Ever wonder if you have family ties to the historic Battle of Gettysburg? Looking for more information on your ancestor who may have served during the American Civil War? More than 165,000 Americans fought in the Battle of Gettysburg and more than 3 million served in the ranks of the Union and Confederate armies. On the home-front millions of men, women, and children, free and enslaved alike, experienced the war in unique and often tragic ways. On a daily basis, the Rangers and staff at Gettysburg National Military Park are asked to help assist visitors trying to connect with that history in a deeply personal way. Tracking down and researching Civil War ancestors can shed light on how their family experienced the American Civil War and make the past come to life in profound ways.
More often than not though, tracking down a Civil War ancestor is more difficult than one might imagine. With limited tools and resources, most visitors looking for information at the park have left empty handed. Recently however, the park and the Gettysburg Foundation have taken steps to change that.
The newly re-imagined McKenna Resource Room at the Museum and Visitor Center, which is free and open to the public, now has staff and tools to help future visitors answer those questions and discover their personal Civil War story.
With expanded hours and new tools the McKenna Resource Room is more than just a research library. Staffed by National Park Service volunteers who can help you get started and guide your journey the room offers visitors and researchers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their personal connection to the history and importance of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War .
Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the McKenna Resource Room gives visitors free access to information using Ancestry.com, Fold 3 and National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors databases. Some of these resources also allow you to go beyond the Civil War and look up information about soldiers that served more recently. Pension records, census data, birth, death, and marriage records and much more are only a click away. No reservations are needed.
Whether you are visiting Gettysburg for just a day, or if you live in the local community and love genealogy, we hope you find the new McKenna Resource Room at Gettysburg National Military Park a useful tool to uncover your family history.