Posted by Ancestry Team on January 27, 2014 in Collections, Research

It’s a dry fact to say that approximately 620,000 men lost their lives during the American Civil War.  To put that enormous number into perspective, that’s roughly equal to the number of people who currently live in Boston, Massachusetts.

Memorializing each of those who were lost is an enormous task, and it’s one that Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) has undertaken. JTHG seeks to raise awareness of the history and heritage in the 180-mile corridor running from Gettysburg to Monticello. Part of this program is the Living Legacy Project, which will plant one tree along the corridor for each of the 620,000 who fell during the war. Those 620,000 trees will create the world’s longest landscaped allee. Ancestry and Fold3 are pleased to be partnering with Journey Through Hallowed Ground to create this living tribute.

Each tree in the Living Legacy Program will be geo-tagged, which will allow visitors to the website and smartphone users there in person to know exactly to whom a tree is dedicated, as well as the materials on that soldier’s memorial page on Fold3. These memorial pages have basic facts about the soldier and users can upload additional information, documents and photographs.

Gordon Atkinson presenting to educators at Journey Through Hallowed Ground workshop.
Gordon Atkinson presenting to educators at Journey Through Hallowed Ground workshop.

JTHG, Ancestry and Fold3 are working with teachers to help them incorporate researching the lives of the Civil War fallen into their curriculum. Recently, Brock Bierman, Gordon Atkinson and I presented a day-long workshop at Manassas National Battlefield Park for area teachers, historical site managers and museum personnel.

They were enthusiastic about the work that they have been doing with their students and were eager to learn new resources and strategies for researching Civil War soldiers.

As the Living Legacy Program continues to grow – literally – it will become both a stunning visual tribute and a resource for information about those who lost their lives in the Civil War.

And for those of you searching for Civil War soldiers, here is the presentation we gave. Hope it helps you in your own research.


  1. Linda

    What about the soldiers who died but remain unidentified? I am researching an ancestor of my husband who we believe died at Shiloh, but as you know, many of the Confederate soldiers who died there are unidentified and the names of all who were buried there are not known.

    I think this is a great project. Thank you

  2. Patricia Whitney-Jones (maiden: Lackie)

    What a fantastic project and to have it linked with history classes of our schools…is absolutely wonderful. I’ll help whenever I can. ~Tricia

  3. Amy Johnson Crow

    Linda — You don’t need to know where he is buried in order to add to his memorial page on Fold3 or to donate to the Living Legacy Project. Have you looked in the published Civil War roster from his state? They often include a notation of those who died in the war (either with his listing in his regiment or in a separate section for “Roll of Honor” or something similar). Many state rosters are available on Google Books. (For Confederate rosters, search for the name of the state plus “roster war of the rebellion” without the quotes.)

    Tricia — It was so neat to see these teachers and how engaged they are with the project and how enthusiastic they are to work with their students!

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