Sickness and battle casualties

Reading about the Civil War service of our Logans and kinfolk reveals an extraordinary rate of sickness and, especially, death from disease, not combat itself. This was true of all wars up until fairly recently when improved methods of hygiene, inoculations, sulfa drugs, penicillin, and improvements in health care practices reduced the death rate from non-combat causes.

During the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), for every American death in battle, six soldiers died of disease. During the Civil War (1861-1865), there were three deaths by disease for every two in combat.

Washington County, Iowa, Genealogical Society welcomes “Logan Connections”

Our thanks to Jim Logan and the Washington County, Iowa, Genealogical Society. Jim donated Logan Connections to the hardworking genies at their latest work session at the Washington, Iowa, Public Library — which has an outstanding genealogical collection. Thanks, Jim, and Washington County Genealogical Society!


Washington County, Iowa, genealogical society members with Logan Connections books donated by Jim Logan.

Reviews of “Logan Connections” book pouring in on April 1st

Reviews of Logan Connections: Genealogy, History, and DNA are cascading in on this first day of April for some reason. What do our legions of crackerjack reviewers have to say?

  • A reader from What Cheer, Iowa, writes: “A great cure for insomnia. Thank you.”
  •  A multi-tasker from Enigma, Georgia, pens (figuratively) this comment: “Not only a handy reference, but a super-efficient doorstop, too.”
  • A Paw Paw, Illinois, correspondent is already planning for Christmas: “Boy, are my in-laws going to be surprised THIS Christmas. I’d like 5 more books, please.”
  • A perceptive commentator from Whynot, North Carolina, claims: “The book compares favorably with the best of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Twain. That’s Harold Hemingway, Joe Don Faulkner, and Hank Twain.”
  • A Logan sibling from Bug Tussle, Oklahoma, writes about the book: “It ain’t heavy. It’s my brother’s.”
  •  A scholar from Oatmeal, Texas, points out that “density is the ratio of mass to volume.”
  • An astute observer from Yeehaw Junction, Florida, notes that the book is “filled with words, including many nouns and pronouns. Dates, too.”
  • An anonymous contributor from Possum Trot, Kentucky, enigmatically points out that “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
  • Writing from West Thumb, Wyoming, a creative thinker suggests the book should have a theme: “Supporting chiropractors since 2016.”
  • A blogger from Zzyzx, California, comments: “‘Pound-for-pound’ is a term usually associated with boxing, not books.”
  • George McFly of Hill Valley, California, says: “This book is my density.”
  • Milly Jones of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, wonders “How long are these [censored] stacks of books going to be in my basement?”

Thank you, loyal readers one and all.

If you want to dig deeper…


If you’re interested in delving deeper into the Scots-Irish (North Britons), Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer is an excellent social history. Fischer covers naming (onomastics), literacy rates, wealth distribution, age distribution, occupations, age at marriage, crime, social rank, child rearing practices, and much more. And if you have other family lines from the British Isles, Fischer compares and contrasts the Puritans, Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants, and Friends (Quakers), too.


If you’re related to John Randolph Logan, are a Civil War buff, or simply want to learn more about the wartime experience of a young Confederate officer, you’ll find “A Rising Star of Promise” The Civil War Odyssey of David Jackson Logan an informative read. Authors Thomas and Silverman discovered letters David Jackson Logan wrote to home folks along with articles he penned for his hometown newspaper, a unique perspective.

Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and A  Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep. I’ve lent this book out, so I don’t have a handy photograph of the book cover. But the book will be of special interest to those of you with ancestors who migrated to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, or who live in one of those states. And American history buffs, this book’s for you.

Another book about the Scots-Irish (Ulster Scots) is In Search of Ulster-Scots Land — The Birth and Geotheological Imagings of a Transatlantic People 1603-1703  by Barry Aron Vann. I mean no disrespect when I say this book is fairly academic (in parts) and may be of interest primarily to those readers who are really wonkish about Scots-Irish history. The author focuses attention on the geographies of religion and culture and their influence on the American South.




The book has been published!

Volume I, Front Cover

We are proud and happy to announce that the book has been published! Copies are being shipped directly from the publisher to those who pre-ordered the book.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered a copy. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet,  it’s not too late! Click here for order information.

For lots more information and stories about our Logan families, check out our blog and like us on Facebook.

