Monthly Archives: November 2010

- Reunion of The Class of 1865

The Robertson Hospital Reunion Register dated 30 June 1896.

Love and respect for one remarkable woman drew Civil War veterans from across the United States to Richmond during the summer of 1896. The occasion was a reunion of soldiers who spent time in the care of Captain Sally Tompkins and the staff at the Robertson Hospital.

The hospital reunion register, recently cataloged here at the Library of Virginia, records the names, signatures and, occasionally, military units of former soldiers who attended a patient reunion during the Grand Confederate Reunion of 1896. Some wives’ names are also listed. The attendees came from at least nine states, from as far away as New York and Texas, further testimony to the respect and love that soldiers on both sides felt for the care Tompkins bestowed on all. Their admiration was not one-sided; Tompkins paid for the party herself, renting a house and providing food and drink for the entire company.

Tompkins was the only female commissioned officer in the Confederate army. She was born 9 November 1833 in Poplar Grove, Mathews County, Virginia. She moved to Richmond following the death of her father before the Civil War and used her considerable inheritance to open a private hospital at the outbreak of the war in April 1861. It stood at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets at the home of Judge John Robertson, thus giving the … read more »

- War, Remembrance, and the Power of Records

The WW II Victory Medal was awarded to all military personnel for service between 1941 and 1946.

For this week’s Veterans’ Day-themed post, I am going to depart from our usual practice of focusing on images, documents, and stories that Library of Virginia archivists uncover as we process collections.  Instead, I would like to share the story of Cecelia Graham and how a chance conversation with my wife led to the emotional discovery of the World War II Separation Notice of Cecelia’s father.

The Virginia World War II Separation Notices was one of the first collections I processed at the Library of Virginia; it contains approximately 250,000 notices for World War II veterans discharged between 1942 and 1950 (with the bulk between 1944 and 1946) who sought employment in Virginia.  A disastrous 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis destroyed a large percentage of Army and Army Air Force records in federal custody for veterans discharged between 1912 and 1960.  The LVA’s collection of separation notices became invaluable to Virginia’s servicemen and their families after the fire.

These records have been part of the Library’s archival collection since 1950 but they were in no order and the Library did not have the resources to process them.  I recognized the importance of the collection and, being young and impatient, I was determined to do “something” about it.  That “something” turned into the largest filing project in the LVA’s history.  … read more »

Posted in State Records Blog Posts
Tags: , , , ,
2 Comments
Share |

- “I Declare My Intention to Become a Citizen of the United States of America …”

 Immigrants take the oath to become citizens of the United States in January 2010 at the Library of Virginia.

Ghio Transcript Fisch Transcript Adams Transcript

On November 3, a naturalization ceremony will be held at the Library of Virginia.  A group of people from various nations will take an oath declaring their allegiance to the United States.  The coming ceremony prompted me to investigate the extent of naturalization records in the Local Records collection.  We have naturalization records for approximately 30 localities.  You would expect to find naturalization records in some localities such as  Newport News, Portsmouth, and Norfolk County because of their location along the coast.  However, LVA has naturalization records for western localities as well including Roanoke County, Russell County, and Rockingham County.  The bulk of the records are dated before 1906. The reason being that prior to 1906, the naturalization process was the responsibility of local and state courts. 

The predominant documents found in the naturalization records are the declarations of intent.  An immigrant seeking U.S. citizenship would first file this document in which the applicant declared his or her intent to become a citizen and renounced allegiance to a foreign government.  Information found in the declaration included name of applicant, place of birth, date of birth, age, and name of the ruler to which he or she renounced allegiance.  A person could declare intent to become a citizen at any time and in any place after arriving in the United … read more »

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
3 Comments
Share |