Union Army Data - Data Collection
An exciting achievement of the Early Indicators project is the recent addition of the Veteran’s Children’s Census (VCC) database. This multigenerational data set contains valuable socioeconomic, demographic, and death information (including death causes) for the children of each of the more than 10,000 Civil War veterans in the sample. Over 54,000 children — both sons and daughters — were searched and followed into their own households as they aged out of the veteran’s household, married and had children of their own. Additionally, spouses of the veterans were found in early childhood prior to their marriage and again after they were widowed.
A major innovation of this project is that unique individuals in the sample are linked across census decades, whereas in previous census collections each census decade was viewed as a point in time. The rich data stemming from census and death sources provides a unique opportunity to study not only how intergenerational processes affect aging, but also the mechanisms by which parents transmit socioeconomic status and longevity to their children. The rich data stemming from census and death sources provides a unique opportunity to study not only how intergenerational processes affect aging, but also the mechanisms by which parents transmit socioeconomic status and longevity to their children.
Another major accomplishment of the Early Indicators project has been the creation of a data set to study the process of aging longitudinally in the Union Army (UA) cohort - a white, northern population that reached age 65 mainly between 1885 and 1912. The data set is comprised of 15,000 variables on each of over 39,000 recruits.
The project has also created a sample of over 21,000 veterans who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) regiments. This data set is divided into two groups, the Original USCT sample (6,187 recruits) and the Expanded USCT sample (15,069 recruits.) These life histories of the first cohort of African Americans to reach age 65 in the 20th Century will remain an invaluable tool for researchers for years to come.
Additional samples were collected to extend coverage of certain interesting populations. The Andersonville sample targets survivors of the war's most infamous prison camp and can be used to look at the later life effects of traumatic hardship. The Oldest Old sample, composed entirely of veterans who lived to over 95 years of age, can be used to examine the factors that contribute to extremely long life. The Urban sample is an oversampling of veterans who enlisted in the five largest US cities and can be used to examine intra-city disparities in environmental conditions and draw inferences about the impact of ward conditions on the recruits' life-cycle aging process.
The Early Indicators Project created a Statewide Online Death Index with links to available websites containing death certificates, death indices and other death records for each state. This index includes well known websites such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, but also includes links to many individual state, county, historical society, cemetery and veterans' websites which collect cemetery and death information. Each source indicates dates of available records and whether images or death causes are included. This is an evolving resource which is updated regularly as new sources become available.