Will the real Sever Severson please stand up?

Locating an ancestor’s Civil War military service records can sometimes be difficult, but it is by no means an impossible task. If your ancestor served in the Union army, if he had a distinctive name, if you know where he lived, when he served, and you’ve found at least one mention of the unit (company and regiment) that he served in, it can actually be an easy, straight-forward task. Even if you have only some of this information, you can often still find your ancestor thanks to a number of tremendously useful indexes that are available in printed form or online.

If, on the other hand, your ancestor had a common (and commonly misspelled) name, if you’re unsure of when and where he served, if all available military documents strangely omit reference to his company and regiment, and if he seems to be missing from all relevant indexes, it sure starts to feel like it might be impossible.

In today’s post, I’ll share my experiences trying to find my ancestor’s elusive Civil War service record. I have a record that he was drafted in June, 1863, and he’s included in a list of the men going to war in September, 1863. I also have strong evidence that he died in a Union hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, on September 30, 1864, that he was buried in a military cemetery that same day, and that he was exhumed and reinterred with a military headstone in Marietta National Cemetery. Yet between September, 1863, and September, 1864, if the consulted sources are to be believed, there is no record of his military service. I’ll see what I can do about that.

Note: I’ll warn you right now that this is going to be a wonkish post, full of numbing details. This post serves essentially as my research notebook for this project, and resolution of this current question will come down to a comparison of all the details, so it has to be that way. If you’re not a fan of gory details, I’d advise you to read on until it gets too wonky for your taste and just skim the rest until you get to the end of the post where I’ll present a summary of my findings.

How many Sever Seversons from Wisconsin served in the Civil War?

One of the biggest problems I encountered in searching for records of Sever Severson’s military service was that there were numerous men from Wisconsin who served in the Civil War and who were named Sever Severson (or a phonetically similar variant). Because there was no obvious match between any of these records and my ancestral Sever Severson, I realized I’d have to investigate all of the documented Sever Seversons to determine just how many different Sever Seversons there were, and to systematically rule out those who could not be the Sever Severson I was looking for. By doing so, I’ll move a step closer to knowing which, if any, of the documented Union soldiers was my ancestor. Once I’ve narrowed the list, I can consider ordering copies of one or more Civil War service records from the National Archives.

Some of the resources available to me for answering this question include:

To be sure I found as many of the men known as Sever Severson as reasonably possible, I had to check all of the phonetically similar variant spellings of his name, using all combinations of these phonetically similar substitutions:

S e v e r S e v e r son
S e
i
ei
ie
y
b
f
ff
v
e
u
r
rt
S e
i
ei
ie
y
b
f
ff
v
e
u
r
rt
sen
son

Or in other words, all of these spellings:

