Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bunny trails!

I am so bad about going off on tangents and that might be why I don’t get as much work done as I should.  A friend of mine sent me an email that said, “I am interested in the War with Mexico right now.  Have a possible lead on one of my grandfathers.  Any idea where to start?”  That was all it took.  I don’t have anyone in my file that fought in the Mexican American War… that I know of.  When I read the email I realized I hadn’t really looked at this records set.  I went to Fold3 to see what they have and they have a lot so off I go on a bunny trail.  I thought I had my day planned out but I was wrong.  This is just too good not to look at. 

So what is my strategy?   According to THIS CHART I need to be looking at males that were born between 1796 and 1831.  They also had to have died after 1848 (the end of the war).   In Legacy I tagged just my direct line and their spouses, siblings of my direct line and spouses of the siblings.  Since I only need to be concerned with my dad’s side of the family (my mother’s entire line is in Germany) I used my dad as the anchor for the tagging instead of me.  I tagged his ancestors on Tag 1.




I then did a tiered search.  I will have to do this TWICE because I have more than three parameters.

ss 1


After I create this search list I have to get my last parameter in.



I ended up with 25 men that could have fought in the Mexican American War.



Did I capture EVERYONE that could have served?  Probably not because I have people in my file that have approximate birth and death dates that might skew is.  I will say that this is one reason you want to always have at least an estimated birth and death date for everyone in your file so that it will be more likely they will be captured on searches like this.  You can use abt. bef. aft. bet. cal. est.

I would now tag just these men on a different tag. 



Now that these men are tagged, I can flip through them one at a time and check to see if they are on Fold3.  As I do this I will create a new To-Do task so that I will have a record of the search.  Why?  If Fold3 adds additional records later I will want to search again.  I need to know when I searched the records originally.  If the search produces something I can create a military service event with the details and then download the images and attach them to the event.  I can create a source using the SourceWriter Templates and attach the source to all of the relevant things I added.  If the search is negative, I would record that in the To-Do task.  When I create the source I will put the source on the Source Clipboard so that I can use it with everyone on the list, I will only need to change the details.

Here are some additional resources for the Mexican American War if you don’t have Fold3.

From FamilySearch:

United States Mexican War Index and Service Records, 1846-1848

United States Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926

U.S., American Volunteer Soldiers, Mexican War, 1845-1848
Record of the services of Illinois soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8

If y’all know of anymore online sites for Mexican American War records post them in the comments.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Thanks for the advice on using tags and search parameters, Michele. I have not yet used these features in Legacy. Your hints are always useful. Maybe these could be covered in one of the User Group webinar sometime?

  2. I discovered by accident that my Prussian immigrant ancestor (abt 20 yrs old) who was in NE Louisiana (as well as his brother-in-law) received 160 Acres from service in the Mexican War. I was using the BLM GLO records searching on a large area of land to see who the original owners were. There they were much to my surprise. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find either of them on Fold 3.

  3. Sounds good to me. I will mention it to Geoff :)

  4. I'm trying to use this technique to tag only those people whom I would share DNA with, but can't seem to do it. Obviously I need my direct line and their siblings, but then I need the sibling's descendants, but not the spouse's or spouse's parents. Any suggestions or guides for that please?

    1. This is a bit complicated and will require some manual tagging. Since you are a female you could do this with mtDNA and with atDNA. There is a cheat way to do mtDNA. Starting with your most distant direct line female ancestor (your mother's mother's mother's mother's mother etc) go to Legacy Charting. You will see that there are TWO mtDNA charts. Here is the difference. A standard mtDNA chart will show you the females that carry the same mtDNA and the first generation males. Remember, mother pass their mtDNA to both their daughters AND their sons but the sons can not pass it down any further. Their children will get their mtDNA from their mothers. The Carriers only chart will just show you the females and it will leave the men off. Personally, I think this is a better option. You can print this chart and then simply tag the people in it. This shouldn't be too bad because you are only looking at the female descendants of one specific person.

      You will do something similar for atDNA. In this case you need to know all of your endline ancestors and the best way to do this is to print a pedigree chart with you as the anchor and then circle your endline ancestor couples. One thing though. atDNA is really only useful for 6 generations so you might want to limit yourself to just 6. Now you are going to need to tag the descendant of each of these endline ancestors. Go to Tools> Advanced Tagging. Put the first ancestor in the box. Select Descendants. You will have to do this for each endline ancestors. Put everyone on the same tag. Now here is the tricky part. You are going to have to go in and untag the spouse manually. The easiest way to do this is by creating a search list with just that tag. You can untag people right from the search list and over on the right pane you can see their full details so you can easily see if they are the spouse of a descendant and not a descendant. It might take you a while but you can do this in sessions. As you clear the tags they will no longer show up on your search list.

    2. Thanks Michele - the long way is kind of what I was afraid of and it's the atDNA connections I want to mark.

    3. Ah well, look at it this way, it is an opportunity to go through and recheck your data :)