25 April 2015

Using Iowa GAR Membership Records at FamilySearch

FamilySearch recently updated their GAR membership records for Iowa.

These records are unindexed and organized by GAR post. The microfilm (and digital images) are organized by county, and then by post. There is an "index" that appears in the county listing (there is one post, called "nulla" which then takes you to the actual "index."

That "index" tells you what post numbers are within what county, organized by counties. There are then two lists of posts sorted numerically on this "nulla" roll:

  • A post listing--which starts at image 7
  • Posts of the Permanent Iowa Department-which starts at image 21
If you know the county of residence, you will have to search all the posts within that county. The cards are sorted alphabetically within the post. 

In my case, I knew the county of residence and had the GAR post number from a biography. 

The cards for David Aquilla Newman provided information on his military career and his personal life. 

David's entry was atypical in that it also contained a newspaper obituary for him clipped from an unknown paper. A quick look at other entries did not locate many that had supplemental information of this type.
Undated and unsourced apparent obituary for David Aquille[sic] Newman
appearing in his GAR membership record file
for Iowa GAR members.
 My citation for the apparent obituary of David needs to indicate that it was located in his GAR membership record and that the actual date and place of publication is unknown.

Of course the information on the GAR membership card needs to be validated with other records, particularly David's service record and other military materials. There's nothing to suggest that the information on the card is wrong, just that errors can easily be made.

Note: There is a PDF file with information on Iowa GAR posts on this site from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (thanks to Keith R. for pointing this file out to me).