Monday, November 12, 2018

Homes for Unwed and Troubled Women 1869 – 1950

Where Are the Records?

 Seattle Advertisement for Florence Crittenton Home

Usually we find out by accident that Grandma was born in a home for unwed mothers. Sometimes, we figure it out, by the surname throughout her historical records, where a father is not listed, or the maternal family surname is the only one used. Sometime, we just deduce it correctly, when the family lived in rural America, yet, Grandma was born in a woman friendly town like Kansas City. Who was Grandma’s father will always be a family secret, or, the gossip of the hometown, but perhaps more information can be found in the records of the place of birth, especially if it was a home for unwed mothers.

History of Homes for Unwed Mothers
Florence Crittenton Home, Kansas City
Homes for unwed mothers and “troubled” women were becoming a common place by the early 1890’s. As early as 1869 the sisters of St. Vincent opened The House of Providence, a program for unwed mothers and their children, as did many other cities.

Charles Nelson Crittenton
By 1893 Charles Nelson Crittenton, grieving the death of his four year old daughter Florence who suffered from scarlet fever in 1882, founded Florence Night Mission. This Mission was designed to assist the prostitutes, troubled “lost and fallen women and wayward girls” of New York City.

By 1895 Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, an Episcopalian minister’s wife and mother of six, joined forces with Dr. Crittenton. Dr. Barrett’s primary interest was to assist unwed mothers. After completing her nursing course in 1894 at the Florence Nightingale Training School in London and her medical degree at the Women’s College of Georgia, in Atlanta, she and Crittenton partnered to establish up to 73 homes for unwed expectant mothers across America.[1] The National Florence Crittenton Mission became a well known safe-haven for unwed, troubled girls. Most of the homes served between 8-15 girls, but then there were the larger Florence Crittenton homes, like that in Kansas City.

Willows Maternity Home, KCMO
Other private homes for unwed mothers, or troubled women like “The House of Another Chance in Seattle which opened in 1926, assisted up to 150 women. And the The Willows Maternity Home, founded in 1905, in Kansas City was noted for its significant influence in adoptions. 

Homes for Colored Girls
Based on the times, the colored girls had their own homes for unwed mothers. In 1925 in Kansas City, there was the Florence Home for Colored Girls. Although named after the Critenton’s daughter, it was funded by the philanthropist William Volker. 

Kansas City – The Baby Hub of the US
According to statistics, Kansas City was the baby hub and a safe-place for unwed mothers. It was located in the middle of the US with convenient access to the railroad. A railroad map into Kansas City was featured on the Interesting Willows’ Statistics pamphlet printed in 1921 by Willows Maternity Home.

At that time, Kansas City also was the home of the Florence Crittenton Home, The St. Vincent’s Hospital, Eastside Maternity Hospital (aka Kansas City Cradle) and the Florence Home for Colored Girls.

Where are the Records?
Some of the workers kept diaries that have been preserved for these homes as the chronicles of the Florence Crittenton Home in Montana. The records for the Florence Crittenton Mission in Kansas City are held at the Missorui Valley Special Collections. The Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk records are held in the Old Dominion University Libraries, Special Collections: Manuscripts. However, some records were destroyed, as those at the Willows Maternity Home, in Kansas City. These records were supposedly “piled in the backyard and burned.” 

Be sure to check with State Historical Societies and manuscripts for these records. 

Note on Adoptions: Although the homes mentioned in this post historically encouraged the women to keep their child, the same homes were used as adoption agencies.

[1] The New York Times, 17 Nov. 1909, Page 9; http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F06E3DA1630E733A25754C1A9679D946897D6CF, online access 19 May 2010

Reprint of 19 May 2010, title of same name.

a3Genealogy
Accurate, Accessible Answers
a3genealogy@gmail.com

Monday, September 24, 2018

Which County in Ireland?

John Burns, Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, 1836 Probate Records
A Non-Stop Party
My older brother used to say “it ain’t nothing but a party.” While in college, his motto was "you don't go home until you are exhausted. Just because the party stopped, you don't stop. YOU are not exhausted. There were after parties, a friend’s house to play games, and meetups after the after-parties at IHOP. That was my brother Lance’s philosophy on life. I, on the other hand, am a genealogy nerd.

