Thursday, May 9, 2019

Exhausting Irish Resources


Prepping for the 2019 Irish Fest 
The 2019 Kansas City Irish Fest (KCIF) will be held 30 Aug - 1 Sep.  This year the Irish Fest will be hosting a four session genealogy workshop.  Tickets will go on sale 1 Jun.  So in preparation, I will be posting interesting tidbits on researching your Irish ancestors. For information on the workshop, contact kcirishfest.com.

Was Your Irish Ancestor in a Benevolent Society?
On 19 Sept 1872 the KC times reported on the first St. Patrick's Day parade in Kansas City.  "At 10:00 am, the procession formed at the hall of the Irish Benevolent Society. The order of  march was as follows: Grand Marshal and aids, Band of Music, Irish Benevolent Society, St. Vitus Benevolent Association (German), The St. Joseph Benevolent Association." [1]

Who, What, When, Where? My Irish Ancestors!
There are more than 250,000 in the Kansas City region who claim Irish heritage and as many ancestors who have participated in the Irish Day Parades beginning in 1872.

Any Irish ancestry researcher would be remiss if they chose to ignore the information this small blurb gives us. A few questions to consider: 1) Where were my ancestor's on that day? 2) Did they participate in the parade? 3) Did they belong to these organizations/societies? 4) Were they involved in the Irish community, church, politics or other labor unions? 5) What was their "pecking" order in the parade? 6) Were there other Irish organizations/societies?

Was He a Miner or a Musician?
"Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians followed behind the priest and "marched like soldiers, justly proud of their appearance," observed the Times.  Behind the Hibernians were members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Children of Mary and the St. Aloysius Band, marching with a huge portrait of their favored saint, the Patron of Youth, followed by the Irish benevolent societies.  The McGee Hook & Ladder Company rolled along behind department co-founder and Irish immigrant, Joe McArdle, with firemen pluming and strutting for the admiring crowds gathered on porches and sidewalks along the winding route." (Displayed at Kansas City Irish Fest; August 2011).

Just by knowing the origin of each group, you may be guided in the right direction. This is enough information to keep an Irish family researcher busy. Contemporary local books may give your research a jump start.  Newspaper articles, obituaries, journals, diaries, church records and court cases may also give the researcher a bit more information about the members of these organizations. 
Irish Parade Line Up, Kansas City Times
From the Missouri Irish: Kansas City, St. Louis & Trails West
Extract: pg. 141-142 O'Laughlin,  Michael C.
America’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization founded concurrently in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania and New York City in May, 1836.  Early Hibernians are linked to mining for gold (Yreka, CA), copper and silver (Butte & Anaconda, MT), iron ore in Escanaba, MI (St Patrick’s) and Mt Pleasant, PA (St Joseph’s), hard rock mining (St Peter’s, Rutland, VT) and coal in Schuylkill CO, PA. (where the infamous Molly Maguire trials were held.)
   
Molly Maguires
M
embers of an Irish-American secret society.  Members, mainly coal miners were associated with Pennsylvania anthracite coal fields in the Civil War era. The trials and arrests were from 1876−1878.

St. Aloysius Band

Formed from the St. John's society 75-100 'juveniles" of West Kansas City.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Founded in 1833 by six university students in Paris under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul. This primarily Irish society was introduced in Chicago during the economic depression of 1857. The Society's purpose was to provide direct aid to the suffering parishioners.
From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City, O'Neill, Pat

Reprinted from 16 Sep 2011
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com

