Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Finding Slave Marriages: Tips to Missouri ---------- (Saline County)

Forgotten Historical Records 
There are records of slaves dated as early as the settlement of the Americas, but rarely can we trace these ancestors since last names are usually not given. Slaves did not always take their last owners names, and they often changed their names during Reconstruction Era as was permitted by law. Read also Ex-Slave Alias. So where else can you search for hints of your ex-slave ancestor? The answer is early Marriage Records.

Did They Legalize Their Marriages?
Marriage records of recently freed ex-slaves are often tucked under the more commonly researched books. After emancipation, African Americans were to legalize their marriages. Slave marriages, commonly jumping over a broom, or by a roaming preacher, were not recognized after the Civil War. (Of course it bought them few rights before the Civil War: sometimes a master allowed them joint residency).

But after the Civil War, when the right was granted, many African Americans rushed to get their marriages legalized, but not all. Those who did not legalize their marriage often regretted it. Without the formal civil marriage documents widows attempting to obtain Civil War Pensions using their slave-union were most often denied, even with children in tow and depositions of the slave marriage confirmed.

Freedmen's Bureau of Marriage Records 
Of course there are Freedmen's Bureau of Marriage Records but in rural America marriages were rarely recorded with the Bureau, but at local courthouses. At a3Genealogy we are attempting to capture and index these smaller hidden collections. For more information on the Freedmen's Bureau of marriage records visit Sealing the Sacred Bonds of Holy Matrimony Freedmen's Bureau Marriage Records

What to Expect
In the Saline County Colored Marriages Book, 1865-1870 not only were the marriages and parties named, but also names of children born under the slave marriage. The bride's surname may be a "hint" to a slave master, but of course more research is needed.

Reprint / updated 21 Oct 2020  

Kathleen Brandt,
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Eastern European Church Records to the Rescue

Typically, seeking ancestors in Eastern Europe is quite time consuming. Rarely will we find family units who were stationary for generations.  But, church records will be the researcher’s best friend. 

A few key tips to working in Eastern Europe:

  1. Familiarity with location and surname - location association
  2. Be guided by a strategic research plan that allows for expansion and molding as your research unfolds
  3. Keen eye for detail.  One accent can move the researcher from one voivodeship (province), powiat (county / district), or gminas (municipalities)

Location Confusion
The structure of the voivodeship (province), powiat (county / district), or gminas (municipalities) is the first hurdle.  Researchers should be quite familiar with this location’s idiosyncrasies. 

One research project, based on US documents suggesting Galicia, lead us to Dobromil.. The surname we were researching was also seen in the area.  After coming up empty handed on our original targeted search, we uncovered a bit more about the region.  

Dobromil (given name), a given name of Slavic origin
Dobromil, Lower Silesian Voivodeship (south-west Poland)
Dobromil, Podlaskie Voivodeship (north-east Poland)
Dobromilice, a village and municipality in Prostějov District in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic.
Dobromil, the Polish name for the town of Dobromyl, Ukraine

Strategic Research Plan (must be fluid)
 Extensive research tying surnames and location led us  to explore Drohomyśl (Jaworów ). As I mentioned, church records can be our best friend. In the District of Jaworów in Galicia our first set of tips and hints were buried in the following locale's collections:

  • Wełykie/Velkie (Michowa Greek Catholic Center)
  • Drohomyśl (Jaworów)

Our original research plan was designed to  research in Poland, Lwow, Dobromil 1784-1875, with our target on Church Records, 1784-1875; and our research plan expanded to in Roman Catholic parish register of marriages and deaths in Wielkie Oczy, Galizien, Austria; now Wielkie Oczy (Lubaczów), Rzeszów, Poland. 

Keen Eye for Detail: Spelling is Similar but Locale is Different

This research Included Drohomyśl, Galizien, Austria; later Drohomyśl (Jaworów), Lwów, Poland; now Drohomyshl′, I︠A︡voriv, L'viv, Ukraine.