Surnames:
  • Sebersen
  • Sebertsen
  • Seberson
  • Sebertson
  • Sebursen
  • Seburtsen
  • Seburson
  • Seburtson
  • Sefersen
  • Sefertsen
  • Seferson
  • Sefertson
  • Seffersen
  • Seffertsen
  • Sefferson
  • Seffertson
  • Seffursen
  • Seffurtsen
  • Seffurson
  • Seffurtson
  • Sefursen
  • Sefurtsen
  • Sefurson
  • Sefurtson
  • Seibersen
  • Seibertsen
  • Seiberson
  • Seibertson
  • Seibursen
  • Seiburtsen
  • Seiburson
  • Seiburtson
  • Seifersen
  • Seifertsen
  • Seiferson
  • Seifertson
  • Seiffersen
  • Seiffertsen
  • Seifferson
  • Seiffertson
  • Seiffursen
  • Seiffurtsen
  • Seiffurson
  • Seiffurtson
  • Seifursen
  • Seifurtsen
  • Seifurson
  • Seifurtson
  • Seiversen
  • Seivertsen
  • Seiverson
  • Seivertson
  • Seivursen
  • Seivurtsen
  • Seivurson
  • Seivurtson
  • Seversen
  • Severtsen
  • Severson
  • Severtson
  • Sevursen
  • Sevurtsen
  • Sevurson
  • Sevurtson
  • Sibersen
  • Sibertsen
  • Siberson
  • Sibertson
  • Sibursen
  • Siburtsen
  • Siburson
  • Siburtson
  • Siebersen
  • Siebertsen
  • Sieberson
  • Siebertson
  • Siebursen
  • Sieburtsen
  • Sieburson
  • Sieburtson
  • Siefersen
  • Siefertsen
  • Sieferson
  • Siefertson
  • Sieffersen
  • Sieffertsen
  • Siefferson
  • Sieffertson
  • Sieffursen
  • Sieffurtsen
  • Sieffurson
  • Sieffurtson
  • Siefursen
  • Siefurtsen
  • Siefurson
  • Siefurtson
  • Sieversen
  • Sievertsen
  • Sieverson
  • Sievertson
  • Sievursen
  • Sievurtsen
  • Sievurson
  • Sievurtson
  • Sifersen
  • Sifertsen
  • Siferson
  • Sifertson
  • Siffersen
  • Siffertsen
  • Sifferson
  • Siffertson
  • Siffursen
  • Siffurtsen
  • Siffurson
  • Siffurtson
  • Sifursen
  • Sifurtsen
  • Sifurson
  • Sifurtson
  • Siversen
  • Sivertsen
  • Siverson
  • Sivertson
  • Sivursen
  • Sivurtsen
  • Sivurson
  • Sivurtson
  • Sybersen
  • Sybertsen
  • Syberson
  • Sybertson
  • Sybursen
  • Syburtsen
  • Syburson
  • Syburtson
  • Syfersen
  • Syfertsen
  • Syferson
  • Syfertson
  • Syffersen
  • Syffertsen
  • Syfferson
  • Syffertson
  • Syffursen
  • Syffurtsen
  • Syffurson
  • Syffurtson
  • Syfursen
  • Syfurtsen
  • Syfurson
  • Syfurtson
  • Syversen
  • Syvertsen
  • Syverson
  • Syvertson
  • Syvursen
  • Syvurtsen
  • Syvurson
  • Syvurtson
First names:
  • Seber
  • Sebert
  • Sebur
  • Seburt
  • Sefer
  • Sefert
  • Seffer
  • Seffert
  • Seffur
  • Seffurt
  • Sefur
  • Sefurt
  • Seiber
  • Seibert
  • Seibur
  • Seiburt
  • Seifer
  • Seifert
  • Seiffer
  • Seiffert
  • Seiffur
  • Seiffurt
  • Seifur
  • Seifurt
  • Seiver
  • Seivert
  • Seivur
  • Seivurt
  • Sever
  • Severt
  • Sevur
  • Sevurt
  • Siber
  • Sibert
  • Sibur
  • Siburt
  • Sieber
  • Siebert
  • Siebur
  • Sieburt
  • Siefer
  • Siefert
  • Sieffer
  • Sieffert
  • Sieffur
  • Sieffurt
  • Siefur
  • Siefurt
  • Siever
  • Sievert
  • Sievur
  • Sievurt
  • Sifer
  • Sifert
  • Siffer
  • Siffert
  • Siffur
  • Siffurt
  • Sifur
  • Sifurt
  • Siver
  • Sivert
  • Sivur
  • Sivurt
  • Syber
  • Sybert
  • Sybur
  • Syburt
  • Syfer
  • Syfert
  • Syffer
  • Syffert
  • Syffur
  • Syffurt
  • Syfur
  • Syfurt
  • Syver
  • Syvert
  • Syvur
  • Syvurt

The first reference I consulted was Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865. This volume, prepared between 1895 and 1899, and published in 1914, serves as an index to the two-volume Roster of Wisconsin volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865, which was compiled in 1885 and published in 1886. Searching through this index volume, I found seven men whose names matched or closely resembled “Sever Severson”:

Page Name Rank Co. Regiment Notes
599 Syver Syverson Lien Private G 46th Infantry
902 Segur Severson Private B 15th Infantry see Syvert Syvertson
902 Sever Severson Private K 1st Infantry 3 Mos.
902 Sever Severson Private A 5th Infantry
902 Sever O. Severson Private B 30th Infantry
902 Sever S. Severson Private B 3rd Infantry
992 Syvert Syvertson Private I 13th Infantry

The relevant pages of this volume have been reproduced below:

Index of Wisconsin soldiers title page 09080902 page 599 of Wisconsin Volunteers index Index of Wisconsin soldiers 09080902 page 992 of Wisconsin Volunteers index

After exhausting the index volume, I consulted the 1886 2-volume set, Roster of Wisconsin volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865. I found ten records for no more than eight men whose names matched or closely resembled “Sever Severson”:

