Question: My great grandfather served in the Civil War and was a prisoner at Andersonville. However, I am unable to find him when I search the archives using his name and Andersonville. His name was John Aziza Jones born April 22, 1840 died May 10, 1941. Can you help?
Answer: First, I looked for John in the 1930 census – it’s the most recent one available and it lists if a man is a veteran and of which war. I found John living with his son Clifford in Filmore, Allegany County, New York. You don’t see many Civil War Veterans still alive in 1930, so this in itself is a very interesting find.
This same census record shows that John is widowed and was first married at the age of 22, so around 1862. It also indicates he was born in New York as were his parents and that he lives with his son, who rents a house for $15 per month, owns a radio set and works as a bookkeeper in a produce company. Any of this detail could come in handy later.
But since it’s John’s time in Andersonville that I’m interested in, I go to the New York state place page to see what is available in the New York Military records.
I first search U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 and discover way too many John Jones to make any sense of. I move on to New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900. The first record is for John A. Jones born in 1840 in Allegany, New York. It all looks very promising.
Based on the middle name, I believe this is the right John Jones. And the remarks on this card are great:
Promoted to Srg’t Jan 17 1863 – missing in action since April 20, 1864 at battle of Plymouth N. C. paroled prisoner confined at Andersonville GA
I would suspect that he was captured in April 1864 in Plymouth, North Carolina, and released sometime before 13 June 1865 when he left the organization. And it appears that he was in Andersonville near the end of the war.
I found his pension card, in our Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861 – 1934.