At the regional Branch of the National Archives in Waltham we investigated census data on microfilm to determine specific demographic information on many of Beverly’s 750 Civil War participants. Jim Owens, head of User Services, welcomed PATH and explained how historians, genealogists, and other researchers use the facility. Much of the information at the National Archives is stored on microfilm, including the United States Census, and Immigrant Passenger Lists. For our research we brought our list of Civil War soldiers, which we hoped to find in the 1860 Census.
Reed Ueda, author of Postwar Immigrant America, showed us how to start our research with the Soundex microfilm. We used the Soundex to find the soldiers in the census. Researching using the census turned out to be not as easy as looking in an index and referring to a page number. We realized that we had our work cut out for us! Now we began the process of putting together the Beverly Civil War Soldiers Database.