Question: I heard a family story that one of my ancestors who fought in the Civil War was a "galvanized Yankee." What does that mean?
Answer: Galvanized Yankees were Confederate soldiers who had been captured and imprisoned, but were released in exchange for signing an Oath of Allegiance to the Federal government and serving a hitch in the Union Army. Approximately 6,000 captured Confederates eventually formed six regiments that were used mainly to man frontier garrisons where any potential fights would be with American Indian tribes and not former Confederate comrades.
Question: How can I find out when my ancestor arrived in the United States? He served in the Revolutionary War, so I know it was before then.
Answer: There is a series of books edited by P. William Filby called Passenger & Immigration Lists Index. The series began in 1981 as a 3-volume set and has since been continued with supplements. It is now published twice a year by Gale and is widely available. It indexes published works that show a persons first appearance in U.S. records. These can be church membership lists, land records, naturalization records, or a variety of other items that show that a person was here and when. It is not the same as a passenger list, but it can be helpful for entries prior to 1820 when the Federal government began keeping passenger lists. There are some existing passenger lists for the 17th and 18th centuries, and those, for the most part, have been published and are widely available.
Question: Is it possible for a person or family to be counted twice in one census year?
Answer: Yes. There are several situations that come to mind in which a person or whole family might be counted twice, either in the same place or in two different places.
First, families that were moving from one state to another might be counted in one place say, North Carolina leave shortly thereafter, and be picked up by anther census taker in, say, Tennessee. It also sometimes happened that one family member, particularly the father, would move to find a place to live and prepare for the rest of the family to join him, while his wife and children stayed behind. Both husband and wife would list the entire family when visited by the census taker, even though census instructions were quite clear that only those in residence at that address on Census Day were to be counted.
Another situation that comes up is when people who lived in institutions (including boarding schools, hospitals, the military, and prisons) were counted in their institution and were also listed by their family members as living at home.
Finally, in certain censuses, recounts of particular areas have been required. Two notable examples are St. Louis in 1880 and New York City in 1890, though smaller ones may appear from time to time. Information may vary depending on who spoke to the census taker on each visit, how the census taker asked questions, or whether there had been any changes in the family between one visit and the next. In the 1880 St. Louis recount, the original count was done in April, and the recount was done in November. Many families show births, marriages, deaths, and changes in residence and occupation over the intervening months. If you discover that a recount exists for the location you are researching, be sure to look at both enumerations so that you get all the information.
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