Friday, November 18, 2016

Furthering Danish Ancestry Research

Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants
You’ve reached a brickwall in your Danish research, because the names are so similar. This is where genealogy becomes hard. What were our ancestors thinking? Sarcasm: Did our Denmark ancestors have only a limited pool of names to choose from?   

How can you determine which “Cathrine [aka Catharina] Nielsen” is yours?  You have an approximate birthdate, and maybe even a place of origin or immigration date from various sources - census records, death record, children’s death records, etc.  But, there are too many Cathrine Nielsen options on the shipping manifests.  What to do next?

Have you tried the Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants?

What are Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants?
The Copenhagen Chief of Police approved and monitored all emigration agents in Denmark and authorized all overseas tickets for Denmark passengers traveling directly from Copenhagen to the United States or indirectly via another European harbor for destinations overseas. These records are stored in the Dansk Data Arkiv.

Emigration lists were compiled by the Copenhagen Police from 1869 to 1940. The lists resulted in 394,000 emigrants being recorded and give the name, last residence, age, year of emigration and first destination of the emigrant from Denmark during those years. So gather all the information you can from the USA records, and now it’s time to be patient and begin collaborating data.

Step 1 Denmark, Emigration Index
Begin with Denmark, Emigration Index, 1868-1908. This third party database abstracts data from the Dansk Demografisk Database . You can find this information also in Dutch on the Data Arkiv Emigration Database

Nielsen, Cathrine
Contract no.:
Registration date:
Birth place:
Birth place:
Last res. parish:
Last res. county:
Last residence:
Destination country:
Destination city:
New York City
Destination state:
New York State
Name of ship:

Tips: Check parish information, occupation, age above.  Our example only mentions occupation as Jomfru (“virgin/single woman”), but it does provide us with her age allowing us to estimate her year of birth, and last resident. Often researchers will find a birth place that will lead us to easily verifying the correct person.

It is possible you don’t have the birth place, but you may have verified a residence in the US records.  Either way, the next step is to find out ship information.  
Step 2 Ship Research
Each traveler recorded has the name of the ship. You will want to extract all possible ship records. This Catherine Nielsen travelled 17 Jul 1889 on the Thingvalla, Norway Heritage Ship Lines.  This ship most often began voyage from Copenhagen. Ship information can be found on the Norway Heritage website.  

Step 3 Contract Number and Ledger
With a list of ancestors that meet your qualifications, it’s time to work.  I gathered 4 Cathrine Nielsen’s that were possible candidates. Again, in this case, I needed two research questions answered.  My abbreviated research questions were 1) Who were the relatives of  my Cathrine Nielsen? 2) From which parish can I find more information for my Cathrine Nielsen.

The key to confirming my Cathrine Nielsen was via identifying her travelling companions.  Who travelled with her helped identify her USA family group and determine their first point of entry. The Danish parish allowed me to narrow additional archives available for research.

So you will want to take special note of the Contract Number specified on the Denmark, Emigration Index, 1868-1908. Often it leads you to the birth place or at least the last parish/residence. Plus, the Contract Number and the ID Code will lead the clerk at the Police Archives to the original copies.

Contract no.:

Researchers can contact the Dansk Data Arkiv and request an original copy of the ledger: Write to:

More Information: Dansk Demografisk Database
For more information, visit Using the Danish Demographic Database for an overview (in English) of other databases that may assist you with your Danish research.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Courts-Martial and Courts of Inquiry Records

1816 Wm. Crawford, LOC
Navy Records 1799 - 1867
As family researchers we love that non-conformist ancestor.  The one soldier that pushes the rules and regulations, perhaps failing to behave “gentlemanly,” or even just opinionated and outspoken enough to result in a superior’s reprimand. These reprimands may have resulted in an inquiry or courts martial giving us a peek at our veteran’s military service. 

Most researchers understandably are quite familiar with the Army courts-martial records.  So let’s take a look at Navy records today. 

Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy)
The Records of the Office of the (Navy) Judge Advocate General  records are held at the National Archives (NARA) Washington DC and are part of Record Group (RG) 125. The extensive collection includes personnel records, correspondence, claims, and more. 

The courts-martial and courts of inquiry transcripts are located in RG 125.2.2 Personnel Records (microfilm: M273).  The transcripts of proceedings of general courts- martial and courts of inquiry, 1799-1867 cases have been microfilmed on abt. 180 reels.  And, in addition to the collection held at the NARA, the Family History Library has a copy of this collection as well as other libraries (check WorldCat).

Indexed Records
The best news is this collection is indexed by name.  We suggest you begin with the index for another reason, it gives you the exact date and case number making this research relatively quick especially for the return of knowing more about your pre-Civil War Navy veteran. Additionally, the index gives you a summary of your veteran’s offenses. For some researchers, this may be all you need, but the case transcripts are descriptive and should not be overlooked. Note: We have not shown actual cases in this post, only index images. 

What to Expect
Cases may be 2 pages or 200 pages of testimonies, court records, and minutes/notes. Through these records we have solved the following cases:
  1. Explanation of name changes
  2. Tracing Jewish ancestry from 1816
  3. Cause of death (see below)
  4. Birthplace
  5. Rank and Service dates of veteran
Marine Research
Researchers may also find information on their marine.  Little, a Sargent in the Marines, was found guilty of theft and “unsoldierlike” conduct, and contempt of superior officer.  Like many of those recorded in the courts-martial records he was demoted. 

Another popular Sentence of the Court was to be publicly reprimanded. 

Cause of death
Have you had that ancestor just vanish during military service never to return to his family?

Although many sailors were found not guilty and charges dismissed, others were put to death during service. The above John and Peter Black and Matthew Biddy were ordered “to be hung by the neck until death. On 9 Oct 1849.”  This was due to the following infractions:
1) meeting with intent to kill. 
2) desertion with an attempt to kill and running away with a boat the property of the US.

Of course desertion, a serious offense, could result in as many as 150 lashes or a call for the soldiers’ death by being shot to death.  This was not uncommon in 1817. 

Be sure to add this collection to you research plan.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible, answers

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Confederate Soldier Records - Another Resource

James William Calhoun Blizzard,
Confederacy, 3rd Regiment, Missouri Infantry
Missouri and other Confederate States
Whereas the Union had the U.S. Adjutant General’s Office, the Confederate Army had the Office of the Adjutant and Inspector General.  Both offices were diligent in enumerating their soldiers and tracking their military strength. After each engagement the Confederate units submitted names of those “killed, wounded and missing, with narrative reports of the action.”  These confederate records were recovered by U.S. Adjutant General’s Office according to the Confederate Army Regulations.

State Confederate Records

Robert B. Davis, Missouri Confederacy, 3rd Infantry
In addition to the familiar Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, researchers may find additional confederate records locally that may add to ancestors’ stories. As part of Confederate accounting, documents of the Missouri Confederate States (CSA) of America Final Statements can be located at the Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, or the Midwest Genealogy Center, Kansas City, Mo.  For transcribed information on the Civil War in Missouri, be sure to review the reference materials of Kenneth E. Weant that may be found at Gone West Publications.  All Final Statements in this post were provided by Weant. 

These records include the final pay for the 1st Cavalry Volunteers, Calvary 2nd Battalion, Jackson and St. Louis County; 3rd Battalion Cavalry, 1st Infantry; 2nd Infantry; 3rd Infantry (no index) located on microfilm roll S929.

On microfilm roll S930 Missouri researchers will find 3rd Infantry (cont’d); 4th Infantry; 5th Infantry; CSA Veteran Register, Joplin, CSA Missouri State Guard Register, 1861-1865 with index; CSA Missouri State Guard Registers and others, 1861. 