Genealogy: What first names may reveal

Featuring names from Logan Connections

We may know very little about an ancestor, g-g-g-g-aunt, or 4th cousin twice removed. The records just aren’t there. But that ancestor, aunt, or cousin’s given name sometimes reveals clues about their parents: their politics, heroes, whims, religion, even a rough idea of when a child was born. Those things, in turn, can lead us to other sources to find family information.

Politics. We may not have voting records or a diary entry or a campaign souvenir, but if a father named his son Andrew Jackson Logan, you can be pretty sure that that father was a Democrat. (We’d say you could “take it to the bank” but Andrew Jackson didn’t believe in the national bank.) The parents also may have been celebrating Andrew Jackson’s Scots-Irish roots or the fact he was the first so-called “man of the people” elected President. Probably all three.

Franklin Pierce Dodson’s parents were obviously supporters of the northern Democrat. But they bet on the wrong namesake. Franklin Pierce is generally considered one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history.

We know the politicians and statesmen some parents admired:  John Randolph (Logan), John C. Pinckney (Logan), Benjamin Franklin (Logan), Patrick Henry (Logan), Albert Gallatin (Williamson). Presidential names are sprinkled throughout Logan Connections: George Washington Bomar and Thomas Jefferson Rendleman. People never name a child after a politician they despise, after all.

Heroes, myths, and legends: Our ancestors knew their Greek and Roman history, mythology, and literature. Names bestowed among our Logan and allied families include Leander, Achilles, Leonidas, Homer, and Marcellus. While those names might not lead to any further genealogical information per se, they nonetheless reveal clues about literacy and personality.

Admired qualities: The given names Grace, Honor, Charity, Queen, King, and Reason possibly reveal traits or filial aspirations important to these individuals’ parents.

Religion: We may have no clue what someone’s religion was without church records, a marriage license, christening information, diaries, or other data. But if parents named their child John Wesley Logan, you can be fairly certain they were Methodists. If they named their son John Calvin Logan, you know they were Calvinists or that there were Calvinists in their family line.

Rough idea of birth: In the absence of birth records, a family Bible, or an extant tombstone, the given names April, May, and June at least narrow things down. (Of course, young April may have been named for an aunt, but still, there’s a clue there.) One of the pretty names in Logan Connections is Mayday. We immediately picture a beautiful spring day in May and the birth of this little girl. (Unfortunately, the latter invention of “mayday” as a distress signal gets in the way of our modern ears, but still….)

The name “Pamela” didn’t exist until 1740. This helped establish that an ambiguously-spelled name (and corresponding nickname) prior to that time was probably “Permelia,” though many had her as Pamela. Impossible since “Pamela” hadn’t been invented yet.

Admired military figures: The given name Lafayette is found among our families as is  Francis Marion (Logan). Francis Marion was the “Swamp Fox” of Revolutionary War fame. Both were extremely popular names at one time. The allied Gaffney family looked farther back to William Wallace when naming new baby Gaffney. And for every Robert E. (Logan), there’s a George B. McClellan (Chorpenning).

Biblical names, of course: These were Biblical figures parents admired or wanted their child to emulate or perhaps were favorites from Bible stories: names like  Hannah, Delilah, Mary, Rebecca, Achsah, and Rachel; Moses, Levi, Zachariah, Joseph, David, Benjamin, Joshua, Enoch, and Reuben. This list could go on and on.

Ethnicity and geography: When parents named their daughter Caledonia, they were proudly signaling their ethnic origins. Caledonia was the Roman name for Scotland. We have several parents who named their children for states, among them Missouri, Tennessee, even Texanna.

So, in genealogy, what’s in a name? Often, a lot. We think of the surname being the best clue we have to an ethnic or geographic area and that’s often true. But first names can help enrich a life and tell a story as well.







Drury and Sarah Ann Lyons Logan’s Children

Four of Drury and Sarah Ann Lyons Logan’s children — three sons and one daughter — are buried in Old Salem Cemetery in Washington County, Illinois. Jane A. Logan died in 1851. Robert and Joseph Logan died 4 days apart in 1852. James H. Logan died in 1855. We don’t know the cause of death of any of them, but suspect cholera in the 1852 deaths. In Illinois in 1850, children between 1 and 5 years old accounted for 19 percent of all deaths.

Logan, James H., son of Drury & Sarah Ann Logan, Old Salem Cemetery Logan, Jane A, daughter of Drury & Sarah Ann Logan, Old Salem Logan, Robert, son of Drury & Sarah Ann, Old Salem Cemetery Logan, Joseph, son of Drury & Sarah Ann Lyons Logan, Old Salem