As we prepare to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I thought I’d join in on Bill West‘s Civil War Blog Challenge and write a little blurb on each of our Civil War ancestors.

My ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. John Edwards: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Canada, but immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1851. He was born in 1848, so he must have been very young during the war. He served in Co. G of the 9th Michigan Infantry.  I am still waiting on his pension records, so I don’t have the full details on what his injuries were (if any).
  2. John Henry Becker: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1852. He enlisted as a private in Co. H of Cole Co. Reg’t of Missouri Home Guards in June of 1861. He was discharged in October of that same year.  He then enlisted again in July 1862, this time as a Second Lieutenant.  In October of 1864, he was commanding a company in a battle.  They were sustaining a  battery of artillery and this caused his deafness.  He was discharged in March 1865.
  3. Jacob Frederick Sanchez-Tereso : (my 2nd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. in about 1849.  He enlisted in August of 1862 in Co. F of the 33rd Regiment of Iowa Infantry. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1863.   He was discharged in July of 1865.
  4. Samuel Edward Lee: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in abt. 1823 in Montgomery county, VA.  In 1863, he enlisted as a private in Co. A 37 Va Cavalry Battalion for the Confederacy.  He was wounded in the right arm on Christmas Day 1863 in a skirmish at Bunker Cove, Tennessee.  He was wounded by a ball which entered beneath middle of right clavicle on upper edge of right scapula.  It caused his arm to be paralyzed and atrophied and he could not use it in manual labor.  He died in Virginia in 1891.
  5. Austin Agee: (my 3rd great-grandfather)  He was born in 1820 in Patrick County, VA.  According to his wife’s pension record, he was in Abe Reynold’s Company, which left Patrick County in 1864, and also with the Virginia militia.   The pension record does not state if he received any injuries.  He died after the war, in 1890.
  6. Hugh M. Robertson: (my 3rd great-grandfather’s brother).  Hugh worked as a teacher before the war. He enlisted in August of 1862 in Washington, Iowa.  He was killed in action by the explosion of a shell while serving as  a Corporal in Co. A. , 25th Reg’t of Iowa Infantry at Jackson, Mississippi.  He died before marrying or having children.
  7. Henry Pottgen: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother).  He was born in about 1843 in Illinois.  He was the only support for his mother, Sophia (Ross) Pottgen for five years before the war.  He enlisted in Co. C, 13th Regt. U.S. Infantry, 1st Batt. in March of 1862.  By October 1863, he had died of chronic diarrhea.  His mother, Sophia, received a mother’s pension.
  8. George Turner Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother)  He died while on the floating hospital “Nashville” near Millikens Bend, Louisiana in May of 1863.
  9. Adam Potter Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother). He was born in 1839 in PA and enlisted in in Co. D. 13th Iowa Vol. Inf. while living at Washington, IA in 1864.  His older brother George had already been killed in the war the previous year.  He lived until 1915, and for a number of years lived in a soldier’s home.


My husband also had ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. Ward Pierce: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather)  He enlisted at Camden, NJ in August of 1861. He was in a hospital, ill with something in June of 1862 and was discharged that same month.  He enlisted again as a Private in Co. G, commanded by Capt Theo W Baker in the 6th Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers.  Later, the 6th and 8th Regiments were consolidated and he served in Co. E 8th Regiment NJ Vols.  He was wounded on June 8, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor. He had been hit in the left thigh with a shell and ended up in the hospitals at Newark and Davids Island for 15 months, before he was discharged in August of 1865. In his pension records, he stated that the scar (which was 6 1/2 by 4 inches), ulcerated and pained him greatly, not allowing him to do hard labor.
  2. Hedger Pierce: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was Ward Pierce’s father.He enlisted in January of 1864 and was a Private in Company “I” of the 10th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers.  He was wounded while at Laurel Hill, VA in May of 1864.  He was hit by a musket ball in the left shoulder. He appears to have been sent to a number of hospitals – in D.C., Philadelphia, Davids Island, and Newark. In later years, he became paralyzed and his son Ward had to take care of him, despite his own injuries.
  3. George Spencer: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather). He was born in England in 1826 and immigrated to New York in 1851.  He enlisted on Christmas Eve of 1863 and mustered in on the 5th of January. He was sent to Baltimore, Maryland to join Company D. of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery. He participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor in June of 1864.  In August of 1864, he was captured and taken to Belle Isle prison. This was an open-air prison located on an island in the James River near Richmond, Virginia that provided no shelter.  There was poor sanitation, insufficient food supplies, and a lack of clothing and blankets for prisoners.  While being held captive here, George became very sick.  He developed a cold due to exposure. He was paroled in October.  He participated in the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  On May 23, 1865, he and his unit traveled to Washington, D.C. to march with the Army of the Potomac in the Grand Review.  After the war, he still suffered from chronic diarrhea and problems with being much weaker than before the war. 
  4. James Baker: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was born in PA in 1824 and enlisted in March of 1865 in Co. F. 74th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  When he came back from the war, he suffered horribly from chronic diarrhea.  (this seems to have been a very common complaint).  He moved his family to Tennessee and then on to Kansas in hopes of recovering.  He died in Kansas in 1885.
  5. Peter Henry Weeks: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather).  He was born in New York in 1842, but moved with his family to Indiana and then on to Iowa and later Kansas.  He enlisted in April of 1862 in Co. I. 5th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.   He came down with the mumps while he was in service and was discharged in November of that same year.  He then enlisted again, this time in 1863 in Co. D. 8th Iowa Cavalry.  He was mustered out in August 1865 in Macon, Georgia – just down the road from where we live now.:)