Again we began with the church records. Many of these church records are already digitized on Here are just a few of the relevant ones: 

Strzelbice, Lviv Ukraine, Stari Sambir (Starosamborski region) 
Wełykie [Velkie] Lviv Ukraine, Stari Sambir (Starosamborski region) 
Metrical Books, 1837-1894 Greek Catholic Church Kniazpol (Dobromil
Metrical books,1784-1906, Greek Catholic Church. Drohomyśl (Krakowiec), Greek Catholic Church records (births, marriages, deaths) for Drohomyśl (Krakowiec), Galizien, Austria; later Drohomyśl (Jaworów), Lwów, Poland; now Drohomyshl′, I︠A︡voriv, L′viv, Ukraine

Final Tip / Hint
Research plans must be fluid with every hint or tip uncovered. Sometimes we must expand our Research Plan to a larger daunting region to locate our answers. Enjoy the journey.

Kathleen Brandt


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Immigrant Society Records and Genealogy


Irish, Jewish, Catholic, Greek, Plus Other Records

Ancestors left their home places, families and the comforts of their language and community behind when they took the voyage to the new world. The world of hope was on the other side of the sea.  Those who made the trip were processed at ports like Ellis Island, exiting to what should have been a land of opportunity. These were the lucky ones; albeit homeless, poor, and sick.

Their luck often ran out as they exited the processing station. They needed shelter, food, jobs and healthcare, but they were often met by "runners" known as scammers, today. With little knowledge and a bit weary and desperate, they often fell into the trap of being exploited.  With each flood of ethnic emigrations, new arrivals fell prey. That is until Immigration Societies began forming with the mission to provide the basic needs. Food, cash, housing and guidance was provided to the new immigrant. Some societies offered lists of upstanding businesses and care for children and women.

Was My Ancestor Sponsored?
Between 1880-1920 these aid societies were in abundance, but they were established as early as the late 1700's, like the ones for Irish refugees. You may find in passenger lists that your ancestor was supported by an Emigrant Society or ethnic aid society. Obituaries may list your ancestor's involvement or membership.  Church records may record assistance given to your ancestor upon arrival.  I've seen ancestors recorded immigrant records supported by the Catholic church, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish organizations, to name a few: 

Catholic Emigrant Societies.  Visit the New Advent, Emigrant Societies for a listing of Catholic emigrant societies.

Charitable Irish Society
. In 1737 twenty-six men organized the Charitable Irish Society in Boston, Mass. The society collaborated "with the Irish Immigration Center and the Irish Pastoral Centre." Employment, housing, education, finance, health, and the law seminars were offered.  Charitable Irish Society Records, 1737-2008 may be found at the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).  The HIAS, founded in 1881, provided meals, transportation, jobs and temporary housing for Manhattan Jewish immigrants. The American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS) collection includes immigrants arriving in Boston,  Providence and Rhode Island, between 1870 and 1929.  Arrival cards, individual case files, and passenger lists from the Boston HIAS are now held at the AJHS which has a collection of over 100 years. 

Emigrant Aid Society.  The Emigrant Aid Society founded in 1841, supported Irish immigrants. In 1850, the Emigrant Savings Bank was founded to provide safe banking practices to include sending bank drafts back to Ireland.  Records from 1841 - 1975 are held at the New York Public Library Manuscript Division. These records may also be found at the Family Search Library.

Royal Philanthropic Society.  In 1788 the Royal Philanthropic Society was organized "for the admission of the offspring of convicts and the reformation of criminal poor children." Mostly these children roamed the streets of Great Britain (majority in London) and parents had been either transported to Australia. or of Australian heritage. According to the website, this society housed, clothed, fed, schooled and apprenticed these children with the end goal that that they would become "useful members of society." The Admission, Discharge and Other Records, 1788-1890 can be found at the Family History Library.

