Need help to look up relative in the 161st Regiment (Co H) 16th PA Cav

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
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Location
Gettysburg, PA
#1
Hi All,
I am just starting to research a relative, Jacob Bluttenberger, aka"Bluntenberger" as its spelled or mispelled on the PA monument at Gettysburg. He was in the 161st Reg (Co H) 16th PA Cav. This is the first research on a relative that I have had to do from scratch and could use some assistance or advice. Interested in getting service records.
Thanks
EJ
 

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#2
I did a quick look up for this soldier in the National Parks Service Soldiers and Sailors Database (Google those words to get the URL). Clicking Search for Soldiers, I entered Jacob and Blu, state PA and Union.

The response I got was four different spellings of the same name, all for a man in Co. H, 16th PA Cav (161st Volunteers). The variant spellings were:

Blulinberger
Blulinberger
Bluttenberger
Bluttenberger

These variations are important because his service records could be filed under any or all of those names. Any search for Service records or carded medical records should include all these variant spellings and Blattenberger.

Pennsylvania Service records are not yet digitized on fold3. The compiled carded service records (extracts of the original service records made in the 1880's-90's) and carded medical records (spotty, but reflecting hospitalizations, if they exist) are available at the National Archives in Washington DC. See the NARA website at www.archives.gov. If you can't go there you can order copies of the records, and as I said, do give all of the above variant spellings including Blattenberger.

I saw no record of a Civil War Pension application on Ancestry or familysearch.org. However, with the difficulty with spelling, I can't be sure he didn't apply -- I didn't search every spelling variant, which you may want to do. If a pension record turns up it will be available at the National Archives, most likely in Washington DC, but some records are in the St Louis branch.

As far as the records go, his regiment probably started out as the 161st Volunteers and later became the 16th PA Cav. The records are now under that designation, properly cited as Co. H, 16th PA (or Penn or Pennsylvania) Cav. (or Cavalry). The word "regiment" or "reg" is not used.

For the history of this battle unit, return to the National Parks Service Soldiers and Sailors Database and click Search Battle Units, enter Pennsylvania, Union and 16th in the appropriate search boxes and choose 16th PA Cav out of the results.

Or if you searched for the soldier on this site, just click on the Regiment next to his name and it will take you to the unit's history and if you like you can browse the complete list of all soldiers in the regiment.

Interestingly, this man appears to be buried as Jacob Blattenberger (3rd letter is an "a"), which may be the correct spelling. You can pick up a lot of family information from his findagrave.com memorial:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=61357636

Ancestry has more information under Blattenberger. There is a copy if his death certificate, several census records that include him, public family trees, and he was included in the 1890 Veteran's Schedules shoeing residence in Franklin Co PA and that his term of service was 19 Sep 1862 to 17 Jun 1865.

You can get a short free trial of Ancestry and then cancel if you choose not to join (www.ancestry.com) or visit your local library or check local genealogical or historical societies which may allow free use of Ancestry on their computers if they subscribe. You can search for his records on www.familysearch.com for free.

Google searches for the soldier and for the regiment might also turn up material of interest.

Good luck. Often Civil War soldiers have fascinating histories. You can use the findagrave memorial and the Ancestry message boards or family trees to try to contact living descendants whoight have letters, photos or diaries. You might also want to check newspaper archives. Good advice on searching historical newspapers appears here in the discussion in the Forum thread Ancestor in Prison During Census.
 
#3
I pulled this from CivilWarData.com:

Jacob Bluttenberger
Residence was not listed; a 32 year-old Carpenter.
Enlisted on 9/17/1862 at Chambersburg, PA as a Private.
On 9/22/1862 he mustered into "H" Co. PA 16th Cavalry
He was discharged on 6/16/1865
Promotions:
* Corpl 6/1/1865
He was described at enlistment as:
5' 8", light complexion, blue eyes, dark hair
Sources used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.

Jacob should have anywhere between 15-30 service cards in his service file and most likely his enlistment papers (hence the physical description in his bio).
 
Joined
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Location
Illinois
#4
I did a quick look up for this soldier in the National Parks Service Soldiers and Sailors Database (Google those words to get the URL). Clicking Search for Soldiers, I entered Jacob and Blu, state PA and Union.

The response I got was four different spellings of the same name, all for a man in Co. H, 16th PA Cav (161st Volunteers). The variant spellings were:

Blulinberger
Blulinberger
Bluttenberger
Bluttenberger

These variations are important because his service records could be filed under any or all of those names. Any search for Service records or carded medical records should include all these variant spellings and Blattenberger.

Pennsylvania Service records are not yet digitized on fold3. The compiled carded service records (extracts of the original service records made in the 1880's-90's) and carded medical records (spotty, but reflecting hospitalizations, if they exist) are available at the National Archives in Washington DC. See the NARA website at www.archives.gov. If you can't go there you can order copies of the records, and as I said, do give all of the above variant spellings including Blattenberger.
.
That's a lot of spelling variations! Below are the cards from Fold3. It looks like the transcription Blulinberger should have been Blutinberger.


Bluttenberger.jpg
Blutinberger.jpg
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,329
Location
Gettysburg, PA
#5
Thank you all for your efforts and advice! It is greatly appreciated. Mispelling of the family name has been a problem since the beginning as such I am related to people with many variations that have stuck since they were first mispelled. The first immigrant in 1743 was a Plattenberger patient 0 I guess. Thank you all again.
 
Joined
May 28, 2015
Messages
427
#6
Re the misspellings. This name is unusually difficult to search in my experience and I don't understand why. When I typed Bluttenberger into Ancestry, it should have given me Blattenberger results but it didn't, and I would get results like "Baldwin". Had I not stumped onto the findagrave memorial, I would never have come up with the spelling that produces the most results for this family. I was beginning to wonder if Cpl. Bluttenberger has changed his name later in life.

Misspellings of everyone's names were common in pre 20th C records, especially before the Civil War, because the people writing the records were writing what they heard and guessing at spelling and because the only method of copying documents was for a person (often a person other than the original writer) to read the handwriting of the original and then rewrite it. Almost all the military records and censuses we read today are victims of the errors built in to this process, compounded by the next layer of transcription done by Ancestry's indexers.

Another factor that might have been at work with this name -- if the original immigrant spoke German, he and his family might have lived in a German speaking community until the early 1800's or beyond. When the family gave its name to clerks who spoke only English, it might well have been misunderstood.

I know of a Fiege family in late 18th Frederick Co MD who changed their name to Feaga when a clerk wrote it that way in an important deed.

EJ, I thought I noticed Revolutionary War ancestors in this line -- glad you are aware of it.
 

EJ Zander

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,329
Location
Gettysburg, PA
#7
Suzanne,
Thank you for the response. You are spot on. My family has historically been Moravian and Conservative Brethren. They first came to Litiz, PA during its founding and were in German speaking communities for some time after that.
 

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