Since I have been very lucky to have visited a number of Civil War battlefields this past year, I feel even more of a connection to these ancestors who served and suffered during this war.

Some of the places I was able to visit are: Gettysburg, Manassas, Chickamauga & Chatanooga, Appomattox Court House, Ft. Pulaski, Ft. McAllister, and Fort Scott.  I’ll be visiting Ft. Sumter in May.:)

  • Dee Blakley - April 10, 2011 - 9:09 pm

    So many lives changed – both for the soldiers and their families.

    I wonder if the average person on the street knows what impact the Civil War had on their family?

    Great post.ReplyCancel

  • Hillary - April 12, 2011 - 5:59 pm

    You have a very nice blog. I really enjoy reading it!

    I am passing on to you the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

    You can stop by my blog and grab your award and pass it on to blogs you enjoy!

  • Bill West - April 14, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    I don’t think people today realize how disease killed more people in the Civil War than war wounds.

    Thanks for contributing this to the Challenge!ReplyCancel

  • Mike B. - April 18, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    A great post. There are such great stories in each person’s life. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

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Olga was born the 6th of 10 known children of Carl Magnus Klarström and Christina Elisabeth Bennberg, on 29 April 1877 in Älvkarleby, Uppsala, Sweden.  Älvkarleby is near Gävle, on the Eastern coast of Sweden.


As I looked at the birth record a little closer, I noticed the word “Skutskar”.

I found Skutskar using Google Maps. I love the internet.:)It is a town just north of Alvkarleby.  I couldn’t seem to decipher first word though.   I figured out that the Gifta 1868 means that her parents were married in 1868.  I believe that Klamparen is her father’s occupation and he must have worked in Skutskar.  That’s my educated guess since I saw it on a number of her siblings birth records also.  I tried looking up Klamparen in the dictionary, but was unable to find it.  Luckily, I posted a question on Genealogy Wise and someone quickly replied that “a  klampare is a person, who works in the sawmill and sorts pieces of wood which are cut out in different shapes and sizes.”  So, Carl Klarstrom worked at a sawmill.

The Klarstrom family moved to Lenhovda in 1885, to Alem in 1889, and to Gavle in 1890. Olga’s father Carl died in Gavle in 1890.

Olga left Sweden in 1892 at the age of 15, heading for Boston.  I know that two of her older sisters, Maria and Christina were both married and living in Boston already.  Perhaps she went to live with one of them.

I have included the two people next to her on the passenger list out of Goteborg.  I don’t recognize their names, but they were both also headed to Boston and one was from Lenhovda and the other from Alvkarleby – both places that her family had lived before Gavle.  Could they be friends or cousins of some sort?

I then found her again traveling from Sweden to America in 1898. I’m not sure if she was simply visiting on her first trip over. Maybe she worked for a while and then returned home. I don’t know. But this time, she was traveling with her younger sister Klara, who was only 13. They were both listed as servants.


In the 1900 census, Olga was living at 637 Dudley Street in Boston, as a servant to George Bartlett, a widower and his single daughter. She was the only servant in the household.  I wonder if it was lonely being a solitary servant.  Was her work hard?  Did she have time off to visit with her sisters?

By the 1910 census, she had found a new position.  She was living on Fairfield Street in Boston and working as a maid to an architect, Francis R. Allen and his wife.  There were 3 other servants living in the house, so she appears to have had company.:)

I did a little searching and found that Francis R. Allen was quite a famous architect during that time period. I wonder if he gave lavish parties that she had to work at.