Page Name Regiment Co. Residence Date Remarks
vol. 1
310
Siver
Siverson
1st Inf. K Dunkirk Apr. 17, ’61 M.O. Aug 21, ’61
vol. 1
394
Sever L.
Severson
3rd Inf. B Christiana Jan. 19, ’64 M.O. July 18, ’65.
vol. 1
468
Sever
Severson
5th Inf. K Menomonie Aug. 14, ’62 Trans. to Co. A.,
Ind. Batt., July 13, ’64
vol. 1
473
Sever
Severson
5th Inf.
(re-org)
A Menomonie Aug. 14, ’62 From orig. Co. K;
M.O. June 20, ’65.
vol. 1
765
Severt
Severtson
13th Inf. I Barre Jan. 5, ’64 From Co. G. 15th Wis. Inf.;
M.O. Nov. 24, ’65
vol. 1
810
Syvert
Syvertson
15th Inf. B La Crosse Jan. 5, ’64 Wnd. New Hope Church;
trans. to Co. H, Dec. 1, ’64.
vol. 1
823
Syvert
Syvertson
15th Inf. H La Crosse Jan. 5, ’64 * From Co. B.
vol. 2
422
Sever O.
Severson
30th Inf. B Dunkirk Mar. 2, ’63 M.O. Sept. 20, ’65.
vol. 2
799
Syver Syverson
Lien
46th Inf. G Blue Mounds Feb. 17, ’65 M.O. Sept. 27, ’65.
vol. 2
835
Even
Severson
48th Inf. D Norway Feb. 15, ’65 M.O. Feb. 19, ’66

The relevant pages of this volume have been reproduced below:

RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_0_titlepage RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_310 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_394 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_468
RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_473 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_765 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_810 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_1_823
RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_2_422 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_2_799 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_2_835 RosterofWisconsinvolunteersWaroftheRebellion1861_2_835

Searching through the Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Wisconsin, I found eleven records for no more than nine men whose names matched or closely resembled “Sever Severson”:

Name Rank Co. Regiment Notes
Segar Severson Private B, H 15 Wisconsin Infantry see also 13 Wisc. Vol.
Sever L. Severson Private B 3 Wisconsin Infantry
Sever O. Severson Private B 30 Wisconsin Infantry
Sever Severson Private K 1 Wisconsin Infantry 3 months, 1861.
Sever Severson Private A, K 5 Wisconsin Infantry
Severt Severson Private I 13 Wisconsin Infantry
Segur Severtson Private B, H 15 Wisconsin Infantry original filed under
Segar Severson
Segur Sivertson Private B, H 15 Wisconsin Infantry
Syvert Syvertson Private B, H 15 Wisconsin Infantry original filed under
Segar Severson
Siver Siverson Lein Private G 46 Wisconsin Infantry original filed under
Syver Syverson Lien
Syver Syverson Lien Private G 46 Wisconsin Infantry

Compiled Service Record Index Cards:

Segar
Severson
Sever L.
Severson
Sever O.
Severson
Sever
Severson
Sever
Severson
Jacket 2 Segar Severson HB 15th Jacket 3 Sever L Severson B 3rd Jacket 4 Sever O Severson B 30th Jacket 1 Sever Severson K 1st Jacket 5 Sever Severson AK 5th
Severt
Severson
Segur
Severtson
Segur
Sivertson
Syvert
Syvertson
Siver
Siverson Lein
Syver
Syverson Lien
Jacket 6 Severt Severson L 13th Jacket 11 Segur Severtson HB 15th ref Jacket 9 Sigur Sivertson HB 15th ref Jacket 10 Syvert Syvertson HB 15th ref Jacket 7 Lein Siver Siverson G 46 ref Jacket 8 Lien Syver Syverson G 46th

Searching through the Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 (aka Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index), I found seven records for no more than five men whose names matched or closely resembled “Sever Severson”:

Name Co. Regiment Notes
Sever O. Severson B 1 Wisconsin Infantry also B 30 Wis. Inf.
Sever T. Severson K 3 Wisconsin Infantry Died March 23, 1922,
at Mondon, Wis.
Severt Severson I 13 Wisconsin Infantry
Sever O. Severson B 30 Wisconsin Infantry also B 1 Wis. Inf.
Sever L. Severson B 3 Wisconsin Infantry
Sever Severson K 5 Wisconsin Infantry also A 5 Wis. Inf.
Died May 6, 1911
Sever Severson A 5 Wisconsin Infantry also K 5 Wis. Inf.
Died May 6, 1911

Civil War and Later Pension Index:

Sever O.
Severson
Sever T.
Severson
Severt
Severson
Sever O.
Severson
Pension 1 Severson, Sever O Pension 2 Severson, Sever T Pension 3 Severt Severson Pension 4 Severson, Sever O
Sever L.
Severson
Sever
Severson
Sever
Severson
Pension 5 Severson, Sever L Pension 6 Severson, Sever Pension 7 Severson, Sever

Searching through the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles database, I found seven records for soldiers from Wisconsin whose names matched or closely resembled “Sever Severson”:

No. Name Residence Enlistment
date
Rank at
enlistment
State
served
Survived
the war?
1 Sever Severson Menomonie,
Wisconsin
14 Aug 1862 Private WI Yes
2 Sever O. Severson Dunkirk,
Wisconsin
3 Feb 1863 Private WI Yes
3 Sever L. Severson Christiana,
Wisconsin
19 Jan 1864 Private WI Yes
4 Evan Severson Norway,
Wisconsin
15 Feb 1865 Private WI Yes
5 Severt Severtson Barre,
Wisconsin
Private WI Yes
6 Syvert Syvertson La Crosse,
Wisconsin
1 May 1864 Private WI Yes
(wounded)
7 Siver Siverson Dunkirk,
Wisconsin
17 Apr 1861 Private WI Yes

The service records of the above men, as presented in the U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles database, are recorded below:

No. Name Service record Source
1 Sever
Severson
Enlisted in Company K, Wisconsin 5th Infantry Regiment on 14 Aug 1862.
Mustered out on 20 Jun 1865.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
2 Sever O.
Severson
Enlisted in Company B, Wisconsin 30th Infantry Regiment on 2 Mar 1863.
Mustered out on 20 Sep 1865 at Louisville, KY.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
3 Sever L.
Severson
Enlisted in Company B, Wisconsin 3rd Infantry Regiment on 19 Jan 1864.
Mustered out on 18 Jul 1865 at Madison, WI.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
4 Even
Severson
Enlisted in Company D, Wisconsin 48th Infantry Regiment on 15 Feb 1865.
Mustered out on 19 Feb 1866.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
5 Severt
Severtson
Mustered out on 5 Jan 1864.
Transferred to Company I, Wisconsin 13th Infantry Regiment on 5 Jan 1864.
Mustered out on 24 Nov 1865 at San Antonio, TX.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
6 Syvert
Syvertson
Enlisted in Company B, Wisconsin 15th Infantry Regiment on 5 Jan 1864.
Mustered out on 10 Jun 1865.
Transferred to on 10 Jun 1865.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion
7 Siver
Siverson
Enlisted in Company K, Wisconsin 1st Infantry Regiment on 17 Apr 1861.
Mustered out on 21 Aug 1861 at Milwaukee, WI.
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion

There are also some additional resources that I haven’t been able to consult yet, but which I should check, including:


Sorting out the Sever Seversons

Now that I’ve located all the Sever Severson candidates I can find in the five references I consulted, I need to figure out who the different men are. Because none of the references agree in terms of how many Sever Seversons there were, the spelling of the names, and what units they served in, this exercise will be a little more complicated than might otherwise be expected.

To get started, I created a two-part, color-coded matrix to help visualize the problem. For each of the five references I consulted (listed in the top matrix in brighter, darker colors), I listed all included soldiers’ names in the lower matrix, in the same color. Then, continuing in the lower matrix, I indicated the Regiment and Company for each included name.

Then, for each soldier’s name (numbered from 1 to 42 and colored with meaningless, non-unique, lighter, pastel colors as a visual aid), I copied his colored number back up to the top chart. While the pastel colors repeat (so are not unique), the combination of soldier’s number and color are unique.

Siver Severson differentiation matrix

The top matrix is what I’ll use to help distinguish the different Sever Seversons, and the bottom matrix will serve primarily as a key to the soldiers’ names.

To simplify matters, I’ll start with a couple of assumptions. I can always change these assumptions later if there’s any indication that they’re not correct. These assumptions are:

  1. No unit had two men named Sever Severson at the same time. I found no evidence of this in any of the consulted references, and none of the Sever Seversons were listed with additional modifiers (“Jr.,” “#1,” the older,” “bigger,” occupation, etc.) that might be expected if the two identically named soldiers were serving concurrently in a single unit and had to be regularly distinguished from one another. It’s possible that middle initials served this purpose, so I’ll pay close attention when Severs with middle initials are involved.
  2. No unit had two men named Sever Severson serving sequentially. My reasoning is similar to the above, although with reorganized units like Company A of the 5th Infantry, there may have been little confusion due to the complete (or near-complete) turnover of personnel in the Company.

