By Jennifer Byrd, Journal-World
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Lawrence native Jackie Kennedy always knew many of her relatives fought for the Union during the Civil War.

But when she recently discovered a great-aunt had named her son after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Kennedy started to think some of her relatives might have had Southern leanings.

"I thought everyone was Union until I found that out," she said.

After listening to Denver Erickson of the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization speak Saturday afternoon at Watkins Community Museum of History, Kennedy decided to fill out a sheet so members of Erickson’s group could start to research her family.

"I want to know where everyone came from," Kennedy said. "It’s so interesting."

The speech was part of the "Civil War on the Western Frontier" events taking place this month.

Erickson, commander of the organization’s Topeka camp, said a member of his organization would look through several Internet databases to seek information on Kennedy’s ancestors for no charge.

Erickson said his group had been able to find graves of more than 200 Confederate soldiers that had not been marked in Kansas by using computer-based genealogical databases.

About 30 people attended the speech.

"That’s a good number for these programs," said Rebecca Phipps, director of the Watkins museum. "The Civil War really pulls in people from all over. It’s so fascinating."

During the presentation, Erickson showed Civil War-era equipment and uniforms and told about the soldiers’ lives. He also said there were a lot of misperceptions about the war and his organization’s goal was to research the true history and spread it to the public.

© Copyright 2004 The Lawrence Journal-World