Compiled Service Records (CSR) of Confederate Soldiers
Daniel Faulkner, Missouri Final Statement
Confederacy, 3rd Infantry
Be sure to review the compiled service records of Confederate soldiers.  And for additional information on your veteran check the National Park Service Soldiers / Sailors. This database may provide hints to middle names and the film number of the Compiled Service Record

Daniel Faulkner, CSR
NPS Soldiers / Sailors Database
Note: CSR MO Index microfilm:  M380, Roll 5
Where are Confederate CSR Records?
The Confederate States Army Casualties: Lists and Narrative Reports, 1861-1865  records, part of the War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109 are housed at National Archives I, Washington, D. C.  

Researchers will also find some records digitized on
The Compiled Service Records (CSR) are indexed and arranged by states:
Alabama: M311, index M374
Territory of Arizona: M318, index M375
Arkansas: M317, index M376
Florida: M251, index M225
Georgia: M266, index M226
Kentucky: M319, index M377
Louisiana: M320, index M378
Maryland: M321, index M379
Mississippi: M269, index M232
Missouri: M322, index M380
North Carolina: M270, index M230
South Carolina: M267, index M381
Tennessee: M268, index M231
Texas M323, index M227
Virginia: M324, index M382

Other Microfilms
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations Raised by the Confederate Government - M258
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers and Non-regimental Enlisted Men - M331
The index to both M258 and M331 are on microfilm:M818. Note: Microfilm M253 is the Consolidated Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

For Your Trust and Estate Planning

WSJ, 13 June2016 Family Genealogy by Financial Networks Video (After Ads)

From Whence "It" Came
Since 2008, a3Genealogy has seen a steady increase in our “Genealogy for Your Estate Package.” Although most clients wish to include this package as part of personal estate planning or filed with family trust papers, we also have seen an increase of genealogical books detailing information on corporate founders, successful entrepreneurs and politicians. (See Genealogy and Corporations). 

Corporate investors, French and Napa Valley vintners, media and communication families, and commercial real estate successors all have the same goal:  “please provide a thorough documentation of our family history.”  They wish to have their history preserved. Some have inherited their assets, while others have built from nothing, but each want their descendants to understand the source, the drive, and often the DNA.

6 Things to Look For:
  1. DNA. Yes, as mentioned in the WSJ video, clients will want a package that includes a full DNA analysis.
  2. Destination Genealogy. Many clients wish to travel overseas for reunions, or visits of origin.  Your researcher should have the overseas connections, and preferably multilingual, willing to travel with or meet the family in destinations.  You’ve seen this on the popular TV shows like NBC, Who Do You Think You Are?
  3. Proper Citation.  This is a research project. It is imperative for descendants and heirs to have a properly sourced book.
  4. Hardcover Books.  Your family book should include embedded family photos and images of research with text.  It’s not enough to just have a family tree. Be sure your researcher is a historian and will include the social history and times of your ancestor for clarification.
  5. Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).  If you wish to have 5 generations or 15 or more, be sure your researcher signs a NDA.  Most professional forensic genealogists will offer this as part of their services.
  6. Anonymous Research.  If you choose to be anonymous, your researcher should also be your voice. This is most important in cases of adoption, or other private family relations.  For complete privacy we suggest your researcher be a licensed private investigator. 
Other Services
  • Adoption and Guardian Research
  • Probate Research
  • Locating Heirs and Heir Searches
  • Deed and Estate Research
  • Locate Beneficiaries
  • Inheritance, Estate and Trusts Research
  • Citizenship and emigration
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers
History Channel, Travel Channel, NBC, TLC & PBS

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day Remembrance of Veterans

Obtaining Veterans' Ribbons, Medals, Certificates
It’s Memorial Day and we are remembering the stories of our veterans. Did they serve overseas?  Did they participate in a campaign in WWI or WWII?  Were they Korean War or Vietnam veterans. Your veteran may have served in the Cold War or one of the early wars.

Replacement Awards and Decorations

Often we hear of their heroic actions, or details of their battles. Yet, the earned awards have been lost or misplaced over time.  But did you know veterans, next of kin, and even the general public can receive replacement military awards or decorations? This can include certificates of service, copies of your veteran’s discharge papers, medals and ribbons. Veterans may even obtain a Cold War Recognition Certificate.