Friday, May 3, 2019

French and Spanish Settlers in Pre-Statehood Missouri

Early American Survey using Arpents (Fr)
Missouri - The Midwest Gateway
Before Missouri became a state (1821), before the Anglo-Americans moved West, and before the railroads, steamboats and wagon trains traversed Missouri, there were the French and Spanish Settlers.
Missouri was initially part of the Louisiana Territory.  Known as “Upper Louisiana,” the territory was settled first by the French Canadians as they moved west from Illinois about 1750, establishing St. Genevieve.  Then St. Louis was founded by the French migrating up the Mississippi River from New Orleans in 1767. Although the French had first settled this area, Spain had control from 1762 to 1800, when Spain ceded control to France in a treaty.
With the Louisiana Purchase (1803) from France, America agreed to honor all previous land purchases and claims from the French and Spanish by the settlers.  While noble in theory, it was rather difficult to execute in practice for several reasons.
  • Very few (about 1%) of the original patents (title/deed) of the early settlers were perfected (the paperwork complete)
  • The lots were typically organized in long strips emanating from the town or river and not the standard grid (rectangular survey system) now in place for all Public Lands.
  • The land was measured in French “arpents” not acres as we’re accustomed.  A square arpent is about .84 acre.
  • Often lands not occupied or abandoned by the settler often reverted back to government (French or Spanish) ownership.
Nonetheless, Congress decided to let the settlers complete the patent process, register them with the United States, and retain ownership of their claims. A Board of Commissioners was established in 1808 to sit and hear claims of the settlers as to the proper ownership of their land.  The Board remained in operation through 1812 and gave certificates confirming 1,342 land claims.  New statutes, new boards, and more certificates were granted in 1816 and 1834 certifying 1,754 and 90 more claims respectively.

The Records
[Yes, when Louisiana became a State in 1812, the documents and records were housed in the Missouri Territory until abt. 1821.]

The good news for genealogists is that the records of the Board of Commissioners have been published in several books, segmented by Congressional Session, which fall along a chronological timeline.  Generally these read like court hearings with the land described then witness testimony supplied.
Here we go!
    • 1813: Land claims in the Missouri Territory : records of the 12th Congress, second session, Mountain Press
    • 1834: Private land claims in Missouri, 1834 : United States: House of Representatives document 1178, Twenty-third Congress – First session (full text on Hathi Trust)  by Elijah Hayward, Mountain Press
    • 1835:  Missouri Land Claims published by Polyanthos (1976). The portion selected are the 90 claims approved in the 1834 Commission meeting and the 152 claims rejected by the 1834 Commission . Every name index. [The last claim rejected, #152, says the claimant requested 500,000 arpents.  That’s a lot of land!!  I can see why he was rejected.]
    • 1835: Land claims in Missouri : House of Representatives 24th Congress, First session – document numbered 1538
    • 1835: Final adjustments of private land claims in Missouri, 1832 : House of Representatives document 1340, 24th Congress – First session, 1835 by Ethan Allen Brown, Mountain Press
As an alternative to the original documents, you can try checking out a three volume series by Frances Terry Ingmire, Citizens of Missouri Territory, Mountain Press, 1984.  He has abstracted the Congressional Record and included an every name index.
Finally, if you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed now and are wondering how to navigate a fist full of Congressional hearing records, don’t worry. There’s help. Several finding aids have been published to aid in your research.
Finding Aids
  • Index to Minutes of the First and Second Board of Land Commission Meetings 1805-1812, 1832-1835. by the St. Louis Genealogical Society
  • Early settlers of Missouri as taken from land claims in the Missouri Territory by Walter Lowrie, Southern Historical Press, 1986
  • Index of purchasers : United States land sales in Missouri by Ozarks Genealogical Society, 1985
  • Index to French and Spanish land grants recorded in registers of land titles in Missouri: Books A, B, C, D, E by Betty Harvey Williams, self-published, 1977
If your ancestor staked a claim in Pre-Statehood Missouri, you have an impressive story to tell. It’s well worth your time to find the documents to shape the story to share with the next generation.

Article reprint from "Genealogy Decoded" with permission by:
Beth Foulk
About the Author
Research Relationship with a3Genealogy since 2008
Beth Foulk has turned a lifetime genealogy passion into an opportunity to share what she’s
learned with genealogists across the country. She has documented her Civil War, War of 1812, 
and Revolutionary War ancestors.  She has mapped the migration of her Kansas and 
Missouri pioneers.  And researched the arrival of her many Massachusetts Colonial settlers. 
Each ancestor and each story quickly become a “teaching moment” for her classes.
“The only thing more fun than a genealogy find, is sharing what I’ve learned to help other
genealogists.”

