“I think I had a relative who fought in the Civil War or at Gettysburg.” “How can I find out more?” Visitors frequently ask this question to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. Help is here.
Through collaboration with our National Park Service partner – Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site – we have reopened to the public the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Resource Room inside the Museum & Visitor Center. After being closed for two years due to the pandemic, the Resource Room has been given a refresh with new equipment. Gettysburg National Military Park and Gettysburg Foundation volunteers are ready to assist you in locating your relative who fought in the Civil War.
The computer resources in the room include an institutional subscription to Ancestry.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com. Numerous maps and printed reference titles are available. All the names on the Pennsylvania Memorial and a detailed printed list of Union and Confederate casualties during the Battle of Gettysburg can be found in the Resource Room. Our volunteer staff is here to assist you. Use of the room, resources and time for discovery is free of charge. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Civil War soldier in your family tree. By uncovering a soldier’s regiment or affiliation, users can learn the basic information necessary to lead them to more primary source materials.
Visitors do not need an appointment to visit the Resource Room. It is best if you come with as much information as possible, including the full name, date of birth, date of death and any information or description of the unit where the soldier may have served during the war. The resources are available to research Union and Confederate soldiers. While the Resource Room does not contain official records from the war, our volunteer staff can assist in searching the information in the databases available here. They will help you to find the necessary historical data to lead researchers to pension and service records located in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Historians estimate that for those of us who have ancestors who lived during the Civil War era (1861-1865), about half of us have a relative who fought in the Civil War.
Now thanks to the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation Resource Room and our volunteer staff, the task of discovering your Civil War connection is more accessible. Currently, the Resource Room is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
We look forward to assisting you in researching your Civil War ancestry.
Wayne E. Motts
President and CEO, Gettysburg Foundation
First appeared in the Gettysburg Foundation's column in the June 27, 2022, edition of the Gettysburg Times.