What Is Needed

  • Discharge Papers specifying eligible awards, ribbons, medals
  • Proof of Relationship: Birth Certificate (next of kin), Driver’s License (veteran)
  • Death Certificate, obituary of Veteran (if next of kin)
4 Tips / Hints
  1. Obtain the veteran’s military service record online, by mail, or by fax.  Submit Request.
  2. If your veteran’s separation documents were lost in the 1973 St. Louis Fire (read about it here), there are alternatives to locating discharge papers which will list awards and decorations.
  3. Visit the National Archives Military Awards and Decorations page, for complete procedure and costs information for replacement medals and ribbons.
  4. Cold War Recognition Certificate may be available to members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel between 2 Sept 1945 to 27 Dec 1991.
More Information
Expect a 60-90 day response time to receive your awards/decorations once all paperwork has been submitted.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Are You Overlooking Chancery Court Records?

Sally Grimes, daughter of Gabriel Winston
Kinships Named: Parents and Maiden Names
As family researchers and genealogists, one of our common brick-walls is a result of the lack of resources to confirm kinships. Familiar relationships, parents’ names,  maiden names are all needed to complete family units, but what happens when we’ve exhausted all the normal resources - census, wills/probates, deeds, vital records, church records…etc.? Well, hopefully the researcher has not overlooked Chancery Records when they are available.

What are Chancery Court Records?
Chancery Court records hold a wealth of genealogical information. Although not necessarily a part of every states’ historical legal system, when available it will behoove the researcher to take more than a cursory glance at these genealogical-rich documents. Researchers will find personal testimonies that include family relationships. In some states (i.e. Virginia, Tennessee, etc) chancery court records are available from the early 18th century through early 1900’s. In Virginia alone there are over 233,000 multi-paged cases. More on Virginia Chancery Courts can be found at this informative piece on 

What is "Next Friend?"
Of course the key to understanding any court record relies on period vocabulary. In the Chancery Court record of Sally Grimes of Hanover County, VA vs. Joseph Grimes, Sally’s father Gabriel Winston is identified as both “father” and “next friend.”

A "next friend" can be considered the person who represents and speaks on behalf of the plaintiff. The next friend may be a parent, a guardian, an older sibling , etc.  By no means should the researcher assume it is a parent or even a relationship. We have uncovered many next friends proven not to be of blood relation.  In many cases the next friend is identified, removing the tempting guessing game and solidly identifying kinships. This is most useful, when also looking for a maiden name.  

Unlike many states, Delaware's "Court of Chancery" has survived since 1792.  Of course its roles, jurisdictions and litigation realms have been consistently updated to meet the needs of the court to include corporate litigation. Visit Delaware Courts for a quick history of the English Origins of the "Court of Chancery." 

As the times have changed, so has the role of the Chancery Court. In current day Mississippi Chancery Courts are the repository for land records.  Researchers will also find divorces, guardianships and wills in the Mississippi Chancery Courts.

Other states like Missouri, may boast of early records of the Chancery Court.  For St. Louis MO. Chancery Court Records may be found as early as 1811 to about the Civil War.  These records can be found at the Missouri State Archives. Like other states, Missouri researchers may find other counties with salvaged Chancery Court Records.  

Be sure to check FamilySearch Wiki for your state / county. 
(Updated from Chancery Court Records for Genealogy Brickwalls posted 12 Oct 2013).

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thank D.C. Emancipation Holiday for 2016 Tax Date

Compensated Emancipation Act
Why Tax Day is on 18 April (for Some)
April 15 is synonymous with tax day, until it interferes with the Compensated Emancipation Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln. This holiday is observed annually on April 16.  The Washington D. C. Emancipation Day (only observed in the District of Columbia) is a legal holiday in D. C., but affects all Americans when it is celebrated on Tax Day.  Yet, it still is fuzzy. Why was tax day moved from Friday April 15 to April 18 when the D. C. holiday is the 16th of April?

