Notes from the past…


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Hold the presses! or let’s compare signatures

A couple of days ago, I presented the evidence that I have collected while trying to figure out which James McBurnett of Carroll County, Georgia was my second great-granduncle.

I have 2 documents that were signed by James McBurnett, but the second, on his Indigent Confederate Pension Application, contained only his “mark”, an X. This second document was completed shortly before his death in 1914. Since the second signature was only an X, obviously I couldn’t compare the two signatures.

This morning I printed out all of the documents and began adding them to my RootsMagic file. This is the part of genealogy that I really hate: documenting sources! It’s boring, to say the least. But it must be done! :)

Anyway, I had gotten all of the census, marriage and military records entered and all that was left to do was enter the pension records. As I reviewed the now-printed documents, guess what I found:

On the first page of the pension records, a Power of Attorney document created 21 Jan 1897, was the signature of James McBurnett!. This was 14 years before his death, when his health and eyesight were a bit better, so it seems.

Let’s compare:

Document #1, the Oath of Allegiance signed at Vicksburg, Mississippi 6 Jul 1863

sig1

Document #2, Power of Attorney, 21 Jan 1897

poa

sig2

And here is the other James McBurnett’s signature on his Oath of Allegiance from Vicksburg

Page 7

sig3

Over that period of 36 years, James McBurnett’s signature didn’t change much:

sig1 sig2

My conclusion?

The Civil War military records and the Civil War pension records are for the same person, James (M) McBurnett! And James (M) McBurnett is my true second great-granduncle.

(P.S. I also found pension records for the widow of James C McBurnett. These documents name James C’s widow and several children, none of which match census records for James (M) McBurnett’s family.)