The Society of Civil War Families of Jefferson County, Ohio
SPECIFICATIONS and RULES of EVIDENCE
Any member of the Jefferson County Society who is a direct descendant, or a collateral relative, of any persons who served in the Civil War, for the Union or the Confederacy, is eligible to become a member of The Society of Civil War Families of Jefferson County. The person must have lived, died, or served in Jefferson County. Service is not limited to an Ohio outfit. "Squirrel Hunters" and "Spies", male or female, are also eligible. Each application will be judged on its own merits.
You must submit an application and the documentation that will prove the relationship. There must be documentation for each generation, including yours, your parents, grandparents, etc. The application fee is $15.00, to be paid when you send in your application and accompanying documents.
Rules of Evidence
Please take time to read and become familiar with these rules.
Follow them carefully when you prepare your papers.
The rules of evidence applying to membership follow and are the standards by which all SCWFO documentation will be judged. There are no exceptions. The dates of service must be between 12 April 1861 (the bombardment of Fort Sumter) and 18 April 1865 (when Joseph E. Johnston (C.S.A.) surrendered to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, N.C.). The nature and extent of the evidence submitted as documentation shall be sufficient to show that the applicant is a direct descendant or collateral relative of the person or persons who performed for the Union or the Confederacy. Documentation must be sufficient to differentiate between any two persons of the same name. Each document submitted, whether primary or secondary evidence, must include a full citation with volume and page number, e.g., Marriage Records, Athens County, Ohio, Volume 10, pg. 137. Copies of vital records are acceptable, if the seal is visible on the copy (see #13). If there is no vital record, we require two secondary proofs that support the same event or date, such as a newspaper clipping, county history or family record (see #3).
1. Proof of Military Service can be found in enlistment, discharge, pension or other federal, confederate, or state government documents.
2. Primary or collateral evidence from vital statistics, courthouse or other government records, such as discharge or pension papers, usually is considered excellent documentation. Other primary evidence might include Bible records (which must be contemporary with the publication date of the Bible or events), or diaries/letters written by the serviceman or woman.
3. Secondary evidence such as census records, newspaper clippings (must give the name of the paper, location, page and date of publication) might be used as corroborative evidence. County histories and family records contemporary to the facts reported are considered as supporting evidence only.
4. Circumstantial evidence WILL NOT be accepted as documentation unless supported by primary or secondary evidence.
5. Oral, written or published family traditions may be in error and CANNOT be accepted as documentation.
6. Printed or manuscript genealogies, genealogical records or compilations, family group sheets and charts, family reunion records and similar material are not considered documentation.
7. Lineage papers from other patriotic or hereditary societies will not be considered as documentation.
8. Documents must either alone or with other acceptable materials, actually STATE THE FACT TO BE DOCUMENTED. Unnamed individuals specified in court records as “heirs” or “heirs-at-law”, unless it is known that applicable laws at the time included only collateral line descendants, cannot be assumed to be the person in question.
9. Documents written or presented in a foreign language must be accompanied by an English translation and the translation certified as a “true translation” by the translator (not the applicant or a family member).
10. Old letters, diaries or family records can be accepted as documentation only for the facts that the writer could logically know FIRST HAND. Identification of the writer and the date is necessary.
11. Female ancestors named on the application must be identified by their maiden names and, if married, their marriages proved.
12. A collateral line relationship must be documented at each step, parent to child, or sibling to sibling. You must prove siblings are children of the same parents. Half-siblings will be considered if you and the candidate are descended from a common ancestor/ancestress.
13. All documents must include a full citation and the volume and page number must be written on the copy itself! Bible records must include a photocopy of the title page, with publication date and the current owner’s name.
14. Married female applicants, who use their husband’s surname, must include a copy of their marriage record to document their change of name. Each legal name change must be documented.
15. Photographs of tombstones might be acceptable for birth and death dates and for relationships stated on the stone, if legible. We require a transcription of the stone also as sometimes the dates in a photo are difficult to read. The stone must be contemporary style in line with the death date. Cemetery burial records or funeral home records are acceptable.
16. Typed, handwritten or printed copies of original documents must be certified as a “TRUE COPY” by a courthouse or other official, newspaper employee, cemetery employee, etc. An applicant or member of his/her family cannot certify a document as a “TRUE COPY”. Photocopies of original documents are acceptable if there are no changes on the original.
17. REMINDER: A statement is not necessarily true just because it is in print!