According to notes passed down by my granddad (from an unknown source), I have an relative, Gustav Adolf Neumann, who was born 1824 in Leipzig, Saxony, and who eventually immigrated to the United states, arriving on the sailing ship Louisiana in 1858/1859 from Bremen, Germany, to New York, USA -- see the ship manifest New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 and the general United States Germans to America Index, 1850-1897. (I know that the birth year on the passenger list is estimated as 1825, but this is a proven mistake, due to a calculation error in the databases linked above.)

I found potential informatiopn that he might have fought in the US Civil War -- either in the 7th Regiment, New York Infantry or in the 75th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry or in the 15th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery, as seen on the U.S. National Park Service's Soldiers and Sailors Database. But there is no (dis-)proof yet.

Where can I look for more records about his whereabouts, death, marriage or eventual army records?

Search results from U.S. National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database:

Results for Soldiers Showing Results 1 - 3 of 3

Neumann , Gustav

Battle Unit Name: 75th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry
Side:  Union

Neumann , Gustave

Battle Unit Name: 15th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery
Side: Union

Neumann , Gustav

Battle Unit Name: 7th Regiment, New York Infantry
Side: Union

(No results with the same search for Confederate Soldiers.)


After a break, I continued the search for Gustav Adolf Neumann whereabouts. I tried the following collections on familysearch:

without any results.

  1. Do you have any suggestions where to look online for Gustav Adolf Neumann (1824-?)?
  2. If he was fighting in the American Civil War, he might have been killed/went missing in action. Is there a "complete" list of all/most fallen soldiers during that war somewhere?
  3. How likely was it that Gustav Adolf changed his name to one more English and, if so, which would it be given his original names?
  • 2
    Ancestor or relative? If ancestor, (some) details of the next generation should already be in your possession. Or are you anticipating a 2nd family in the USA?
    – bgwiehle
    Oct 28, 2016 at 22:13
  • 2
    I strongly recommend that the labels "here" be replaced with a description of where the links lead to. This allows people to see at a glance what records have already been searched without having to click through, and provides some protection against link rot. Users should be able to consider a problem without having to click through to three other sites, just to see what research has already been done.
    – Jan Murphy
    Oct 30, 2016 at 7:42
  • 2
    How do you know that the ancestor you are seeking is the person who arrived on the ship Louisiana? Was that information passed down in the family?
    – Jan Murphy
    Oct 30, 2016 at 7:45
  • 2
    There is an older Gustavus Adolphus Neumann who also came from Saxony. If possible relative you might search for location connections between the two. Oct 30, 2016 at 16:55
  • 2
    I added the actual text given at the US Park Service database to show the slight name variation in the search results.
    – Jan Murphy
    Oct 30, 2016 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


In cases like this, I would suggest a strategy that may not seem intuitive -- try to find out as much as you can about these three soldiers so that you can prove they are NOT your research subject.

You don't say what other information you have in your grandfather's notes. Start with whatever you have. Make a timeline of events and start a list of sources that you have gathered about your own person. On the timeline, make a note beside each event to remind yourself who says so -- what source that information came from.

Create a similar timeline and source list for each of the three Neumann soldiers.

Now take that information, and combine it into a spreadsheet with all four Neumann individuals, each in their own column. Let's say your family's Gustav is in column A, and the soldiers are in columns B, C, and D.

Map out whatever you find about their lives. If you can establish a cradle-to-grave timeline for a person that is different from another, that's a good sign that the two are different men.

The advantage of working with the Civil War soldiers is that there is a great wealth of research guides you can use about researching soldiers in the Civil War, starting with the guide Civil War on the US National Archives' website, and their PDF guide Finding Information on Personal Participation in the Civil War. The page Civil War Records: Basic Research Sources has some case studies that you can look at, explains the nature of the records, and has some cautions about how to interpret them.

If you can't access records because they are not online, or you don't have a subscription to the pay sites that hold the records, start with what you can find for free. You may be able to find rosters for their units or unit histories on Google Books, the Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, or in libraries. Don't just look for Gustav -- take a wider view. Look for any mention of soldiers from Germany and see if there are any patterns. Are their groups of soldiers who came from the same town? If so, look to see if you can find any of them in the 1860 Census. Can you find them after the war, especially in the fragments of the 1890 Census (the Schedules of Union Civil War veterans or their widows)? Use the information in NARA's Clues in Census Records, 1850-1930 as a prompt for other research for any census you can find.

Don't neglect newspaper research. Start with the US Newspaper Directory at Chronicling America (the Library of Congress) to see what newspapers were published in the town you are investigating. Then use directories of online newspapers to see what papers are online:

Joe Beine's German Roots has many guides to information that you can find online.

For any record you find, use the clues in each record to work outwards in small steps rather than big leaps -- always keeping in mind that matching someone by name is not enough to 'prove' it is the same person.

For my current project sorting out Civil War soldiers, I have a family where the father married twice and had two sons named John -- the only way I can sort out their records is that two of them have different middle initials. For another family, my husband's great-grandmother married a man who had sons and grandsons all named William -- if the record has their full name, I can tell them apart by their variant forenames, but if it only has William I have to look for other identifiers. Care is required, because sometimes fathers and sons live in the same household and have the same trade, so you need other things to distinguish them, like ages or the names of spouses.

  • Your answer is nice and probably helpful, unfortunately, I have found no trace of Gustav Adolph so far. He perished in the black of history. :/
    – Til Hund
    Mar 15, 2017 at 8:39
  • 1
    Have you searched the 1860 Census?
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 15, 2017 at 23:26
  • Yes, I have here on familysearch.org.
    – Til Hund
    Mar 16, 2017 at 9:15
  • 1
    Ask a new question (referring back to this one -- no need to repeat all the information) and we can work on it from there. That way we can focus our answers to your new question getting clues from the information in census records.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:47
  • 1
    Ok, Jan, I did what you said, here.
    – Til Hund
    Mar 16, 2017 at 20:47

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