After spending a few minutes reading the introductory notes, I
went to the Index and entered the name of Malvin Eastman. Names
are normally entered as [last name, first name], so I actually
entered "Eastman, Malvin." Within 4 or 5 seconds, the name was
found along with all the others that were close alphabetically.
I clicked on the name, and the appropriate page appeared on the
screen. It showed an entry for grave number 617 at the National
Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. It also listed his rank as Private
in Company K of the 15th Vermont Regiment. He died 8 December
1862. Almost all entries have similar information which, thanks
to the Family Archive, can be located in seconds with a few keystrokes.
The original 27 volumes of the "Roll of Honor" have been scanned
by computers. That is, an actual image of the original page appears
on the screen. This is better for genealogy purposes than transcribed
records or OCR (optical character recognition) scanning because
there are no errors induced after the original printing. In most
cases the scanned images are clear and easy to read. There are
icons to zoom in and zoom out, which is helpful when reading the
few pages that are not as clear as others. When going from the
index to the original page, the software does not automatically
display the line with the needed data. It normally shows the top
part of the page that contains the individual you want. You may
need to scroll down to find the person.
The complete image of the page in the original volume can be
printed on any laser printer and most inkjet printers. One nice
feature is that the bottom of every printed page has a reference
to the original volume, such as "Volume IV, National Cemetery,
Alexandria, Virginia." The page number is shown in the original
scanned image. This results in a self-documenting record showing
the actual source of the information. The printed pages from the
CD look much nicer than the typical photocopies of the original
volumes that genealogists have made.
A complete copy of a page can also be placed on the Windows
clipboard and then imported into a word processor or graphics
program. Again, this is a scanned image and must be used as such;
that is, the individual words will not appear in a word processor
and cannot be manipulated like normal text. A dedicated genealogist
will probably prefer the image as it reduces the chance for transcription
Some of the original pages have the word "colored" to indicate
that the soldier was of African descent. Apparently several thousand
African-American Civil War soldiers are listed. Also, some entries
contain question marks, such as "B????, William". The question
marks indicate that the name on the original hand-written record
was either unknown or impossible to read.
When you obtain this CD, do not overlook the various reports
and other texts on the disk. Most of the volumes contain
background information about the various expeditions that
catalogued the graves. I read a rather poignant report of
the cemetery audit at the infamous Andersonville prison,
conducted by Captain James M. Moore some months after the
war ended. A lot of American history is contained within
the CD besides the simple listing of names, rank and regiments.
In short, the "Roll of Honor: Civil War Union Soldiers"
makes its extensive contents readily accessible and affordable
to anyone with a personal computer. The program is easy
to use, a bargain at less than 10% of the cost of the same
information in print.