Thursday, August 14, 2014

Discovering Civil War Questionnaires & Reunions

I mentioned on my "inmates" post that I had an ancestors who was an inmate in an "old soldier's home" but I couldn't remember which ancestors. So, to find out more about these types of homes, I randomly looked at the Arkansas "Confederate Home Records" site. They have a search engine where you can look for ancestors who might have lived here. And, if you find a match, you can fill out a form and send off for their records!

Pretty neat, right? Except I don't have confederate soldiers from Arkansas. However, I was playing around and typed in three family names I did have who served as Confederate soldiers from Perry County, Tennessee. I didn't find any names I recognized.

But, then I noticed some of the other military records. One is titled "1911 Confederate Veterans Questionnaires." Well, that sounds interesting! (I now realize these questionnaires were just for Arkansas, but I thought they were for all Confederates at first.) I tried the same three surnames: Whitwell, Ward & Dickson.

public domain - image from wikipedia
When I typed in Dickson, I got a match! William Porter DICKSON who served in Company D of the 12th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He's a brother to my James B DICKSON who served in the same company. Wow! I went to my family tree and saw that he did live in Arkansas later in his life. Wonderful!

I clicked on his name and got additional information which I can use to send off for his file. His file is marked "average" rather than "poor" or "excellent" which means that "most of the information requested was provided". Great!

So, what might I expect in this file? There is a Biographical Memoranda Form which asks for full name, mailing address, date and place of birth, and family information. And, there is a Confederate Military Service Memoranda. I'm particularly interested in the Biographical Form as I don't know the maiden name of William P (& James B) Dickson's mother, Sarah!

image from Wikipedia
I thought I'd look at more military records on this site, Arkansas History Commission. The other place I found William Porter Dickson was on the 1911 Confederate Veterans Reunion Registration Forms! (By the way, when you click on these military links it takes you to another site: Arkansas Civil War.)

What was this reunion and what might I find in these records? This was the 21st annual Civil War union which was held in Little Rock, Arkansas, fifty years after the start of the Civil War. Approximately 15,000 veterans attended! Most of the veterans filled out the questionnaires; but other people filled them out, too! Who knows who you might find in these forms?

I'm excited to learn more about my Dickson family & their Civil War service. But, this also opens up another research possibility for other Civil War veterans. I need to look for both questionnaires & reunions in whatever state they lived in! And also check out the national reunions!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at


  1. Dana,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. This is cool! Thanks Jana for showcasing another great blog!


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