A Gen Forum Saves the Day

23 03 2010

As I’ve been researching the backgrounds of the staff and commanders of the armies at Bull Run, I’m finding more and more that when I get really stuck, help has been coming from an unexpected source: genealogy forums.  There are thousands of them out there.

Yesterday I was searching for some information on Otis Tillinghast, McDowell’s AAAG who was mortally wounded on July 21.  I wasn’t having much success until I ran across a discussion on a Tillinghast genealogy website.  It turns out Kent Watkins - like Otis a descendant of the one of the founders of Providence, RI, Pardon Tillinghast - was intrigued by the marker for Ft. Tillinghast that he saw across the street from the Arlington, VA tennis courts where he plays.  In the discussion thread to which Google pointed me I found Mr. Watkins’s announcement that he had written an article on Tillinghast for the group’s newsletter, including an email address for its editor, Ms. Greta Tillinghast Tyler.  I contacted Ms. Tyler and asked how I could go about getting a copy of the newsletter.  I received a prompt reply along with a complimentary pdf of her fine newsletter, Pardon’s Progeny II (click to view the newsletter, with permission of author and editor).  The entire issue consists of Mr. Watkins’s 29 page (!) article on Tillinghast and Ft. Tillinghast, complete with footnotes and bibliography.

So, thanks to Kent and Greta.  I’m sure I’ll be using the article when I write my biographical sketch of their ancestor.

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