NYC-ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > NYC-ROOTS > 2000-03 > 0954037990
From: Charles Sullivan <>
Subject: Re: [NYC] Telling people apart?
Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 21:33:10 -0500
A Pension file generally has enough personal details to enable
distinguishing soldiers of the same name. Look up McLaughlin's
as well. Not all soldiers or their survivors filed for a pension,
but you may luck out.
There was an 1890 Special Census of Union Veterans and their Widows
which survived the calamity which did in the rest of the 1890 Federal
census. See website: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyrichmo/1890_census.shtml
for transcriptions for Staten Island. The search engine for the parent
site didn't turn up any Cotters, but the transcriber (janet) says there
were many entries which were difficult to decipher.
How do the two Cotters' enlistment ages compare with those reported
in the census records for your g-GF. Can you find both Cotters in the
There are a few more Michael Cotters who show up in free CW database
at http://www.ancestry.com, a couple of whom may have had good reason
not to go home after the war.
Family stories are usually rife with inaccuracies, but unless
there's an outright fabrication, there's generally a germ of truth
within. Your job is to pan the nuggets from the sand and mud.
At 06:52 PM 03/25/2000 -0500, Jim Donnelly wrote:
>The story in my family for at least two generations is that a fellow
>called Michael Cotter entered the 10th New York Volunteer Infantry
>from Mott Haven. During the war he met a man called Emmett
>McLaughlin, who brought some of his war buddies home to Staten Island
>to marry his sisters. Michael Cotter married my great-grandmother,
>Annie McLaughlin, and remained in the County of Richmond.
>I've had twinges of doubt about that story over the years, for two
>reasns: (1) Why would he have stayed on Staten Island after his
>marriage instead of going back home to Mott Haven? (2) There seem to
>have been very few Staten Islanders in the 10th New York; I wondered
>how likely it is that Emmett McLaughlin would have met him during the
>war and got to know him well enough to bring him home to marry his
>sister if they were not in the same outfit.
>On Friday I found another Michael Cotter, this one a Staten Islander,
>who served in Co. K, 156th Regiment, NY Vols. I suppose my next step
>is to get his service record from NARA, because I've learned that old
>family stories don't amount to much, but then what? How do I decide
>which (if either) of these two Michael Cotters was my
>Suggestions most gratefully accepted.
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