Confederates Soldier on the Road Home

Question: My ancestor was a volunteer in the Georgia cavalry during the Civil War. He was captured in 1863 by the Union army and held prisoner at Ft. Delaware until 1865 when he was paroled. I am trying to find out how he would have gotten back home to Dalton, Ga. Are there any diaries or books about Confederate soldier prisoners?

Answer: Like most of these men, my own Georgia ancestor from the same area included, he probably walked home. For books and records of the sort you need, contact the Georgia State Archives and History, Civil War Records Section, 330 Capitol Ave., SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30334, and request a bibliography of material. You may find mention of your ancestor or others in his cavalry in “The Confederate Veteran” (a 40-volume work), in state military histories or in a county history of Whitfield County, Ga.

Additionally, sources for learning more about prison life of Confederate prisoners at Ft. Delaware can be obtained by consulting Volume II of “Military Bibliography of the Civil War,” compiled by C. E. Dornbusch. This reference book can be found in the U.S. history department of public and university libraries. It contains references to diaries and memoirs of Civil War participants.

Q: Six of my great-grandparents came from Ireland in the 1840s; four of them immigrated to Canada, and I wonder if Canada offered some special attraction to immigrants during that time. I have always been curious about why they originally went to Canada.


A: It was easier for British immigrants to go to Canada than the United States as they automatically became Canadian citizens on settlement. It also was sometimes cheaper. Because of the famine in Ireland at that time, many young people came to Canada and America in search of jobs. In fact, about 1 million Irish left their homeland between 1846 and 1851.

Usually immigrants went to areas where they had family or friends; this probably is the reason why four or your ancestors went first to Canada.

Q: I would like to find the ship passenger list that would show my ancestor, Frank Pinkelman. I believe he was from Prussia and arrived in Philadelphia in 1856. He later settled in Nebraska.

A: There are indexes to some passenger lists for Philadelphia for this time period. In general, these indexes consist of cards that show for each passenger name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, nationality, last permanent residence, destination, port of entry, name of vessel and date of arrival.


First request NATF Form 81 from Reference Services Branch, National Archives and Records Service, 8th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20408.

When you receive it, request the search to the index of Philadelphia 1800-1948. You will be billed for photocopies of the record; the fee is nominal.

Q: Where would I find a ship passenger record of my ancestor, Joseph Douglas, who came from Roxburgh County, Scotland, in 1785 to Philadelphia?

A: Ship passenger lists for Philadelphia do not start until 1800. Since you know where your Scottish ancestor came from, and if you have obtained his naturalization papers, you are ready to continue your research in Scottish records. For additional help in tracing your Scottish families, read “In Search of Scottish Ancestry” by Gerald Hamilton-Edwards, available ($27 ppd.) from Genealogical Publishing Co., 1001 N. Calvert, Baltimore, Md. 21202.