Who's your ancestor? (And does it matter?)

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
He's related to me by blood not marriage. But he's not someone I can describe with the word father or mother in the title - not in the straight line up my tree. So - does that matter?
I understand what you are saying. Sometimes I use the word “ancestor” rather loosely to include relatives. I was wondering what your Q means. Does it matter to WHO? The genie societies— they arent my concern.
I did NOT know the SCV accepts members on collateral relative. When I joined, I was sure you had to have a direct ancestor.

In your first para, you stated: “ at least eleven more soldiers”.
you cant have 11 ancestors who served in the Civil War? Can you?
 

J C J Barefoot

Private
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
As a matter of law in most states, what is commonly referred to as “direct descendant” is more technically called “lineal descendant”. This means descendant by straight line through the grandchild - child - parent- great grandparent . It is the parent line either maternal or paternal. (For example, I have two great grandfathers that were in the Union Army. One was my material grandmothers father, the other was my material grandfathers father. I am a lineal descendant of both. For estate law the line does not have to be blood to still be lineal— meaning adoption would count.
If the line up goes to others that are not lineal then they are said to be collateral. My GGF had a brother in law that died in the war. In that case he is neither collateral nor lineal.
Ancestors is a historic, border concept (not legal) and includes lineal, collateral and by marriage.
Does it matter? On a technical level it matters when we want to be clear about the actual relationship. One thing for sure, being a descendant of a veteran ( collateral or lineal) connects us to our history in profound manner.
Oh—yea, on St Patricks day not only am I Irish —but I am a lineal decent of both Robert E Lee and U.S. Grant.
 

Kyle Kalasnik

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Location
Potter County, PA
As a matter of law in most states, what is commonly referred to as “direct descendant” is more technically called “lineal descendant”. This means descendant by straight line through the grandchild - child - parent- great grandparent . It is the parent line either maternal or paternal. (For example, I have two great grandfathers that were in the Union Army. One was my material grandmothers father, the other was my material grandfathers father. I am a lineal descendant of both. For estate law the line does not have to be blood to still be lineal— meaning adoption would count.
If the line up goes to others that are not lineal then they are said to be collateral. My GGF had a brother in law that died in the war. In that case he is neither collateral nor lineal.
Ancestors is a historic, border concept (not legal) and includes lineal, collateral and by marriage.
Does it matter? On a technical level it matters when we want to be clear about the actual relationship. One thing for sure, being a descendant of a veteran ( collateral or lineal) connects us to our history in profound manner.
Oh—yea, on St Patricks day not only am I Irish —but I am a lineal decent of both Robert E Lee and U.S. Grant.
That is amazing !
 

Coonewah Creek

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Location
Northern Alabama
The personal connection is very important. For example, my GGGrandfather was seriously wounded at Vicksburg, fighting career ending wound in his arm. Had he been a few inches over he would have been killed and I (and alot of others including my children) would not be here. Its pretty important when I look at it that way. That was a big day in May of 63 in Vicksburg for my family line and why others have said we can get defensive about some things and "have a dog in the fight".
I think the personal connection is important too. In my case, although I had always been interested in the Civil War, learning my great grandfather and his two older brothers were soldiers, two in the 2nd Mississippi and one in the 31st Louisiana at Vicksburg, spurred me to want to research the 2nd Mississippi and start writing a regimental history. My great grandfather was the only one of the three brothers that survived the war. His two brothers were KIA'd. Luckily my great-grandfather survived being seriously wounded...at least twice...family accounts say four times, but I can only officially document twice. The last time he was wounded, he was permanently disabled. So I know I am really lucky to be here. Yes, it does get personal sometimes. And I, for one, make no apologies for that. How many family lines were wiped out completely in the war? It makes you think...if it doesn't, it should.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
In your first para, you stated: “ at least eleven more soldiers”.
you cant have 11 ancestors who served in the Civil War? Can you?
I have six ancestors who fought in the war on my mother's side. Every one of her great-grandfathers fought, as well as two of her great-great-grandfathers. The other eleven I mentioned are not ancestors - they are the brothers and nephews of my ancestors.
 

Yankee Brooke

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jun 8, 2018
Location
PA
I signed up for Ancestry.com recently to try and trace at least some of my lineage. My parents always believed our family was still in Europe during the war, however I found a possible ancestor who was in fact here, although he was born in 1863, in New Jersey. It's getting murkier trying to go back further though....

Also my 4x great grandma (if I traced it right) was from Ireland, which I never knew.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
I signed up for Ancestry.com recently to try and trace at least some of my lineage. My parents always believed our family was still in Europe during the war, however I found a possible ancestor who was in fact here, although he was born in 1863, in New Jersey. It's getting murkier trying to go back further though....

Also my 4x great grandma (if I traced it right) was from Ireland, which I never knew.
If you get stuck, start a thread in the Ancestry forum. We love to solve mysteries for people.
 

Fairfield

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
That’s very true, I’m English and I’m in my 7th year as a CWT member. I can’t really identify why I’m interested in a war that I have no family connection with but I do have you guys in my life, I read your posts and look at your photos and as a result I’m enthused to learn more. It’s actually pretty nice not having a dog in the fight, I simply sit on the fence and enjoy the debates.
I'm with you! While I had a G+ uncle in the Wisconsin regiments, my primary reason for being in CWT is an interest in social history that stems from a project for a historical society. Personally, I'm very interested in New England history--but I'm a Mainer by choice (I really came from Georgia). Not feeling that I need to "stand up for" a long gone ancestor enables objectivity.
 