She left America again in June of 1910 and returned in November of the same year, this time with her mother, Christina (Bennberg) Klarstrom.  Was her mother coming to visit or work?  I am not sure how long she stayed. Olga was listed as a dressmaker this time.

I then found her in another arrival list in 1912.  She had been in Sweden again.  It stated that her last permanent residence was in Beverly Farms, MA – north of Boston.

It also stated that she was headed to Woods Hole, MA – which is quite a ways south of Boston.

It looks like she was moving around from one position to another quite a bit.  Was this normal for a servant of this time period?  I guess I envisioned servants staying with one family for years and years.  I have a feeling that part of the reason she continued to find new positions, was that she made frequent trips back to Sweden.  I was unable to find her in the 1920 census – perhaps she was in Sweden again.

I found her leaving New York for Sweden in 1923.  Her residence was listed as Springvale, Connecticut.

She returned to America in October of that same year.  This time, she was listed as a “sick nurse” and she was heading to Boston.

In 1924, she signed her Declaration of Intent.  At the time, she was living at 1125 Lexington Avenue in New York City – a few blocks from Central Park.  She was listed as a trained nurse.

She was naturalized in 1928. In 1928, she was living at “The Caravela” in Cohasset, Massachusetts.

In the 1930 census, she was living at the Woodward Hotel on West 55th Street in Manhatten.  From what I gather, the building is still standing, but it is now called “The Dream Hotel”.  She was listed as a nurse at the hotel.

(the picture found while I was searching Google Maps)

In 1936, she arrived in New York from Sweden yet again.  This time she was living at 14 Perham Street in West Roxbury, MA.

And lastly, I found her in the Social Security Death Index.  It stated that she died25 May 1970 in Norwood, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

As far as I can gather, she never married and never had any children.  She obviously did a lot of traveling back and forth between Sweden and MA/NY.  I wonder if she ever went to visit my great-grandmother (her sister) in Seattle.

  • Linda Gartz - April 13, 2011 - 10:20 pm

    I loved following along with your sleuthing to discover Olga’s wanderings, her father’s occupation (knowing foreign language words makes for huge breakthroughs), using the census data, mapping it all out. It What a fantastic trip — hers — and yours. Very impressive research and beautiful sharing. Congratulations on your Top 40 Status!ReplyCancel

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Robert Emanuel Klarstrom was the fifth child of Carl Magnus Klarstrom and Christina Elisabeth Bennberg.

He was born on 24 April 1875 in Alvkarleby, Sweden.

His family moved to Lenhovda when he was ten, then on to Alem for a year and then to Gavle.

When he was 18, he boarded a ship bound for Boston, with his older brother Hjalmar.  His sister Maria was already living in Boston at the time.  Did he stay with her family?

The only trace of him I’ve found after this immigration record, is the 1900 census.
He was living in Odell Twp, Fall River County, South Dakota as a boarder to Gustav Johnson. He was working as a sandstone quarryman.

Fall River county appears to be in the middle of nowhere!

I then found a Robert Klarstrom in the 1910 census (although the birth year and immigration dates are off a bit).  It might be him.  This Robert was living in Gales Creek Precinct, Washington County, Oregon – on a Rail Road Construction gang.  Could this be my Robert?

Did he die working on the railroads?  Did he return to Sweden?


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Wow.  Another week has somehow zipped by.  Time seems to be getting away from me.  Maybe it’s because the movers will be at my house in less than three weeks!  Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re taking yet another trip to Disney World next week.  Whatever it is, I feel like it had better slow down a bit or I’m not going to get everything on my to-do list done.:)

Here are some of my favorites from this past week:

