Finding Civil War Ancestors

March 11, 2011

So my new issue of Family Tree Magazine arrived last week and I was pleased to see it was entirely devoted to Civil War research. I’ve always been interested in that time period — possibly because I watched Gone with the Wind one too many times as a teenager. But also because one of the few family history stories I heard growing up was about an ancestor who fought in the War Between the States.

John Haworth family

His name was John Leonard Haworth, and he was my great-great grandfather. Fortunately my connection to him was a little closer than that designation ordinarily implies. His daughter Della was my great-grandmother (and the grandmother who raised my father — see my previous posts to get the whole story), and I heard his story directly from her. Which is kind of amazing, if you think about it. I am only one person removed from an event that happened 150 years ago! Wow, no wonder I feel old.

John Haworth was one of four brothers raised in east Tennessee. Union sympathizers, they all enlisted in the same unit — the 3rd Tennessee Infantry, Company K. John’s oldest brother William was killed in the battle of Resaca, Ga., on May 14, 1864; John and another brother David were wounded in the same battle. John walked with a cane for the remainder of his life as a result of that injury. Long before I got interested in genealogy, my dad had done some research into the Haworth family and discovered David Haworth had kept a diary during the war that has survived and been preserved by the family. You can even read excerpts of the diary on their website.

Anyway, the new issue of Family Tree Magazine has an article on the 10 best Civil War websites (Plus subscribers can read the article online), and I immediately jumped on one of them,, to start looking for records. I was able to find service records on all four brothers! There’s a lot of information to go through, but one fact I did find was that John was only 14 when he enlisted! I’ll be writing more about the Haworth brothers and some of my other Civil War ancestors in the next few weeks. Such as one rascal, a Confederate soldier who switched sides toward the end of the war and then had the guts to request (and receive!) a Union pension. In the meantime, I better get cracking on my research. So many websites, so little time…


PS: When you get your copy of the May 2011 Family Tree Magazine, take a peek at page 12. You may see someone you recognize.

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

Leave a Reply