Foulk has been “spreading the genealogy gospel” since 2008 when she first taught as a
volunteer at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Why We Pull Wills?


Brickwalls and Unscrambling Common Names
I know I pound this in absolutely EVERY genealogy presentation, post and speaking engaging I have given.  But let's remember to pull a copy of the WILL and PROBATE. We can't always get the original, but don't depend on the abstracts and (hit me over the head, even!!!) please don't just glance at an index.

What was here?
The four sons were named. Believe me, when working with Dodd's of New Jersey, unscrambling family units is not an easy task.  In addition, father Stephen H. Dodd named his own father.  In honoring his father, Stephen generously proffered his father's name, Samuel T. Dodd, and his wife. So now I know Stephen, son of Samuel T Dodd, was married to Letitia and had these four sons. and a daughter who was mentioned by the date of this will.

It was all just laid out for the descendants.

Great Monday!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Polish Research - Where Do You Start?

Getting Started
The a3Genealogy International Team has been tackling large Polish ancestry project the past year. We have bragging rights for breaking brickwalls if given enough time.  These projects are not easy, most of the in-country documents are not indexed.  There are different research techniques for Jewish ancestry in Poland, and Catholic.  Let’s further break this down.  Catholic genealogical research is even divided between Roman Catholicism and the Greek Catholic Church.  Have you heard of Ruthenian? I’ll explain that late.  Bu the way…Polish genealogical research is not really in Poland. It includes the full eastern bloc to include Ukraine, Austria, Russia, Hungary, and Czech.  No…it’s not easy! So where do you start.

As with all genealogical research start with yourself.  Exhaust the American or Canadian or European, or Australian records.  Those are just some of our projects.  You should be ferreting out all you can, on you surname (and remember that surname can be spelled in a half dozen ways.)  But start with the most recent spelling and be flexible. What to look for in the online collections?  Yes, start online.  It’s one of the few times I will say, spend lots of time, just pulling online records. 
  • Census records -will give you family units.  Not a big hint since the same names may be in the household three doors down, but pay attention to occupation, military service, education level, age, and place/date of birth.  These small details will become life-safer later.
  • Death records of your immigrant may hold family secrets.  Plus you will want to pull the birth records of all of their children.  This will narrow down the emigration, and help to tie family units in Europe.
  • Military records -these records give us contact persons’ names, and date and place of birth. May mention if your ancestor was an alien or naturalization.  You may find that the next of kin is a wife back in Galicia Poland (let’s say), or family that did not travel, or maybe state where in Galicia, or Tarnapol or one of the powiat, or voivodeship, gmina.  
Collecting more is best.  The reason is when we “jump the pond”, we get to match these people like a Rubik's cube.

  1. Immigration / Passenger List records – Here you are looking for birth information, “home” contact, and arrival contract.  Don’t get discouraged if it names an in-law or acquaintance, as these may be your key to the correct ancestor.  You will want to use all of your tools for this to include but not limited to:
  2. Ellis Island Passenger Search
  3. Familysearch.org, NY Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924
  4. The National Archives, AAD is a great resource for Russian and German (index files).
  5. Naturalization Records – just start online, but you need copies of the originals (the indices gives us minimal details, and really, is more for confusion than untangling family units. Don’t forget Declaration of Intent records (1st Papers).  By the way this is where you will find change of names too.  My Wasyl changed his legally to Walter
  6. Special Boards of Inquiry, Immigration Records,  – a common overlooked one.  There aren’t a lot that have been digitized, but exhaust there first, the find out where your Special Boards of Immigration Inquiry are located (if salvaged).  What will you learn? LOTS!
  • Character of the immigrant
  • Family situation
  • Family members
  • Occupation
  • Migratory path
His Story

Her Story

OH....and 
  • Lots of lies, but more truths.  Luckily these sworn statements help us wade through the obvious issues here.


