subject heading and found one record for a folder of pension applications filed by D. J. Massey of Madison County and his widow, Mary Ann Massey. I made note of the box and collection that the records came from (Box 6.461, Pension Bureau: Act of 1901 Pension Applications, Office of State Auditor) in order to check them later to see if they were possibly related to my David Jobe Massey of Madison County.
I did a new MARS search for Moses Brown, limiting the search to just the Pension Bureau applications (Office of State Auditor) this time. Among my results was a 1901 pension application for Lettie Brown, widow of Moses Brown of Haywood County. Again I wrote down the box and collection information (Box 6.228, Pension Bureau: Act of 1901 Pension Applications, Office of State Auditor) in order to check the folder later.
Next I pulled boxes 6.228 and 6.461 of the State Auditor Pension Applications. In the Moses Brown folder of Box 6.228, I found information that matched the details that my mother had given me – this Moses Brown had enlisted in Company B, 16th Regiment, North Carolina State Troops in 1861 and he had died in Manassas, Virginia in 1861 (of typhoid fever, which was information I hadn’t known). However, a few details didn’t match my great-grandfather’s information – the death date was listed as December 1 instead of December 19 and the enlistment date was listed as May 1 instead of April 29. Still there were enough similarities for me to suspect that this was indeed my relative’s father-in-law.
Within the D. J. Massey folder of Box 6.461 I found several pension applications for various years. Most of the information on the pension applications conformed to what I knew, although there were a few discrepancies. This D. J. Massey was from Madison County and served with the 64th Regiment, although he was listed in Company G instead of Company F, and his enlistment date was listed as August 1862 instead of July. But again, the information was awfully close to the information my great-grandfather had for David Jobe Massey. Most interesting to me was that on the 1904 application, D. J. Massey stated that he had “contracted black scurvy while in prison at Camp Douglas which renders applicant 2/3 disabled for manual labor.”
To be continued…