7th Iowa Monument, Sunken Road, Shiloh
Two years ago I had the opportunity to visit Shiloh Battlefield in southern Tennessee. Last month I returned to this remarkable military park, to retrace the steps of my soldier ancestor and to remember the sacrifice of those who fought and died.
My soldier was with the 7th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and although he did not see combat at Shiloh, many of his comrades did. The 7th Iowa was one of those regiments involved in holding the line of the “Sunken Road,” also known as the “Hornet’s Nest” on the first day of the battle. Their valor in the face of devastating fire was instrumental in delaying the advance of the Confederates and prevented them from sweeping Grant’s Army into the Tennessee River. Continue reading
August in Iowa means fresh sweet corn, State Fair, and back-to-school. If you’re wondering where the summer’s got to, you’re not alone! Here are some special learning and travel opportunities you won’t want to miss.
Now through Sunday, August 11: George Washington’s Acts of Congress. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Special exhibit, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, 210 Parkside Dr., West Branch. See George Washington’s personal copy of the Laws of the United States, First Session 1789. Museum admission: $6 ages 16 to 61/$3 ages 62+/children age 15 free. Contact: 319-643-6045. Website: http://hoover.archives.gov/ Continue reading
Iowa Monument, Shiloh Battlefield
Of all the battles fought across the years of the Civil War, Shiloh stands as one of the most memorable. Waged over two days, 6 – 7 April 1862 in the back country of southern Tennessee, the conflict inflicted heavy losses for both the Union and Confederates, and dispelled notions that the war would be brief and easily won.
Nearly 85,000 men were dealt more than 23,000 casualties, and had the Union lines not been reinforced by Buell’s late arriving troops, the outcome might have been a Confederate victory.
A visit to Shiloh and nearby Corinth is a must for anyone whose ancestor participated in those battles, and a meaningful experience for any student of American history. Created as Shiloh National Military Park in 1894, today’s Shiloh is a beautiful, peaceful, and serene park setting maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). It is not easy to visualize the events that took place here, but the NPS provides many tools to help you picture the scene. Continue reading
The State Library of Iowa announced this week that the Iowa Heritage Digital Collections (IHDC) website has been updated with a new look and two new collections.
Maintained by Iowa Library Services, the IHDC website makes available the historical and cultural digital resources of Iowa museums, libraries, historical societies, and educational institutions. If you’ve never accessed the IHDC, you’re missing out on some true Iowa jewels, such as historical county plat maps, Civil War diaries and letters, railroad memorabilia, and more. Continue reading
After a few false starts weather-wise, Iowa’s summer season is in full swing. Enjoy these mid-summer genealogical and historical treats.
Now through Sunday, July 28: Double Exposure—Prints of Past and Present Davenport. Special exhibit. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sundays 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. German American Heritage Center, 712 W. 2nd Street, Davenport. See historic and modern iconic Davenport buildings side-by-side through photographs. Museum admission: $5 adults / $4 seniors / $3 children (age 5 – 17) /children under age 5 and museum members are free. Contact: 563-322-8844. Website: http://www.gahc.org . Continue reading
The Complete Civil War Road Trip Guide: Ten Weekend Tours and More Than 400 Sites, from Antietam to Zagonyi’s Charge. By Michael Weeks. Published by Countryman Press; P.O. Box 748, Woodstock, Vermont, 2009. 504 pp. Maps, photographs, index, appendices. Paperback. $19.95.
The impact of the Civil War in shaping our nation’s identity can never be underestimated. More than a series of military engagements, the Civil War era is characterized by people, stories, events, and battles that forever changed our culture and how we view ourselves as Americans. Continue reading
Summer’s here! Celebrate with these special classes and events.
Saturday, June 8: Indian War Records. 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Iowa Genealogical Society, 628 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines. Kerry McGrath, instructor. A brief discussion of Iowa’s 18th and 19th century Native American population; the conflicts between Native Americans and Euro-Americans; archaeological and historic sites in Iowa that commemorate the conflicts; types of records that are available and the locations where they can be found. Participants will receive a hand-out summarizing the presentation and listing sources and archives. Pre-registration required. Cost: $5 IGS members/$10 non-members. Contact: 515-276-0287. Website: www.iowagenealogy.org. Continue reading
Shiloh Battlefield, Tennessee
If you have Civil War ancestors, or if you are interested in the history of the war, one of the best ways to understand this critical era of American history is to visit the sites of significant events and epic battles.
The National Park Service (NPS) has preserved many antebellum sites and Civil War battlefields, and the NPS website is your best first step for planning a visit. The NPS homepage “Discover History” tab introduces the many historical and cultural resources provided by NPS. The “Find A Park” tab provides the option of searching by name, location, activity or topic. Click “by location” for a state-by-state menu; then “by topic” for “Civil War” or “battlefield/military parks.” An interactive U.S. map also provides clickable links for each state. Continue reading
May begins an exciting season of research and travel opportunities for family historians. The many smaller, local museums and historical sites that close for the winter come alive for you to explore and enjoy. Here are a few ideas to get you started–
Now through December 31: This Land We Call Home: Settling Clay County. Clay County Heritage Center, 7 Grand Avenue, Spencer. This new core exhibit highlights the county’s prehistory and takes the visitor through the challenges of the early settlers to establish farms and towns. Contact: 712-262-3304. Website: http://www.parkermuseum.org/ . Continue reading
Courthouse Research for Family Historians. By Christine Rose. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2004. Softcover, 219 pages. Source references, glossary.
The prospect of visiting a county courthouse to research your family history can be both exciting and daunting. Exciting, because you never know what genealogical treasures you’ll find; daunting, because the task of identifying what to look for and where to look for it may seem overwhelming. If you go unprepared, the entire trip can prove to be a waste of time.
You can ready yourself for this adventure by learning about the many types of records housed in county courthouses (and in some states, city or district offices), and by learning how to interpret what you find. Christine Rose takes the pain out of courthouse research with her wonderful book, Courthouse Research for Family Historians. Continue reading