Sunday, November 18, 2012

Are You My Great-Great Grandfather Charles Gilson?

One of the maddening things about researching my family history is that I have no pictures of my ancestors. It seems like everybody else has pictures of their Civil War ancestors, but my family had a particular ability to not have their pictures taken.  I do not know if this is a family trait, I don’t like having my picture taken, or their masterly ability to be anywhere else when the pictures were being taken.   At one time I’m sure there were pictures but they have been lost to the ages.   However, there is an outside chance that, a slim chance that there is a picture of my Great, Great Grandfather Charles Gilson 

                At the United States Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pa. the online research digital photo collection, Civil War, has a picture of an unknown corporal  from Company A 123rd New York Volunteer infantry.   Could this be my ancestor?  I do not know but maybe someone can identify him.   Even if it is not my great-great grandfather, it would be a mystery solved for one descendant of the 123rd NY Vol. Inf. searching  for a photograph of their ancestor.

                The 123rd NY, Vol. Inf. has a joint website with the 28th Georgia Vol. Inf.   This website has the rolls by company of the 123rd.,  as well as a page of pictures of the men.   Of the fourteen corporals-there were eight originally appointed when the company was formed  and six promoted from the ranks during the war. In Company A  four corporals can be identified in the website by their picture.  

                Richards, John; Tanner, Albert;  Durham, Richard; LaPoint, Joseph

Which means, the unidentified corporal in the photo could only be one of ten possible men.

Bosworth, Harvey N,;  Cowan, Eugene;   Cook, Albert;   Dobbin, John;  Gilson, Charles;  Hyatt, Arnold; Janes, Roswell; Manning, William;  Rice, Hiram; Tucker, Charles
                                          Photo is from the U.S. Military History Institute Key word search
                                          123rd New York Infantry   

                So who is the unnamed corporal?  There is a one in ten chance that this is my great-great-grandfather.  It is also 10 to 1 against.  I’m going for the long odds.  If no one claims him in thirty days he’s  mine.  No, I’m only kidding.  I can’t do that; can I?     


  1. Again a great job! I may be the family historian but you certainly give the stories depth. Thanks for all that you are doing to keep the boys alive.

  2. I say he's ours, and theirs nothing anyone else can do about it :)

  3. Thanks Kristen. You gave me a good laugh. We still have 26 day before we can claim him :)