Using these two assumptions, I can start by taking the position that each of the twelve units mentioned in the consulted references had a different Sever Severson (distinct individuals are outlined in red):

Severson matrix top only, first pass

The cross-reference cards in the  Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Wisconsin, however, explicitly synonymize differently spelled names as being variant spellings for the same person in two cases (outlined in purple below), so I’ll need to merge a couple of hypothetical individuals, reducing the number of distinct Sever Seversons to a maximum of ten individuals:

Severson matrix top only 2

The index volume to Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865, appears to try to synonymize Segur Severson (2) and Syvert Syvertson (7), but the Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865, volume I, lists Severt Severtson (12 [=7]) as being a different person than Syvert Syvertson (13 [=2]), with the two men hailing from Barre, WI, and La Crosse, WI, respectively. On the other hand, Barre and La Crosse are only 8½ miles apart in La Crosse County, and the record states that Severt Severtson (12 [=7]) transferred from Co. G, 15th Inf. Regiment (for which I have no service information), while Syvert Syvertson (13 [=2]) was wounded and transferred to Co. H, 15th Inf. Regiment (for which I also have no service information). This information may not be as inconsistent as it appears, but for now I’ll accept person 7+12 as distinct from person 2+13.

With the exception of the aforementioned problem with the men/man from La Crosse County, determining the remaining similarities and differences was a relatively straightforward task. In the matrix below, blue ovals indicate synonymy, blue arrows indicate similarity, red Xs indicate differences, and the red question mark indicates uncertainty.

Severson matrix top only 5

Now returning to the bottom matrix, let’s see how these nine proposed individuals line up in terms of their names, hometowns, and other details:

Proposed Individual 1 (5+15+20+21+29+32+37):

  • 5: Sever O. Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 15: Sever O. Severson
    • from Dunkirk, WI
    • mustered in on March 2, 1863
    • served in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on September 20, 1865
  • 20: Sever O. Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 21: Sever Severson
    • was a Private in Co. K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
    • served for 3 months in 1861
  • 29: Sever O. Severson
    • served in Co. B of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 32: Sever O. Severson
    • served in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. B of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
  • 37: Sever O. Severson
    • from Dunkirk, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on February 3, 1863
    • enlisted on March 2, 1863 (database error?)
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on September 20, 1865, in Louisville, Kentucky
    • survived the war

Proposed Individual 2 (3+8+42):

  • 3: Sever Severson
    • was a Private in Co. K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
    • served for 3 months
  • 8: Siver Siverson
    • from Dunkirk, Wisconsin
    • mustered in on April 17, 1862
    • mustered out on August 21, 1861
    • served in Co. K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
  • 42: Siver Siverson
    • from Dunkirk, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on April 17, 1861
    • was a Private in Co. K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on August 21, 1861, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • survived the war

Proposed Individual 3 (6+9+19+33+38):

  • 6: Sever S. Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
  • 9: Sever L. Severson
    • from Christiana, Wisconsin
    • mustered in January 19, 1864
    • mustered out July 18, 1865
    • served in Co. B. of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
  • 19: Sever L. Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
  • 33: Sever L. Severson
    • served in Co. B of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
  • 38: Sever L. Severson
    • from Christiana, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on January 19, 1864
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on July 18, 1865, at Madison, Wisconsin
    • survived the war

Proposed Individual 4 (30):

  • 30: Sever T. Severson
    • served in Co. K of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry
    • died March 23, 1922, in Mondon, Wisconsin

Proposed Individual 5 (4+10+11+22+34+35+36):

  • 4: Sever Severson
    • was a Private in Co. A of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 10: Sever Severson
    • from Menomonie, Wisconsin
    • mustered in August 14, 1862
    • served in Co. K of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • transferred to Co. A of the re-organized 5th WI Infantry on July 13, 1864
    • “Ind. Batt” [Indiana Battalion? Indian Battalion? Independent Battalion?]
  • 11: Sever Severson
    • from Menomonie, Wisconsin
    • mustered in August 14, 1862
    • transferred from Co. K of the original 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out June 20, 1865
  • 22: Sever Severson
    • was a Private in Co. A of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was a Private in Co. K of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 34: Sever Severson
    • served in Co. K of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. A of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • died on May 6, 1911
  • 35: Sever Severson
    • served in Co. K of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. A of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • died on May 6, 1911
  • 36: Sever Severson
    • from Menomonie, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on August 14, 1862
    • was a Private in Co. K of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on June 20, 1865
    • survived the war