Where to Begin
These records are not centralized.  But the search for where they are housed is worth the effort.  They are full of ancestral data.  A good place to start for Immigrant Society research is at the Family Search Library website using the keywords "Emigrant Societies." Be sure to expand your search.

Don't forget your State Historical Society, local libraries and additional information may be found in Ethnic Genealogical Society collections, which may be found via a simple Google search (i.e. Polish Society).

(Post updated 15 Sep 2020; original 2011).

Kathleen Brandt

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Missouri Mormon Veterans, 1837 - 1847

Lost Missouri Relatives

The Missouri Secretary of State (SOS) Mormon War Papers contain “the records gathered by the state in relation to the disturbances with the Mormons. Records include legislative material, letters to the governor, and witness accounts.”[1]

[The Prophet's Wife and Brother give statements on property stolen in the 1838 Mormon War], Emma Smith and Hyrum Smith. 
"under a Strong Guard in the Camp of the Mob. I there heard the Deft. Say unto (apostle) Lyman Wight, that he Deft. Had taken the Pltfs. Horse, Saddle, Bridle, &Martingales,&had sold them to Capt. Samuel Bogart. I immediately informed the Pltf. Who was under Guard & Convenient to me In about two days Pltf. With Witness & others were carried to Jackson County were kept there five or Six days, from there we were taken to Richmond Ray County, there kept about twenty Days, then carried to Liberty Clay County," and that in that time Bogart guarded them, and Hyrum saw him with his brother's possessions..."

The Missouri Old Settlers vs. the Mormons
In 1830 Joseph Smith of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (originally called the Church of Christ) sent missionaries to western Missouri to work with the  local Native Americans. It is said that Joseph Smith “designated western Missouri as the place where “Zion” would be “gathered” in anticipation of Christ’s second coming.”[2]  Thus, Missouri became the preferred settling place for the Mormons until around 1833, when they were attacked by the non-Mormon settlers, also called “Old Settlers.”

In 1836, the Missouri State Legislature made provisions for the Mormon settlers to occupy the northwest county of Caldwell separating the Mormons from the Old Settlers. However, newly arrived Mormon settlers over-populated the county, which led to further conflicts and the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri.

In 1838 the Missouri governor, Lilburn Boggs, gave the Mormon’s an ultimatum of leaving the state or being “exterminated."[3]  Later that year an organized Old Settler mob killed 18 Mormon men and boys.  This massacre gave reason for the Mormons to leave Missouri and to settle in Illinois.[4] 

Resources for Mormon Research?
Witnesses, names of Old Settler mobsters, victims, information on the Mormon paramilitary units and Old Settlers mobs, may be found in the Missouri Mormon Papers.

The state legislative investigation of the massacre and official discussions were documented and are held in the Mormon War Papers.  These papers also hold the criminal hearing of Joseph Smith and other church leaders for treason and other crimes. Images, text and online searches are available using Finding Aid 5.1 online.  

Mormon Volunteers Served in Mexican War
To perform an online surname of one of the 500 plus Missour Mormon veteran volunteers who served in the Mormon Battalion of the Mexican War, try the Search Mormon Records” link. 

These volunteers, led by Mormon company officers, served from  July 1846 to July 1847. They crossed the from Council Bluffs, IA to San Diego, CA.  

Accurate, Accessible Answers

[1] Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841; Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. Online access 20 May, 2010
[2] This post is not an attempt to provide the history of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, or the Missouri Mormon War.  The purpose of this post is to accurately capture the online materials reported from the Secretary of State website: The Missouri Mormon War; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. Online access 20 May, 2010
[3] The Missouri Mormon War, Governor Boggs’ Extermination order, Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. Online access 20 May, 2010
[4] The Missouri Mormon War; Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City;, Online access 20 May 20, 2010

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Jul 2020 - 2021 Webinar Offerings

The a3Genealogy Webinar Series isn't new to us, but these online and video offerings are mandatory for now as we suspend all in person presentations, classes and workshops. 

