The Williams County Genealogical Society’s guest speaker for November was Tanya Brunner. Tanya served in the Navy for eight years and is now working to help veterans in the Defiance VA office. Her topic was Prisoners of war in the Civil War and the War of 1812.
The war mentality, up to 1638, was to destroy every building and person in a conflict so rebuilding would be near impossible. Records being destroyed by fire are one reason why genealogist hit a brick wall when searching for family records. The culture changed during the War of 1812. Women and children were no longer held prisoners. The way British soldiers dealt with prisoners depended on if they were captured in the Atlantic, the Great Lakes/Western Territory or the south. One way they used was paroling prisoners by their promise not to fight any more. Of course, after being released, most soldiers went right back to their unit even if it meant their life if captured again. Some turned and fought for the British.
Camp Perry, on Lake Erie, was purchased in 1906 and became a POW camp. Prisoners were taken from there to sub-camps in Defiance and Napoleon to help harvest crops. Some guards would watch the prisoners in the fields during the day and go to their nearby homes at night. Most of these prisoners were scared German field kids and, then released to go home, would return to American, become citizens and take their opportunity for a better life. Johnson’s Island, near Cedar Point, and other old camps can be visited.
Today veterans of all wars are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This comes from the horrors seen in war, maybe even from worse things they imagined they might see.
All who attended the meeting were given information which may help in their ongoing search for family members of long ago.
We want to thank Tanya for the time she spent sharing with us.
The next meeting will be the annual Christmas Party being held Monday, December 12, 2011 at 6:30pm in the West Annex, Williams Co. Public Library, Bryan, OH.
Bring a food item to share. Everything else will be provided. While enjoying the many delicious treats, members can share a “tip” or “Show and Tell” an item from an ancestor.
The purpose of WCGS is the preservation of county records and family research. Monthly meetings are held on the second Monday of each month, excluding July and August, at 6:30pm, in the conference room of the West Annex of the Bryan Public Library. The public is invited for all the meetings.
For further information concerning WCGS, visit the Website at www.wcgs-ogs.com or write to WCGS, P.O. Box 293, Bryan Ohio 43506.