  1. I loved reading Cynthia of Heritage Zen’s  3 part series “A Comedy of Errors: My Family in the Census.”  Make sure you study up for the quiz at the end.:)
  2. You still have time to join in on Bill West’s Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge over at West in New England.  I’m writing my post this weekend.  Hopefully I can get it done before we head to Florida again on Monday.:)  The deadline for your post is Sunday at midnight.
  3. And thank you to Michelle of The Turning of Generations for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get my blog reading organized.  I’ve been putting it off for months, but it’s gotten absolutely out of control and it had to be organized.  I now feel like I can navigate through my blog subscriptions with ease.
  4. The 104th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is out.  Head on over to Creative Gene to peruse the great articles – this edition’s theme is “Cars”.
  5. Are you heading to the NGS Conference next month?  If you are, have you added your surnames to the Surname Catalog? Who knows, you might find a long-lost cousin!!
  6. I also loved the post “Never Say Never” written by Deborah at “Irish Genealogy: Help!  The Faery Folk Hid My Ancestors”
  7. Judy from Curbow-Montoya Family’s post on being an Army Brat really hit home with me.  I personally grew up in one spot, so I never had to deal with being the new kid.  I’ve married into the military though and have 5 little “Army Brats” of my own.  I often wonder how they will look back on all of our moving around.
  8. Have you been following Cheryl Palmer’s series on the Great Swedish Adventure?  She’s up to Part 7 and it’s getting exciting!  Click on over to Heritage Happens and wish her good luck!!
  9. Head over to Finding Family Stories to read about Tami’s 8th great-grandfather in the post “The Sad Story of Godfrey Nims
  10. Grab some tissues and read Sheri from the Educated Genealogist’s post, “Moments Like This Are Why I Love My Job“.
  11. I finally sat down and set up a genealogy-only Twitter account.  I really didn’t want to bore people who were following to hear about homeschooling or mommyhood with my dead ancestors.  If you feel so inclined, you can start following me on twitter – the link is in my sidebar.
  12. A big thank you to my long-time friend Cherie at Have You Seen My Roots? She managed to make my faded baby from this week’s Wordless Wednesday a little less faded.  Amazing, huh? Now if only I could figure out who it is!

  • Sheri Fenley - April 8, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Thank you so much for the mention Jen. I’ll let you in on something – I never intended for the post to be a tear jerker, just a happy ending. But even I got a little teary when I went back and re-read it! LOLReplyCancel

  • Bill West - April 8, 2011 - 11:05 am

    Thanks for the shout out, Jen!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy B. - April 8, 2011 - 11:53 am

    OOH! Excited about the Civil War blog challenge. Thanks for the heads-up, Jen! I think I’ll have some time on Sunday to whip up something about my Civil War ancestors.ReplyCancel

  • Adam Glenn - April 8, 2011 - 8:28 pm

    I also like the Never Say Never post. Thanks for picking some blogs to read, I’ll have to try reading some of them. I get most of my new blog reading through review posts like yours.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Goodrum - April 9, 2011 - 2:52 am

    You’re welcome. I hope your blog reading is as efficient, enjoyable and under control as mine is now!ReplyCancel

    • Jen - April 9, 2011 - 10:14 am

      Michelle – it is! I think I’ve saved myself a lot of time and frustration now. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather Rojo - April 10, 2011 - 4:11 pm

    Some great ideas for reading tonight! I’m just back from NERGC and I need to catch up on reading blogs. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Palmer - April 10, 2011 - 6:30 pm

    Hi Jen! Thank you so much for highlighting my blog series! It is greatly appreciated! I have been so busy this week, I see I have lots of blog reading to catch up with now! I appreciate the mention, again, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia Shenette - April 15, 2011 - 6:17 pm

    Jen – Thanks so much for the shout out! I’m finally getting caught up on my reading after three days at NERGC and an overly busy week. Thanks again.

    How did you do on the quiz by the way? 😉ReplyCancel

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Hjalmar Alexander Klarstrom was born in March of 1873 in Alvkarleby, Sweden.  He was the fourth child of Carl Magnus Klarstrom and Christina Elisabeth Bennberg.

His family moved from Alvkarleby to Lenhovda in 1885, from Lenhovda to Alem in 1889, and on to Gavle in 1890, where his father died that year.

At 20 years old, on 26 May 1893, he left Goteborg for Boston with his younger brother Robert.

His older sister, Maria, had been in Boston for ten years and was already married with a young daughter at this time.  Perhaps they stayed with her family when they arrived.

I thought that he would be easy to find.  Hjalmar isn’t exactly that common of a name, after all (but I was really surprised at how common of a name it is in Sweden).  It means “helmet- warrior” in Old Norse, by the way.

I have no trace of him after his immigration record though.

I wonder if he may have Americanized his name.  What would Hjalmar be changed to anyway?  I am having a hard time making a guess since I can’t even figure out how to pronounce it. Or perhaps he went by his middle name instead.  I didn’t find any trace of an Alexander Klarstrom either though.

I wonder what happened to him?  His sisters were so easy to trace in the Boston area.  Why did he disappear?  Maybe he only used Boston as a jumping off point for further adventures.  Did he head West?  Did he work for a while and return to Sweden?

Perhaps I’ll never know…

  • Liz - April 9, 2011 - 1:48 am

    Jen. I am really enjoying this series. I may borrow your idea and do posts on my grand aunts and uncles,
    I am so far behind… Congrats on your blog anniversary and being named a top 40 blog!
    I hope to see you at NGS.ReplyCancel

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