We have spent the past two months tailoring our classes for online only presentations.  Why should learning stop during this country slowdown? These are just a few online webinar titles offered by Kathleen Brandt as Keynote Presenter. All titles are tailored for your audience / organization. Know that all of the presentations are chocked full of actual images and many have real life short case studies conducive to online training. 

Be sure to review the Experience/Qualifications page. 

Kathleen Brandt
Keynote Speaker/Presenter

2020 - 2021 Webinar / Online Series
Military Records
  •  Tracing State Militia Records
  •  Revolutionary War
    • Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
    • African Americans Served Too – Finding Revolutionary & War of 1812 Records
    • Identifying Revolutionary War Era Parents 
    • 7 Best Revolutionary War Resources
    • Your Blacksheep: Courts-martial and Courts of inquiry records
  •  War of 1812
    • War of 1812: 10 Places to Search
    • Researching Your War of 1812 Impressed Seamen
  •  Civil War
    • 10 Best Bets to Civil War Research
    • 7 Tips to Researching Slaves and Slaveholders
    • Grand Army of the Republic (GAR): Where Are the Records
    • Military Records Were Destroyed: What to Do?
    • Civil War POW Records: Finding Your Soldier
  • Modern Wars
    • Military Records Were Destroyed? What to Do?
    • 7 Easy Tips to WWI and WWII Research
    • Forgotten Records - WWI and WWII
Methodology & Brickwalls
  • Turn Brickwalls into Straw Houses: 10 Huffs and Puffs of Research 
  • 60 Mile Radius: Kansas City, The Gateway to Genealogical Resources
  • Destroyed Records: Fire, Water, Thieves
  • The Changing Surname: How to Trace It
Missouri Research
  • 7 Tips to Researching Slaves and Slaveholders in Little Dixie – Missouri
  • 8 Tips to Researching MO Rhineland Ancestors
  • Pioneer Trail From Missouri to California: How to Trace Them
  • 5 Research Tips to MO. Bohemian Ancestors
Tracing Immigrants
  • When They Came to America, Where Did They Go?
  • Tracing Missouri Irish: From Immigration to Emigration
  • Blackbirding: Sugar, Cotton, and Slaves! Researching South Pacific Island Laborers
  • Did Your Ancestor Become a US Citizen? Where to find Records and Documents
  • Tracing Huguenots – From There to Here
  • Researching Germans from Russia Ancestors
 Slave and Slaveholder Records
  • Researching the Road to Freedom: 5 Ways to Freedom & 15 Record Sets to Find Them
  • Where Are the Slave Records?
  • Claim It!  Southern Claims Commission Records
  • African Americans Served Too – Finding Revolutionary & War of 1812 Records
  • Using Ship Manifests Records to Trace Slaveholders and Slaves
Kathleen Brandt
816-729-5995 for quotes and bookings

Sunday, June 28, 2020

1807 Law for Tracing Slaves & Slaveholders

At a3Genealogy we have had many blog and presentation requests to address issues in the news of late. So let's unscramble referencing 1807.  Note: This 1807 Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves should not be confused with the recent “law and order” conversation that encouraged the use of the 1807 Insurrection Law

An 1807 Law that can help trace ancestors:
ex-slave ancestors and slaveholders.  

We have to remember 1807 was the year that slaves were no longer to be imported on our shores. It was a sort of weak attempt to end slavery. Slave trading was not abolished, so the north just sold their underutilized slaves to the southern planters. When referencing the slave trade we commonly envision domestic purchases and exchanges of plantation owners and traders culminating in the overland transporting of slaves. Shipping human cargo via coastal waterways from one region to another is often forgotten history. But, after 1807 slaves were legally transported via the Inter-coastal Waterways. An easy opening to the 1807 Importation of Slaves that allowed slave trading to continue, slave breading to continue, and the trapping and enslaving “free coloreds” to thrive. Of course, illegal boats also still imported slaves, in spite of the law. 