Well…the practice is the 16 April Washington D. C. Emancipation day is celebrated on the closest weekday.  That landed the holiday recognition on the 15 April in 2016 and allowed the D.C. public employees a long weekend to celebrate this historically significant day.  Click here to see the tax code for a more confusing explanation.

Know that this date change only affects Federal Taxes, not local taxes such as KCMO Individual Earned Tax which was due 15 April (yes, I learned the hard way, and gladly had to donate a late penalty fee toward bettering our city). 

Research D. C. Slave Owner and Emancipated Slave Records
Slave Record
D. C. slaves were emancipated on 16 April 1862, abolishing slavery 8.5 months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued 1 Jan 1863. 

Thanks to the Compensated Emancipation Act, slave and slaveholder information was detailed leaving a money trail to follow for the researcher.
This new act permitted slave owners to file petitions for compensation promising loyal Unionist masters up to $300 for each slave as well as voluntary colonization for former slaves outside the United States. An initial 966 petitioners filed claims for 3,100 slaves and another 161 persons submitted claims after the July 12 supplementary act including former slaves whose owners had not filed petitions. These are the records contained in this database.(
Records on the compensation leads DC slave and slaveholder researchers with useful documentations that most often shares names and ages of emancipated slaves, the names of their parents, and how these slaves were acquired.  
Slaveholder Petition
Combining the slaveholder petitions and statements of the emancipated slave paints a larger picture for researchers.  The Washington, D.C. Slave Owner Petitions, 1862-1863 records may also be found on
Minutes of Meetings
Be sure to also review the Minutes of Meetings, April 28, 1862 -  January 14, 1863 and the summary List of Awards to Slave Owners which have been digitized on for a final amount awarded to the slaveholder and the number of “servants” allowed per slaveholder claim. Researchers will also find digitized Slave Emancipation Records 1851-1863 for Washington, D. C. on

Tax Day on the 19th For Others
Maine and Massachusetts Holiday Moves Tax Day To 19th April. Because being an American and Tax Day is intertwined, we can’t forget the Revolutionary War patriots and their impact on tax day causing Maine and Massachusetts to have a different tax day in 2016 than the rest of the Union. Maine and Massachusetts traditionally celebrate Patriot’s Day on the 3rd Monday of April, so those tax payers have until Tuesday, 19 April.   As expected, the tax code explains why Maine and Massachusetts do not have to file taxes until the 19th of April (note I did not say “pay”, but “file. I’m not an accountant).” Again, see tax code for a complete ‘confusing’ clarification.

What is Patriots’ / Patriot’s Day?
Patriots Day - a holiday never celebrated in my birth state of Kansas or adopted state of Missouri - commemorates the first battles of the American Revolutionary War - 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord. From what I can gather, this holiday is most celebrated by the Boston Marathon. I’m sure there’s a link to the Greek Battle of Marathon, but that’s out of my pay grade.  

Don’t let me misguide you.  Patriots’ Day is a HUUGGEE day in New England - even to include the New Hampshire Minute Men. Check out Nutfield Genealogy blog entitled Patriot’s Day! Answering the Lexington Alarm from Hudson, New Hampshire. In this entire region there are reenactments and celebrations of patriotism.

Why Maine?
In Maine, like Massachusetts, Patriot's Day is an official holiday.“Why Maine?” is the most common question that we get.  And with a little understanding it makes sense. A simplified explanation is Maine, a former province of Massachusetts is 30,000 square miles of land carved out of Massachusetts – Massachusetts Bay Colony. Maine gained statehood in 1820 but that stretch of land and its citizens must be remembered for their quick response to serve in the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

To show their independence from Massachusetts, Maine celebrates “Patriot’s Day” whereas Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day.  (Please let us know at a3Genealogy if you know the real history of the name distinction).

Thanking Your ME, MA Ancestor for Extra Tax Preparation Day?
I checked and none of my ancestors were brave enough to join the minutemen of 19 April 1775 (or free to do so).
Lexington Minute Man Memorial
For the rest of the U.S.A. we can pick up this conversation in July, but for now, hoping you are either wrapping up your tax forms or filing an extension!

Happy Tax Day!

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers