Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Confederate Amnesty Papers on Footnote.com

I've been checking out the different databases on www.Footnote.com in an effort to understand what is available and to determine how these databases might help myself and some of my genealogy society colleagues.

While I don't have any Confederate Soldiers, or even citizens in the South after the Civil War, I know that many of my colleagues do, so I was curious about the Confederate Amnesty Papers collection.

I input "Seaver" in the search box on Footnote, then scrolled down the list of matches and clicked on the Confederate Amnesty Papers collection, which had five matches for the search criteria. Here is the Search results screen:

I've not heard of William B. Seaver before, so I clicked on the thumbnail picture of one of the pages in his file. The first page of his file opened in the screen below:

Like many records, these papers are in a packet. The screen above shows the first image - of the cover of the packet. I changed the magnification by using the + and - Zoom bar at the top left of the screen. Below the image, there is a film strip that shows that there are four images in this packet.

The second and third images are a handwritten letter by William B. Weaver, with an affidavit at the bottom of the third image, as shown below.

The fourth image is a certificate that William B. Weaver took an oath before the Judge of Probate in Lowndes County, Mississippi that he would faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union, dated 18 November 1865.

Note that each image on the screen has a partial Source listing in the right-hand panel on the screen. In this case, these records were from NARA Publication M1003, Applications from Former Confederates for Presidential Pardons (Amnesty Papers), 1865-1867. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide a page number to identify where in the publication the record occurs.

The user can download this page to their hard drive using the Save button on the top menu row, Share it by sending the image to an email address, or Print it. If you print, you get a Footnote logo and image number in the margin of the printed page.

The Confederate Amnesty Papers may provide excellent information about persons - the letters and affidavits may summarize service records, family situation, occupation, locality, etc., in addition to providing a signature of the person in question. These ore original source records with primary information and direct evidence of part of a person's life story - the best type of record that a researcher wants to find more of!

I found it interesting that this record was for William B. Weaver, but was indexed as William B. Seaver. Mr. Weaver's descendants may be surprised to find this after I flag it for review by Footnote.com to get the name changed.

1 comment:

Gordon said...


I work for Footnote and have updated the index to now be Weaver.