Bob Velke

Private
Official Vendor
Joined
Jan 25, 2014
For the record, in genealogy there are "indirect relatives" but there is no such thing as an "indirect ancestor" or an "indirect descendant." Ancestors and descendants are direct by definition. To use the terms otherwise is begging to be misunderstood.
 

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
For the record, in genealogy there are "indirect relatives" but there is no such thing as an "indirect ancestor" or an "indirect descendant." Ancestors and descendants are direct by definition. To use the terms otherwise is begging to be misunderstood.
I do feel it's a bit confusing when I see people use the term ancestor for a collateral connection. I think the fact that some societies let people connect through an indirect relative muddies people's understanding of the term.
 

Waterloo50

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Location
England
The personal connection is very important. For example, my GGGrandfather was seriously wounded at Vicksburg, fighting career ending wound in his arm. Had he been a few inches over he would have been killed and I (and alot of others including my children) would not be here. Its pretty important when I look at it that way. That was a big day in May of 63 in Vicksburg for my family line and why others have said we can get defensive about some things and "have a dog in the fight".
I totally understand the whole family connection thing, there’s definitely something special about having a connection to a battle where an ancestor fought. I’ve a few direct ancestors that fought in some very well known battles (Napoleonic wars and WW1) and that family connection has inspired me to learn more about the particular battles in which they fought. I’m not interested in their political or religious beliefs I’m not in a position to defend the rights and wrongs of the choices that they made, I’m simply interested in what they experienced and what impact it had on their lives.

It’s interesting that you mention how close your GGGrandfather came close to being killed, my GGrandfather was shot through the right thigh as he headed out of a trench, had he been hit a couple of inches to the left I wouldn’t be sat here now writing this. I spend a great deal of my time reading about the experiences of WW1 trench warfare, the more I learn, the closer I get to understanding my great grandfathers experience of war and I think he’d really appreciate the fact that I hadn’t forgotten him or his fellow soldiers.
 

Fairfield

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
I do feel it's a bit confusing when I see people use the term ancestor for a collateral connection. I think the fact that some societies let people connect through an indirect relative muddies people's understanding of the term.
An in-law very much wanted to join the Holland Society--which requires not only direct lineage but, also, has a requirement that the relationship be through through a male line. He was descended through his mother so was ineligible. 🤣
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
That is a strict society. Several say only a direct ancestor but don't say thru a male.

One I have tried to join is Daughters of War of 1812. I have several grandfathers (they are great 3xs or 4xs. But I get rejected because they say I don't have enough proof to connect to me. Several of my ancestors through theses lines don't have exact date of death. I have other proofs but lack these. It is frustrating but I keep looking.

But I will say that when I learned about these ancestors I wanted to know more about the War of 1812 and started reading as many books as I could on the war. I have learned a lot because of my interest in genealogy.
 

Fairfield

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
That is a strict society. Several say only a direct ancestor but don't say thru a male.

One I have tried to join is Daughters of War of 1812. I have several grandfathers (they are great 3xs or 4xs. But I get rejected because they say I don't have enough proof to connect to me. Several of my ancestors through theses lines don't have exact date of death. I have other proofs but lack these. It is frustrating but I keep looking.

But I will say that when I learned about these ancestors I wanted to know more about the War of 1812 and started reading as many books as I could on the war. I have learned a lot because of my interest in genealogy.
If you can't prove that they died, it may be that those G+ grandfathers are still around! ☺️ Surely that's worth admittance!

Have you tried plowing through any of those massive genealogies that were done in the late 1800's? No sources but plenty of details.
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
I like this definition of Who is an Ancestor? It is from "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Genealogy." I recommend this book for beginners and those who have done Genealogy for a while.

"Your ancestors are those from whom you are directly descended. The term is used for someone earlier than your grandparents. Your aunts, uncles, and cousins are relatives, but they are not your ancestors."

I like this part from the book: "You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great great grandparents, and so on. By 10 generations (approximately 300 t0 350 years) you have 1,024 ancestors. An impressive figure that will be more than enough to keep any searcher busy for a lifetime."

From Chapter 1, page 7 of "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Genealogy".
 

donna

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
Now Florida but always a Kentuckian
I have approximate dates on many. I also have graves but no definite date on the graves. Sometimes I have the date of that particular person who fought but as I move up the line there are definite dates missing. It is a strict line of proof on this society. I even have their military records but have got to make complete connection to me.
 

Fairfield

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
I like this definition of Who is an Ancestor? It is from "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Genealogy." I recommend this book for beginners and those who have done Genealogy for a while.

"Your ancestors are those from whom you are directly descended. The term is used for someone earlier than your grandparents. Your aunts, uncles, and cousins are relatives, but they are not your ancestors."

I like this part from the book: "You have two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, sixteen great great grandparents, and so on. By 10 generations (approximately 300 t0 350 years) you have 1,024 ancestors. An impressive figure that will be more than enough to keep any searcher busy for a lifetime."

From Chapter 1, page 7 of "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Genealogy".
Once an elderly man, on the same neighborhood board, became a great-grandfather when his granddaughter had a baby. He said to us "only few more years and I'll be an ancestor!". Alas, he died before his great-granddaughter's child was born--but I smiled when I read the announcement in the local newspaper because I thought of his prediction. I guess that not only can we take honor from our ancestors but we need to lead lives that justify his kind of pride.
 
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