19 March 2016

One Good (Genealogy) Deed Deserves Another

Regimental History of the 33rd Illinois Infantry, published 1902.
I have said it a thousand times and I will say it a thousand more, this blog pays me back.  Distant cousins or even complete strangers, for one reason or another Googling an ancestor's name find me, and out of the selfless generosity of their hearts they offer to share original documents, photographs, research, and heirlooms with me.  It just makes sense when the opportunity arrives that I make an effort to pay it forward.

As regular readers here know I have deep ties to the 33rd Illinois Infantry Regiment from the Civil War.  My 2xg-grandfather died under its banner, his brother in law, my 2xg-uncle rose from sergeant to Captain in its service, both these men behind my father.  Yet ironically, I also had two 2xg-uncles behind my mother also serving in the 33rd Illinois!  Who would have known?!  My mom from Arizona and my dad from Nebraska, met in California to marry and conceive me.  But they each had ancestors serving at the same time under these same Illinois regimental colors.  But I digress.

So it just made sense if I could get my hands on a copy of the published regimental history I should do so.  For the 33rd Illinois that book is History of the Thirty-Third Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War, 22nd August, 1861, to 7th December, 1865, by Virgil Way and Isaac Elliott, published 1902 in Gibson City, Ill by The [Regimental] Association.  I was truly blessed.  This book is over 290 pages, loaded with pictures, rosters, personal accounts of regimental actions, and official accounts of the regiment.  My ancestors are cited repeatedly, and one, the Captain, even contributed a chapter on the history of the company under his command.

Title page. Remember to click to enlarge. 
With the book being out of copyright, digital copies were easy to come by online, Internet Archive had one, Google Books, Hahti Trust, and even the State of Illinois website.  But this was important enough to me I wanted to buy a hard copy.  The problem is the darn hard copies are apparently in demand, and the lowest price I could find anywhere was $175.  I had nothing but time so settled in and waited for a good deal to appear.  Finally a copy appeared on eBay and the seller was asking the going price of $175.  So I decided to low ball him an offer and surprisingly, he took it!  I was elated!

When the book arrived it had an envelope glued to the inside:

And inside the envelope was a card:

Luke Dickerman served in Company A of the 33rd Illinois alongside both my 2xg-grandfather and his brother in law, my 2xg-uncle the Captain.  But the uniqueness of this does not stop there.  First off, the guy lied about his age to get in and was only sixteen years old.  Second, he rose to the rank of sergeant!  Third he was a primary source for the regimental history, an a few of his personal exploits are recorded.

And now I have one of his presentation copies of the book??  Hmm.

I want the book, okay?   If not this copy, then a different one.  I made the decision I would try to track down a descendant of Luke Diskerman or J.H. Dickerman, preferably direct, to give the card and envelope to, and offer to sell the whole book to them at the replacement value (or for a replacement if they could do better).

I Googled for someone qualifying, but I had little luck.  I sent private messages to individuals on Ancestry.Com weeks ago, and still have not heard a reply.  If after some time I strike out, I always have the option of making the offer to an indirect descendant.

In the meantime with this article I set the wheels in motion by asking my blog to lure a Dickerman descendant to me.  So go to work my little blog, do your job.  But instead of giving to me, it is time for me to give away.  I have nothing but time.

Copyright © 2016 by Kevin W. Walker


  1. Dear Kevin, I am a descendant of Luke Dickerman. I believe he would be my paternal grandmother's (Garnett Clopper Kingzett) maternal Grandfather. My great grandmother was Olive Dickerman Clopper...Luke's daughter. I am fuzzy on the details but just saw the above photo at a recent Kingzett reunion. I am interested in your info. and have other family members who may be interested in swapping books. My brother's daughter in law is a grammar school history teacher in Illinois and follows the 33rd's history when teaching the Civil War to her students.

    1. Cindy, please email me at the address above under contact information so we can work this out. Thanks.

    2. Kevin so sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I am having trouble finding the email link above. After speaking to my brother I found out he has a copy of the same book. Our parents purchased or were given on on a visit to Stillman Valley several years ago. We would be interested in the card and envelope if it is still available.

    3. Email me @ amiable160[at symbol]gmail.com