Where were they born?


While the Third Michigan was of course a “western” regiment in that it was formed in one of the western states, it was however composed mainly of men who were born and often reared in the east.

Based on the 1269 known places of birth, we find that 302 or nearly 1 out of every four men who served in the Old Third was born outside of the United States. Of course many of those who were born in Canada belonged to families that were “passing through” to the western frontier of the US. Nevertheless, if we were to remove all the Canadians from the list that still leaves some 203 men who were immigrants from Europe, or nearly 16% of the total reported birthplaces, nearly equal to the number born in Michigan. And of the 224 men born in Michigan only 38 were born in Kent County, the point of origin for the regiment. (photo: Dr. James Grove; source: USAMHI.)

The overwhelming number were born in New York State, 498 men, or nearly 40% of reported birthplaces. More than half of the total reported came from New York and Michigan (722); and if we add Ohio (129) we find that 851 men, or some 67% of the total reported birthplaces were born in those three states alone.

Of the reported places of birth to date we find:

2 Austrian (1 in Bohemia)
99 Canadians
9 from Connecticut
1 Dane
40 from England
4 French
104 “Germans”
6 from Illinois
6 from Indiana
27 from Ireland
7 from Maine
3 from Maryland
23 from Massachusetts
226 from Michigan
10 from the Netherlands
9 from New Hampshire
7 from New Jersey
498 from New York
4 Norwegians
129 from Ohio
43 from Pennsylvania
2 from Rhode Island
16 from Scotland
1 Swede
2 Swiss
26 from Vermont
2 from Virginia
1 from Wisconsin

Whatever their place of birth, upon enlistment, 1,392 men listed Michigan as their home of record, followed by 8 from New York, 4 from Illinois, 3 from Ohio, 2 from Wisconsin and 1 from Canada.

Next up: relationships and families