Friday, December 23, 2011

Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Ordering Records for the Gates Family

The second blog post I wrote, on April 27, was on the experience of being sent information on the Gates Family, a vital resource for one of my husband's lines. Up until the past year I always said I would not work on his family history, as I have plenty of my own work to do. Then on my fourth post, on May 4, I wrote about an experience of connecting with another family genealogist for the LeBlanc line. These two contacts provided a great deal of documentation on the family research that saved us a considerable amount of time and financial costs.

Now I am working on an article for the three brothers of the Gates family, who served in the War of 1812, to be published in the next issue of the Bulletin for the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. The information available online at and is certainly very helpful. After methodically reviewing the sixty-three page pension file for Ardil Gates and his widow Rachel Longstreet Gates, I needed to pursue further information. His brother David's widow also had a pension file. Both brothers received bounty land grants. Another brother, Richard, has no record of either and this may be due to his early death in 1856. Of the nine children in their family, with only one other brother who did not have a service record in the indexes, this family certainly supported the United States in this war.

I do not want to give away too much of the story, but will share the best serendipity moment so far in this research. After looking for further resources, I came across the website for the New York State Archives. Being that the brothers served in the New York State Militia, this is a wonderful resource. They have information about ordering War Service Records and provide a search request form. They will do a search for five types of records:
Revolutionary War land grants to Continental officers and soldiers $3
War of 1812 payroll cards and veterans' claims post-1859 $3
Civil War abstracts of muster rolls $3
Spanish-American War summary service cards $1
World War I summary service cards $1

So, tonight I filled out three request forms for the three brothers, enclosing a $3 check for each, and will mail them tomorrow. For information about ordering see the New York State Archives War Service Records Search Request, New York State Archives Cultural Education Center Room 11A36 Albany, NY 12230.

They actually return the check if no record is found, which is incredible in the world of genealogy research. I really hope they find lots of records and send it soon so I can use the information in the article. It is unfortunate that they only deal in snail mail, but for this price the wait will be worth the service that they provide. I will post the results of the requests when they arrive.

Now back to the Christmas rush and a very busy week for the LeBlanc family. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family, friends and associates.

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