Proposed Individual 6 (7+12+23+31+40):

  • 7: Syvert Syvertson
    • was a Private in Co. I of the 13th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 12: Severt Severtson
    • from Barre, Wisconsin
    • mustered in January 5, 1864
    • transferred from Co. G of the 14th Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. I of the 13th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out November 24, 1865
  • 23: Severt Severtson
    • was a Private in Co. I of the 13th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 31: Severt Severson
    • served in Co. I of the 13th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 40: Severt Severtson
    • from Barre, Wisconsin
    • was a Private
    • mustered out on January 5, 1864 (database error?)
    • transferred to Co. I of the 13th WI Infantry on January 5, 1864
    • mustered out on November 24, 1865 in San Antonio, Texas
    • survived the war

Proposed Individual 7 (2+13+14+18+24+25+26+41):

  • 2: Segur Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 13: Syvert Syvertson
    • from La Crosse, Wisconsin
    • mustered in January 5, 1864
    • served in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was wounded at New Hope Church
    • transferred to Co. H of the 15th WI Infantry on December 1, 1864
  • 14: Syvert Syvertson
    • from La Crosse, Wisconsin
    • mustered in on January 5, 1864
    • transferred from Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • served in Co. H of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 18: Segar Severson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was a Private in Co. H of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 24: Segur Severtson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was a Private in Co. H of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 25: Segur Sivertson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was a Private in Co. H of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 26: Syvert Syvertson
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • was a Private in Co. H of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 41: Syvert Syvertson
    • from La Crosse, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on January 5, 1864
    • enlisted on May 1, 1864 (error in database?)
    • was a Private in Co. B of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on June 10, 1865
    • transferred out on June 10, 1865 (error in database?)
    • was wounded, but survived the war

Proposed Individual 8 (1+16+27+28):

  • 1: Syver Syverson Lien
    • was a Private in Co. G of the 46th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 16: Syver Syverson Lien
    • from Blue Mounds, Wisconsin
    • mustered in on February 17, 1865
    • served in Co. G of the 46th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on September 27, 1865
  • 27: Siver Siverson Lein
    • was a Private in Co. G of the 46th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 28: Syver Syverson Lien
    • was a Private in Co. G of the 46th Wisconsin Infantry

Proposed Individual 9 (17+39):

  • 17: Even Severson
    • from Norway, Wisconsin
    • mustered in on February 15, 1865
    • served in Co. D of the 48th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on February 19, 1866
  • 39: Even Severson
    • from Norway, Wisconsin
    • enlisted on February 15, 1865
    • was a Private in Co. D of the 48th Wisconsin Infantry
    • mustered out on February 19, 1866
    • survived the war

Could any of the soldiers listed above be my ancestral Sever Severson?

Of the nine proposed individuals, eight are definitely not the Sever Severson I’m looking for, and the ninth is almost certainly not the Sever I’m looking for, either:

Proposed Individual 1—Sever O. Severson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on September 20, 1865, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Proposed Individual 2—Siver Severson: This person is unlikely to be the Sever Severson I’m looking for. His hometown is listed as Dunkirk, and there’s no record of Sever ever living in Dunkirk. This Sever also served for three months in 1861, and there’s no indication that our Sever had military service prior to 1863. This candidate cannot be ruled out, but it seems highly unlikely that this is the same person as our Sever Severson.

Proposed Individual 3—Sever L. Severson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on July 18, 1865, at Madison, Wisconsin.

Proposed Individual 4—Sever T. Severson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He died decades later, on March 23, 1922, in Mondon, Wisconsin.

Proposed Individual 5—Sever Severson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on June 20, 1865.

Proposed Individual 6—Severt Severtson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on November 24, 1865 in San Antonio, Texas.

Proposed Individual 7—Syvert Syvertson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on June 10, 1865.

Proposed Individual 8—Syver Syverson Lien: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on September 27, 1865.

Proposed Individual 9—Even Severson: This man cannot be the Sever Severson I’m looking for because he survived the war. He mustered out on February 19, 1866.


Although a resolution to the mystery of Sever Severson’s apparently missing Civil War military service records still eludes me, I’m going to end this post here. I’ve still got a couple of potentially fruitful avenues to follow in pursuit of his military service records:

  1. Determine which regiments and companies other Black Earth men served in, and then study their rosters and muster rolls for evidence of Sever.
  2. From clues that may be written in his diary, determine what unit(s) had movements, engagements and dates that coincide with those in the diary, and then study their rosters and muster rolls for evidence of Sever.

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