Stories of the Civil War often include tales of brothers fighting against brothers.

Stories of the Civil War often include tales of brothers fighting against brothers.

When Northland resident David Reed tells stories of the Civil War, they often involve ancestor fighting against ancestor.

A native of Alexandria, Reed has studied his family's genealogy for more than 20 years. For more than 15 years, he's served as a Civil War re-enactor for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Though he's spent his life in Ohio, Reed said he got involved with the Confederates after finding strong ties to Alabama Civil War veterans through his father's side of the family.

He said he has found other ancestors who served on the northern side, but his closest relations were southerners during the Civil War.

"I have both sides -- my mother's from Licking County," Reed said.

He said he began studying genealogy when his children were born to help learn more about their families.

"I wanted to do this for my kids," Reed said. "Now, I have so many stories, they don't want to hear them."

A fascination with those stories turned Reed into a genealogy hobbyist, and he now serves as the genealogist for the Ohio Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

He transforms himself into a Civil War-era soldier by donning a gray wool jacket and hat and trading his plastic glasses for smaller, wire-rimmed ones. He said once he began researching his family's genealogy, he became entranced with the stories and research quickly became his hobby.

"I just love the little stories," Reed said. "You get into genealogy and you don't have to make up stories about your family. They're there already."

As a re-enactor, Reed spends his free time with other members of the 5th Kentucky Infantry and Artillery, appearing at events, setting up encampments, marching in parades and teaching at schools.

Reed, a U.S. postman by trade, said he fell into re-enacting by accident and has stuck with it because he enjoys sharing the history of the war and the stories he's discovered about its soldiers.

"We all like to tell the kids the stories beyond what's in the books," he said. "We try to do things that are interesting and that teach people at the same time."

Reed has even put together a novel, complete with historical photos and facts, centering on the 35th Alabama, a regiment comprising students of the LaGrange Military Academy, located in northern Alabama, where Reed's ancestors haled from.

He described the novel, which he said he will seek to publish, as 80-percent fact and 20-percent fiction. Mostly, he said, he takes historical people and places and gives them personal stories.

He's worked with people in the Alabama community in which the school was once located to research and compile the stories.

"They don't know these people (the soldiers) down there very well, so I give them a story," he said.

Reed keeps fragments of bricks from LaGrange's former buildings in his basement Civil War room and said he's even planned a sequel to his novel that will outline what happens to his characters after the Civil War.

Reed said he sees his work as a genealogist and a Confederate re-enactor as playing a part in bringing Southern history to the North.

"There aren't many of us in the state of Ohio," he said of Confederate re-enactors.

But, he said, Columbus itself was known to have Confederate sympathies and is considered by some to have been the northernmost Confederate city. When faced with those who question an Ohioan with a passion for the Confederacy, Reed said he tells people it's all about history.

"We tell them we're into teaching history more than anything else," he said. "People think the Confederacy was like the North. It's like a whole other country."