Friday, February 26, 2010

William Lewis DeSpain FOUND!

I can't believe it, I finally found my William Lewis DeSpain!

On Monday my posting for Madness Monday was going to be a cry for help to locate my "lost" William Lewis DeSpain. But now that has changed, let me explain.

Starting with a little back history. Back when I began doing genealogy my aunt, the historian on this side of the family, told me about her great-grandfather, William Lewis DeSpain. The story she had heard was that my great-great-grandmother, Eliza Ann Scott DeSpain, was pregnant for the 8th time when her husband "ran off" with her sister! When it was "her time" she delivered twins, my great-grandfather, Benjamin Lewis and his sister, Ida Leann on 1 September 1872. My aunt went on to tell me about how the babies never knew their father and all the children that were old enough to know him never saw him again. There was always a question of where had he gone, when did he died, had he ever remarried and if so was there other children by that marriage.

In my posting I was going to tell about how William Lewis DeSpain was in the Civil War with a rank of Lt. in Company A of the 13th Regiment of Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. And how he had deserted, hmmm! I was also going to tell of the many ways that I have looked for him over the years in the 1880 and 1900 censuses. And lastly how frustrating it has been to not know where he went and what happened to him. Well as you can guess this has all changed!

I wish to say here how much I love google. I use it ALL the time in looking for records on family lines that I am researching. All I did was google "William L DeSpain." That simple search came back with 823 hits, most of those were generated by me back in the early days of my research. So, as I scrolled through the many hits that I had generated over the years, I noticed one that was not generated by me or my queries. This one piqued my curiosity because it had a death date for a William that is a son of Silas. It took a couple of seconds for me to register that this was MY William.


The hit that interested me was generated by someone posting about a database that is on The database is titled - Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans 1879-1903.  This card was generated from an application for the tombstone.

So now of course one question is answered but many more are asked.

Who knew to apply for the tombstone? Why did they (the government) give a tombstone to a deserter? How do I get a copy of the application? Who did he know in this town that caused him to go here? Did he live with anyone?

So for now more research is needed, but I just couldn't wait to tell my new online family about this amazing discovery that the internet has allowed me to find.

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again ;)


  1. Who knew that s simple Google search would turn up the information you needed?! Congratulations on finding your elusive ancestor!



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