My Research & Resources 

Civil War 48th Illinois Infantry

Years of research for my great great grandfather, Anderson Avitts, led me to a plethera of extensive records and resources on the Illinois 48th Infantry of the Civil War.  These years of research are available here, including a great tribute song to Pharoah's Army in the Battle of Shiloh - pictured here at one of the locations the 48th Illinois Infantry was stationed during this battle in Tennessee.


The Struggle That Defined our Great Nation

These websites and research publishings are dedicated to my great great grandfathers:
Anderson Avits, who served in the Union in his unit &
William Armstrong Erwin, Texas Volunteer CSA
Respectfully pictured

Historical Records

We love dusty books and cemeteries

Primary sources are the bedrock of good genealogy. Proof of kinship exists in numerous record types and is often understandable only in a broader context of family, associates and neighbors (FANs). While today much can be done online, research usually requires visits to archives, back rooms of court houses, cemeteries, historical societies, etc. I've been there, done that, and am passionate about helping others explore their ancestors.

Genetic Genealogy

Validation, discovery and surprises

Genetic genealogy has several purposes: it validates historical research, it can break through brick walls and it can offer us surprise discoveries. If you test, expect surprises! Most of us are not as far out on the haplotree branches as Georg Dunkel (illustration), but the detail now available for Baltic ancestors will soon be widespread. The branches are defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and your Y-DNA tests may reveal "novel SNPs" that define new branches. Autosomal DNA tests are valuable in finding or validating close kin (cousins, second cousins, etc.). This is particularly useful for adoptees seeking their biological family. 

Medical Genealogy

Deciphering old medical histories

Ancestors had to justify their need for and qualification for pensions or other benefits. These and other records provide insights about their health. Epidemics sometimes killed many family members, such as Abraham Lincoln's mother and other kin from milk sickness. Medical terminology was different and now nearly extinct diseases were then prevalent. Lifespans were short, largely because of now preventable causes of premature mortality. Shown here is Anderson Avitts' medical history of his fatal diabetes, which followed an infection while serving in the Union Army. The discovery of insulin was decades away and he withered away from the ravages of the disease.  My extensive medical and history backgrounds affords me the unique expertise in identifying and understanding genealogical medical records. 

Genetic Case Study

Breaking through a brick wall

Terrell Davis ... both names will prove important ... was a decades long enigma. He first appeared in historical records with his 1829 marriage in Wilson Co., TN and the 1830 census showing his birth in North Carolina. His wife's extensive family had migrated from Wake Co., NC to Wilson Co., TN; but there was no record of Terrell Davis there. But, in 1992, a bastardy bond was discovered naming the parents as Salley Davis and Jeptha Terrell. That clue lay domant until Y-DNA testing became available, A Davis cousin's test matched with numerous Terrell patrilineal descendants and with no Davis. Eureka! Subsequent, more focused research generated considerably more evidence and led to futher identification of Terrell Davis' ancestors in both the Terrell and Davis lines. Look for a future blog on this case study.