Immigration Records, Boards of Special Inquiry (BSI)

Today I worked in the Philadelphia, PA Immigration Records, Special Boards of Inquiry, between 1893-1909 digitized on ancestry.com.  I have also worked with this record collection in the regional National Archives - NY. 

Other Sources: 
This is the time for super passenger/manifests list knowledge.  Matter fact, if you have been waiting for an excuse to understand the markings, locations, how to use them,  the time has arrived to be the best friend of passenger and manifests lists.
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
Accurate, accessible answer

Monday, February 18, 2019

Research Tips to Tracing American Ancestors Overseas

Ancestor Disappeared?
Consular Records
Did your ancestor travel overseas for work, missionary work, U.S. government work? Was a child of an American citizen born overseas? This occurred frequently with customary long overseas visits. The Department of State records, various records of death notices of US citizens abroad should be scoured for your elusive ancestor.  Don’t dismiss these records as only for those who were naturalized USA citizens and returned to their native land to visit family. Vacationers fell sick, were victims of violence, automobile accidents, or were imprisoned, etc. These records also included deaths that occurred in Canada and the Americas.



What to Expect
In addition to providing genealogical data of family members and kinship, often a passport number is provided. In the case of Spyrus Kansas, Greek born, but naturalized citizen of the USA, the names and addresses of his wife and siblings are provided, along with his passport number and his burial (and re-interment) information with the cause of death.  It even gives information on the family home being attacked by guerilla forces while in Greece. 

Married in Europe
Women were often naturalized by marriage; and travelled on a joint passport. See Passports Applications for Genealogy.  In doing so, American citizens (by marriage) like that of Germaine Jackson’s death states she was a [USA] native by marriage, but born in Paris.  The good news for the researcher is that for clarification, her marriage date, and address of her French family and origin are provided.

Death at Sea
It’s no surprise that many died at sea. There are 333 records of Titanic casualties; limited to the bodies found. Obviously sea voyage continued to the destination, and the deaths were reported to the Dept. of State, upon arrival as was William Morris’s death. Morris of New York was  traveling to Brussels in 1903.

Foreign Death Certificates
Often research leads us to locating a foreign death certificate. Know that foreign death certificates are most often written in the foreign language where the death occurred. For forensic genealogical searches of heir, estates, and dual citizenships, these foreign death certificates are a place to begin your search, but are usually not accepted for USA insurance or estates and may be denied for Dual Citizenship records. (This is only applicable for foreign consulates that still require ancestor death certificates.)   

Foreign Service Post Records
If your ancestor served the USA on an assigned foreign diplomatic or other government post, records can be located in Record Group (RG) 84: Foreign Service Post Records of the US Department of State.  Textural records of the death (plus births and marriages) from 1788-1962 of US citizens may be found in the Records of Diplomatic Posts (RG 84.2) and Records of Consular Posts, RG84.3.

Locating the Records
Although ancestry.com has digitized the Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835 -1974, researchers must know that the original National Archive death records are archived in four reference collections: 
  • Record of Death Notices of United States Citizens Abroad, 1835 – 1855 
  • Death Notices of United States Citizens Abroad, 1857 – 1922  
  • Death Reports in the State Department Central Decimal File, 1910-1963 
  • Reports of the Deaths of American Citizens, 1963-1974
For More Information

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
a3genealogy.blogspot.com

(Original posted 16 Feb 2013)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

WWI Papers Destroyed in Fire? The Christmas Gift


Merry Christmas to Me!
I have this newspaper photo of Great - Uncle George who served in WWI. He was the celebrated "colored man"from Rice County, Ks - George F. Strader "Our First Colored Hero of the World War."  I also found him listed in a picture with his troop Co D of the Pioneer Infantry 805 book .

I have information of his troop; and I have, in my arsenal of goodies, Great - Uncle George's WWI helmet that his mother turned into a chandelier. Yes, read about it at WWI Chandelier Helmet.   Who turns a WWI helmet into a chandelier?  Oh...I know! My Great-Grandmother.  The chandelier - helmet is a hit in my Sharing Your Ancestors presentation. But what more can I find about Great-Uncle George?

There's so much I don't know.  How was G-Uncle George injured in service?  When did he get promoted to Sargent.  By the end of his service years he was a Sargent as listed in the troop book, and in the Enrollment Book(V: 27, Reno Republic, Rice counties).

But, The Best Christmas Gift Ever!
Late Christmas Day, 2018,  I received an email from a man named Greg Stredder.  Greg had obviously done his research and googled George Strader (not Stredder) and found me.  So let's do this sequential. 

1) Lesson one:  Expose Your Ancestors
I have a blog and articles posted across the internet so other researchers can find me. I have written about G-Uncle George and his mother on this blog.

Back to Gregg who found me and sent me the email.  Greg's message was short. " Thought this would be of interest to you." Greg had come across an article in the Lyons Republican paper, dated 14 Jan 1919, from Lyons, Rice County,  Kansas (the county seat) while researching his own "Stredder" family, I was delighted.  The editor titled the article A Letter From France and misspelled my great grandparents names as James Stredder, but the letter was clearly signed by George F. [Franklin] Strader. 

2) Lesson two: Prove kinship. Is this my George?
Stredder or Strader was proved by this write up:  "Corporal "George was the first colored boy from this county..." Yep, it's my Great-Uncle George. There were only two colored boys from Lyons Kansas, Uncle George and my grandfather (who did not serve due to a physical injury). Others from Sterling which was also in Rice County "down the 2 lane highway a-piece," and from neighboring counties (Reno, Ellsworth, Stafford and Barton counties), worked in the Lyons salt mines or only lived in Lyons, KS temporarily for work. My "colored" Strader family arrived in Lyons Kansas in spring of 1900. My great-grandfather, James, a teamster in Kentucky was drafted to work in the salt mines. So, no question it was my Great-Uncle George.  Oh and by the way, Great-Grandma had told me about the letter, but we never found it in her belongings in 1968 when she passed away. Either way, in our family, and in Lyons, Uncle George was quite celebrated.  Plus the printed letter was signed by George F. Strader.  

3) Lesson three: Collaborative Research
Be kind, when you find something this magnificent, this marvelous in the paper about someone else's ancestor, be like Greg!  Share it.  I had experienced a bitter-sweet Christmas.  Greg changed my negative narrative to a day of gratitude.  Thank you Greg! 

A Letter From France
The printed Lyons Republican letter of  14 Jan 1919 fills in quite a bit of detail about Uncle George's military service and his troop. The details take us to the place in time, the activities, and daily routines of Uncle George's WWI experience.  It is a great replacement for his burned WWI personnel record that was not salvaged from the 1973 St Louis National Personal Record Center. (NPRC). 

10 New Details
1) Uncle George wrote the letter 10 Dec 1918, over a month before it was printed in the Lyons Republican. At the time he was a Corporal.  By the time he came home he was a Sargent.  When was he promoted?
2) I need to review this newspaper one more time for the misspelling of the family surname of Strader.  Did it appear as Stredder in other articles?  
3) George was in Chatel France, surrounded by the Argonne Forest. 
4) George could read and write.  His mother was a school teacher during the Reconstruction era.  She was only fourteen when she started teaching. But we didn't know how well George wrote.  I did know all five of his sister were well educated.  One attended Emporia, Kansas State Teachers College  But it's good to know that George, the second child could also read and write. 
5) The family letters were reaching George while he was serving in France. 
6) George somehow got lost in the Argonne Forest alone. More information on this may be in the Morning Reports. 












7) George was in a quartet. He seemed quite proud of this.  Note:, my father was also a good singer. 
8) George saw up to 45,000 German prisoners at one time.  Was he at a POW camp?
9) George was involved in raids that included gas bombs.Yes, g-uncle George was injured in the war, but unlike the story G-Grandma like to tell, it was not from front line action!

10) The letter gave information about other local black soldiers.
  • Daniel Baugh was from Barton County, KS.  He worked for the railroad when he came home from the war and lived in Geneseo, KS.  
  • Arthur Stewart was from Sterling Kansas, and was a farm worker before and after the war. 
  • And as stated, Booker was from Great Bend.  
G-Uncle George came home, but soon after he went to St. John, Stafford County, and lived with his oldest sister. Like my grandfather, g-uncle George was a car mechanic. 
Again, special thanks to Greg Stredder! 