This Abolition Act of 1807 prohibited the import of slaves into the United States, effective 1 Jan 1808; however, domestic slave trading from one slave state to another was legal until 2 July 1864. An overlooked treasure for slave researchers are the ship manifests that document the legal trade and migratory path of slaves transported by water within the jurisdiction of the United States.

Ship Manifests
Ship Manifests, 1828 Baltimore to Savannah
It is estimated that over 1 million slaves were transported using either coastwise ships to the southern ports along the Atlantic, or channeling them along the southern coast and the Mississippi River using southern tributaries. 
To fulfill the law that required proof that slaves were not illegally imported into the United States after 1808, manifests of cargo carrying slaves were submitted at both ports of departure and arrival with appropriate statements swearing that the slaves listed "have not been imported into the United States since the first day of January, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight..."
Sworn Statement
Slave Names and Hints
The manifests contained the name of the shipper or slave owner as well as their residence. They specified the name, sex and age of each slave to include a physical description - stature and designation of "negro, mulatto or person of colour."  Names of slaves are sometimes provided. 
Once slaves arrived at the port of destination they were often sent to neighboring areas. In a recent search we were able to locate a slave arriving in Charleston and within days exchanged in Augusta, Georgia.

Tracing Northern Slaveholders and Slave Movements to South Slave research using ship manifests requires persistent sleuthing. The family historian must gather information on the records of slave masters as well as the slave. The extant manifests are tools to research the migratory path of your slave ancestor and in many cases the movement and business efforts of the slave owner, trader or shipper. The researcher will find that due to the pirating of vessels, coastwise shipments before the War of 1812 were few; but in 1821, the boom year of coastwise slave trading, over 2,600 manifests are available for research.
  1. Slave Traders. To help determine your ancestor's place of origin, be sure to trace shippers, traders and captains of that region. A recent search highlighted a well-known Cahawba, Alabama slave trader, "Shoestring" Barker. It appears Shoestring owned the local slave exchange. Corroborating information, including census record analysis and business deeds, resulted in positively identifying a slave ancestor and his owners; as well as papers that tied a slaveholder to “business dealings with Barker.”
  2. Northern Slavemaster to Cotton Belt. Since most slaves were transported under the shipper's name, master records may reveal sales to a shipper, allowing the researcher to trace the vessel. A successful search may result by tracing the family unit. This was possible since the slave master moved his entire plantation to the cotton belt. After the Civil War, a Pennsylvania-born family member, as described on the earlier Philadelphia manifests, were still living in close proximity.
  3. Outbound manifests from 1820 to 1860 with destination of Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, Pensacola, Florida – may contain not only slave names, but allow researchers to trace a slavemaster, a slave ship and its cargo-passengers from origin to destination. The researcher should be familiar with the various slave ships. Visit the Slave Ships, South Carolina Genealogy Trails website for a listing of some slave vessels. Newspaper advertisements may also confirm active coastwise trading for your timeframe.
  4. Analysis of 1870 and 1880 census records may also uncover a migratory pattern. Perhaps you have noted that a disproportionate community of Georgian ex-slaves or ex-slaveholders recorded their parents' birth as Maryland? Or did your Alabama ancestor record his birth or his parents' birth as Virginia? In 1836, the height of the slave trade, Virginia exported over 120,000 slaves using coastwise vessels. Combining census data with deeds, sales, wills and local history, the researcher may be able to identify their slave ancestor in the manifests or the origin of a slave holder.
  5. If you are researching a New Orleans slave ancestor, you may wish to also check Louisiana Slave Records, 1719-1820, as compiled by Gwendolyn Hall. 
This blog is part of the following Presentation:
Using Ship Manifests for Slave & Slaveholder Research. 

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct