"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
- 30 January 2003

Confederate & Union Rosters On-Line

Wow! That's about the best way to tell you about the "Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System," (CWSS) a unique on-line database Located at: http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/. The database includes personnel rosters (Confederate & Union), regimental histories, cemeteries, battles, prisoners of war and Medals of Honor!

The CWSS is an internet database containing the basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The initial focus of the CWSS is the Name Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 5.4 million soldier records in the National Archives. The facts about the soldiers are being entered from records that are indexed to many millions of other documents about Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers maintained by the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA)

Other information includes: regimental histories of Union and Confederate Armies, links to descriptions of 384 significant battles of the war, and other historical information. Additional information about soldiers, sailors, regiments, and battles, as well as prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records, will continue to be added over time.

Currently, the prisoner-of-war database includes a list of prisoners and a history of the following prisons: Fort McHenry (Confederate Soldiers) and Andersonville (Union Soldiers).

The National Park Service (NPS) manages 14 National Cemeteries, all but one of which is related to a Civil War battlefield park. In the future, the NPS will be adding all burials in these cemeteries to the CWSS database. The only cemetery listed is the Poplar Grove National Cemetery at Petersburg National Battlefield, and also includes images of the headstones. This cemetery is located 25-miles south of Richmond, VA.

Please pass this research link along to your family members, genealogy buddies, and local libraries as a "must have" link. This database is a wonderful example of your tax dollars at work for historic preservation and making research material available to everyone.


California has a unique history. Four flags have flown over California: Russia, Spain, Mexico, and the United States.

The name "California" came from a knightly romance book that was published in 1510. It was about an island paradise near the Indies where beautiful Queen Califia ruled over a country of beautiful black Amazons with lots of pearls and gold. Men were only allowed there one day a year to help perpetuate the race. Cortez's men thought they found the island in 1535, because they found pearls.

The first settlers to arrive in California after the Native Americans were Spanish, and later Mexican. Russia had some small settlements for the purpose of whaling and fur trapping in Northern California, but Russia didn't attempt to colonize the area except in very isolated areas. Spanish priests were sent to California to covert the Indians to Christianity.

The fight for California began almost 500-years ago with Queen Elizabeth I. She sent Sir Francis Drake to harass and raid the Spanish galleons. England was beginning to realize the value of California. England did not want Spain claiming more land in the new world, upsetting the balance of power between the super powers of the time.

Two hundred years after the superpowers of Spain and England first began to fight over California, Spain decided to send priests in significant numbers in order to start missions. Spain wanted the missions to serve as supply and trading posts for her galleons in addition to the purpose of converting the Indians.

In addition to starting the missions to gain settlers, the Spanish King, and later the Mexican government, gave people land grants to start ranchos and encourage settlers. Eventually, ranchos were given to Anglo settlers to encourage loyalty to Spain and to discourage alliance with the United States.

By the mid 19th Century, California had come from obscurity to statehood because of the Gold Rush, which started in earnest in 1849. Even though California was now part of the United States, coming to California was no small feat. If settlers on wagon trains made it over the Rockies safely, they were often stopped by the hostile Sierra Nevadas.

California ceded from Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, concluded on Feb. 2, 1848, and proclaimed July 4, 1848. From then until statehood, California had a military government until Dec. 20, 1849 when a local civil government was formed. On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st State.

Websites of Interest to Students, Genealogists & Historians

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 5 May 2003 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604