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
Accurate, accessible answers.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

4 Must Polish Research Collections

Archival Jurisdictions
At a3Genealogy we encourage our clients to research their family lines. So right now, as I'm writing this post, an Australian-based client is currently researching in Warsaw and forwarding to us his findings and documents. We work with our clients -"teamwork" - to get answers on their ancestral brickwalls. In this case, it is the client who is the document retriever, and a3Genealogy researchers will analyze documents, follow the Genealogical Proof Standards (GPS), and work toward proving kinship to meet the objective of "Who are the parents of Stephanus...? (Truncated for client privacy). 

Sources for Polish Research
Rudzinski Folder online:The Head Office of the State Archives 
Our Polish ancestral projects are broad in scope.  The last project was for an Israel-based American who wanted EU status, through his Polish ancestor.  That was a fun project!  We must note that many of our Polish ancestral projects require us to start right in America, so our top Polish resources include Poland research, online research, and American research.  Here are four of our favorites:

If you haven't visited the Central Archives of Historical Records Warsaw or one of the other national Poland archives, well, you are missing a treat. The Central Archives of Historical Records Warsaw or Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie, AGAD, holds a wealth of genealogical information (AGAD).  Visit the AGAD  link to read about it in Polish, or have your page translated (right click mouse and choose translate). 

Although our current Polish ancestral research project does not include a Polish American component, we must sneak in an underutilized American collection. We love the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America PIASA Archives Yes, this collection can be a bit academic, but so worth the time.  Here's information based on their website: The archival manuscripts are included in seventy-five collections.
"The archival collections include manuscripts, 
correspondence, diaries, maps and sound recordings."

A quick look at The Head Office of the State Archives Sezam and Zosia Databases is a great place to begin your research.  We often use this as a finding aid, and send the "Nerd Team" to the site to ferret out information. Yes, we affectionately call a few of our researchers the "Nerd Team."  They consider it a a badge of honor. Here is information on the various databases and Poland Holdings of the Polish State Archives.   
If your research lands you on needed State Archival collections, the a3Genealogy team relies on the Family History Library for their microfilmed/digitized Polish State Archives collection.  Since not all of the State Archives records were microfilm, you may need to make a written request for document retrieval.  Here's more information on the Poland State Archives records. 

Teaming with Document Retriever
The a3Genealogy researchers follow basic protocols, dare we say Standard Operating Procedures, to work with the document retrievers around the world. Our clients taking on this role also follow the basic procedures. We know when researchers are in a "genealogical research zone", there are two things often forgotten:  1) Giving distinguishing file names to each document; 2) Citing sources. Now that can be a problem, when we need to go back to the repository or archive for further research! So for anyone retrieving documents, here are things to consider as you pull those precious nuggets of ancestral leads: 

Shared Documents
Where will shared documents be stored?  At a3Genealogy we use Box.com, Dropbox, and Google Drive, based on the retriever's experience.  Our retrievers may send us documents in any legible form (scanned, phone cameras, by snail mail, email, messaging, etc).  We ask for full pages to include margins. Then we file the documents in the appropriate folders. 

Files Folders and Identification System
The biggest issue is that a project may have multiple "Stephanus" in each generation (cousins, direct line, uncles, etc).  So your files and folders must clearly determine which "Stephanus". Researchers want an at a glance filing system!  That's a major time saver. 

Citing Sources
So this is where we have broad guideline for clients, but professional document retrievers for hire should know to follow GPS standards for citations. Ok, our overseas retrievers often use a different citation format, but it usually meets our needs. Just remember to cite! For clients we have them jot down everything they can about the collection: name, folder number from archives, collection name, etc.  This can be given to the a3Genealogy team via handwritten notes, phone pics, etc. and we sort it out for proper citation. 

Just a few Polish  repository and research tips and tricks.  
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
Accurate, accessible answers