Focused on Family Stories – Riding for Uncle Samuel


I plan to focus my blog on family stories past and present. Previous postings have skipped all over the place much like my interests and attention. Over and over again I am reminded of the importance of family stories and our connections to people and places through story. So here we go, New Year 2015 is right around the corner and we are challenged to tell, to live, to share our family stories. Some are funny, some are painful, some feature people long gone, some are the stories of new people in our families. Families are loud, messy, interesting,disorganized, bitter, loving, athletic, lazy, intelligent, heroic, challenged, and more, that’s what makes a good story!

What’s in it for you, my reader? I hope you will be reminded to ask elders about family stories. I want children to ask you about your stories. I want the old unlabeled family pictures to become part of family resources that put the picture with a name and a story. I hope some readers will find inspiration to follow a thread of genealogy and search for the supporting stories. I hope todays college students learn to tell their stories and savor them for the retelling years from now. Then there are resources, I want to be a guide to resources for telling and preserving family stories.

A new resource just came to my family. My son had seen an article online about a new book that tells about the Connecticut 1st Cavalry of the Civil War. In the first paragraph of the article a family member we have researched was mentioned. General Edward Whitaker, the General would be my sons great – great- great grandmothers brother.

Enlisted at Hartford as private in the infantry for 3 months. He returned and re-enlisted in the Connecticut Cavalry and mustered out a Brevetted Brigadier General at age 23!

We have done extensive research on Uncle Edward, but there is always new information to be found. The article 



ended with an email on where to get the book, I sent  off and email with haste, could we possibly get the book here in time for Christmas? This quote from the Oct 3, 2014 Hartford Courant article about sums it up for me:

“Torrington native Bob Angelovich seeks to fill the gap with a new book, “Riding For Uncle Samuel: The Civil War History of the 1st Connecticut Cavalry Volunteers.” (Inner Workings, Grand Rapids, MI, $59.95.) To be released Dec. 1, the book is an exhaustive history of a regiment that was in the saber-slashing thick of many fights and suffered 57 percent casualties.

A cofounder and leader of the Connecticut Civil War Roundtable for many years, Angelovich moved to Gettysburg, Pa., 14 years ago and has spent the past 20 years researching and writing the book, which includes maps, photographs and illustrations. The author recently answered questions about the regiment and why Connecticut residents should prize their Yankee riders’ storied service.”

You see that last line says it all “Storied Service” My son and I will be reading this carefully. We don’t want to miss any bits of Uncle Edward’s story!

If you have an ancestor who served in the Connecticut Cavalry, I recommend you read about their stories in “Riding for Uncle Samuel”, (To order the book, or for more information, send email to


this is a launching pad to fleshing out a full story, with help from other books, maps, visits to National Historical sites of the Civil War and other resources. Here is a link to a battlefield website, 



We have visited many of the battlefields where Uncle Edward and his brothers served. Now armed with new information we may need to return. The story continues with my son, this photo from a number of years ago shows how he has lived the spirit of these family stories. Uncle Edward’s story has now become an extension of our own stories. I feel an adventure in family story coming on!


Previous posts with Civil War themes:

2 Responses to Focused on Family Stories – Riding for Uncle Samuel

  1. Hi I see you signed up for the A to Z challenge too and are also into family history. I participated last year. It was a lot of fun but very busy despite preparation. It was an excellent prompt to tell lots of family stories!

    Ballarat, Australia

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