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03 March 2015

Are You Doing Unit Searches?

Searching old newspapers for your ancestor's military regiment probably won't locate references to him specifically, but you may gain some background information.

The Quincy Whig-Republican posted this item in June of 1865 that the 78th Illinois was headed back to Illinois to be paid off.

Of course muster out dates and pay dates are part of an ancestor's military record, but this reference (which was likely copied on other papers) may have been how family members knew their loved one's unit was headed home.

You can search for your ancestor's unit on GenealogyBank among other sites.


  1. Pension applications for close members of the unit (maybe from the same home town) might have depositions made by your ancestor.

  2. While looking for something else in my county newspaper during 1898, I found articles about the young men of the county enlisting in the Army for the Spanish American War. Since my grandfather was a veteran of that war, I kept on reading throughout all of 1898. Families had shared the boys' letters with the paper and they gave a good review of their activities. My grandfather was not mentioned, but I was able to find out what he and his companions were doing while stationed at Panama Park, Jacksonville, FL.

    1. That's an excellent idea---sometimes one learns more by researching the comrades than one does the ancestor ;-)