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My ancestor, John Cusey, deserted from the British army during the American Revolution and joined the colonists, even being wounded in battle. My problem is that we believe, when he deserted, to avoid punishment, he changed his name, using his initials Q and C to form Cusey.

How would I be able to verify a deserter with those initials?


John’s daughter-in-law told her grandchildren that her husband’s father had changed his name (from a letter to her granddaughter). The only thing I know about him was he was wounded in his lungs. I do know he married (Eleanor McDonald) and had two children near Ellicott City, Maryland, Job and Elizabeth (or Sarah Elizabeth). John died perhaps around 1797 (found this in The Good Old Times of McLean County, IL), possibly in Maryland, although there is a John Cusey (d 1797) buried in England. I believe the children were raised by his messmate Ezekiel Weeks, who married Eleanor’s sister.

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    You may want to check in the genealogy SE; they have specialized research techniques. Have you checked any sources so far? All questions on H:SE should specify what research has already been done. Do you have information about rank? Unit? Theatre of operations? Dates of desertion/wounding? any engagements in which he fought? his original British unit? Please share all the information you have. – Mark C. Wallace Aug 11 '19 at 20:21
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    As Mark says, more details are needed to answer this. Start with what you know. Why do you believe that he changed his name using his initials Q and C? – Harry Vervet Aug 11 '19 at 22:21
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    As Mark says, questions on SE should specify what research has already been done. We create challenges for ourselves when we strip out all the context from the information we've collected. – Jan Murphy Aug 11 '19 at 22:34
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    Information that is important if you know it: What regiment was he in? What town was he stationed in when he deserted? What year are both of those? When was he born and where? When did he die, and where? What religion was he, when he died and when he was born? Is any information known about his ancestry? What siblings/cousins did he have? What was his wife's and children's names? – Pieter Geerkens Aug 12 '19 at 4:45
  • Sorry, new to the list and didn’t know how much detail to provide. What we know about him is contained in the book, “Good Old Times Of McLean County, IL.” Since I posted this topic, I did find an Oath of Allegiance for John Queen Casey, which if he changed his name would make sense (the Q and C sound like Cusey). I’m wondering if there was a way to find desertion records of British soldiers, especially since this en masse desertion might stand out in some way. I’ve heard that British military records for this time period are not organized or available online. Thank you all for your input. – Kim Mar 31 at 15:16
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I'm the direct descendant of John Cusey, randomly found this topic.

The source we, as a family, are working with is this:

https://books.google.com/books?id=jU40AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA505&lpg=PA505&dq=john+cusey+revolutionary+war&source=bl&ots=ftAVrHB1zL&sig=ACfU3U22aODGvEVJjW7apw9DIA93FeqpgQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj5vq2exsDoAhXbknIEHZNECQwQ6AEwAXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=john%20cusey%20revolutionary%20war&f=false

The only identifiable thing we really can find is that 62 or 63 people all part of the same British regiment deserted, which might make him more identifiable.

A lot of the information here is more a matter of family lore than demonstrable fact but as far as I know we can't trace our name earlier than this John Cusey

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  • Sorry, new to the list and didn’t know how much detail to provide. What we know about him is contained in the book, “Good Old Times Of McLean County, IL.” Since I posted this topic, I did find an Oath of Allegiance for John Queen Casey, which if he changed his name would make sense (the Q and C sound like Cusey). I’m wondering if there was a way to find desertion records of British soldiers, especially since this en masse desertion might stand out in some way. I’ve heard that British military records for this time period are not organized or available online. Thank you all for your input. – Kim Mar 31 at 14:44

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