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Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage and Jumpstart Your Own Search

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The Scotch Plains Public Library will continue its Civil War Sesquicentennial series on Monday, May 21 at 7:00 pm with a talk by Steven D. Glazer.  This free program is based on his most recent book, Discover Your Community's Civil War Heritage, an official research manual published by the N.J. Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. He will provide practical, step-by-step guidance on how to research your own ancestor's or town's Civil War history, including the identity and biographies of local residents who fought in the war, as well as of others from your community having a material connection to the momentous events of the era. Some research results from Union County, including Scotch Plains, will be presented. Most of the approaches and resources to be discussed are easily accessible from a home computer or your local library, often at little or no cost.

After asking local historians how many Civil War veterans had lived in Cranford Township (established in 1871), and receiving only one or two names in response, Glazer began to investigate the subject himself. He eventually came up with over eighty Cranford residents, many of them local officials, who had fought in the war or otherwise had a material connection to the momentous events of the era.  He discovered that Cranford was even home to a former Confederate colonel, who lived there with his family while he designed the foundation and pedestal for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Other Cranford residents had interesting connections with Abraham Lincoln; one helped foil the first assassination plot against Lincoln, while another was present in Ford's Theatre the night the president was fatally shot. 

As we enter the sesquicentennial commemoration years of the American Civil War, uncovering the deeds of New Jerseyans of the era provides a way to honor their memory as well as establish local connections to the transformative national events of 150 years ago. Among many other positive results, the process of identifying and studying a town's Civil War heritage can expand interest in local history, promote heritage tourism, support historic preservation efforts and incorporate Civil War connections into Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations. 

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Glazer currently serves on New Jersey's Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, and has published numerous articles regarding New Jersey and the Civil War. He has contributed to several Civil War books, including New Jersey Goes to War and New Jersey's Civil War Odyssey, both published by Longstreet House and the sesquicentennial committee. 

Copies of Discover Your Community’s Civil War Heritage will be available to purchase for $10.00, with all proceeds going to the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee. Glazer's other books about New Jersey and the Civil War will also be available.

Registration is open to all interested individuals and is required for this program. Please register by calling the library at (908) 322-5007, ext. 204; emailing to library@scotlib.org or by using the Events tab on the Scotch Plains Public Library web site, http://www.scotlib.org

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