The Issue - Needle in a Haystack
The person I'm looking for is John Burns.  Well, at least that was his name in the USA - Wisconsin in 1836. I know he was born in Ireland, but without strong hints supported with solid research, finding the "correct" John Burns in Ireland is the proverbial looking for a needle in a haystack. He's there somewhere, but where? So I must exhaust my USA research. 

What’s Hidden in the Wills?
But, when we have projects like our Burns, Barnds, and Byrnes (yes, those are some of our B clients along with Britt, Burnett, and Brundage), we call it a party at a3Genealogy. We don’t stop until we’ve exhausted all of our party resources. Of course in this case, the party includes "all possible involved parties."  

Our researchers and clients are usually enrolled for the long haul.  We keep them informed of our progress, disappointments, and surprises along the way.  But sometimes they make us laugh. Like today, when a client asked, “why do you need to look at wills and probates to find the parents and origin of my John.” Here’s why!

Family Names
"...my sisters Catherine Burns, Bridget Burns and Aunty Burns and to Patrick Burns (a son of my brother John Burns by the widow Carrel...)


Year of Migration: 1831
..."when I left Ireland in the year A. D. 1831.
But, From Where In Ireland?
"That there may be no mistake I here give the Post Office address of my said sisters and brothers [sic] son when I left Ireland in the year A. D. 1831 as follows, to wit: Bonafair [?]* in the county of Kilkenny, Ireland, their residence prior to that time was at Lochland Bridge [Leighlinbridge?]in the county of Carlow, an adjoining county."
Worth it?
We have about a dozen more wills on the Burns of Wisconsin before coming to any conclusion. But did the client really want us to overlook this one?

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Notes: *Bonafair as written has not been located in County Kilkenny.  Perhaps Ballyfoyle, but this has not been proven. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Join Me 21 Aug - DNA Genetics & Medical Genealogy

Freshly home from a day at the Lincoln - Lancaster (NE) County Genealogical Society (LLCGS) Fall Annual Seminar! Now that was fun.  I presented 4 great topics to a wonderful group. I am sure to see you all again soon.
1) 10 Best Bets to Civil War Research
2) Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
3) Oral and Family History: sharing Our Ancestors
4) The Changing Surname - How to Trace It  (new offering). 
Thanks you LLCGS for hosting me, and a special thanks to Dennis Allen and Cris Nagla of Genealogical Treasures from Des Moines, IA for being so supportive.

DNA Series Genetic & Medical Genealogy
Now, to the upcoming excitement: DNA Series Genetic & Medical Genealogy hosted by the North Oak branch of Mid-Continent Public Library.

This is a class that will not disappoint! Genealogy test results have helped us find long lost relatives, assists investigators in uncovering criminals, and helps us identify medical risks, and genetic health ties to our ancestors.  Learn the tools, your medical risks,  and how to trace your genetic genealogy.  This is not a medical class. It's how to get the most out of your DNA test results and how to track more on your genealogy charts.  Yes, there's a standard for the charts.

Hope to see you Tues: 21 Aug 2018, 6:30 - 7:30.  Visit the Registration Link here.

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, August 5, 2018

How to Trace the Changing Surname


The Lincoln - Lancaster Genealogical Society (Nebraska) specifically asked for this presentation.  It's an eyeopener. We click, and click and click and never find that elusive ancestor.  I suggest you pull away from the redundant clicking and attack this issue with a plan. 

Women and Surnames
We know that in 1866 there was an article on Keeping Their Maiden Names in Addition to the Husbands Surname. Wow! Our ancestors were progressive.  You did it, didn't you? You just googled what actresses in 1866?  Then you realized, oh....stage!  

Norwegian Surnames
Well, surnames have always been a pain. This early writer attempted to make sense of Norwegian Names. 
 
 So when someone says to you...the records just don't exist.   Think about it! Our ancestors even had their names legally changed through the courts, or in the military.  
1917, Inquirer, PA, Vol 176, Issue 25, pg. 10
I mean really how did: 
  • Ber become Berkowicz (and many other variations)
  • Banham became King
  • Samuelsson became Tinberg
  • Sadorkiewicz become Weinstock
  • Whitaker became Bagshaw.  
  • And, where did Cuplin even come from? All of the close DNA matches were Copelands.   Yes, we have to pull out all the stops, including DNA to solve this surname changing issue! 
So Where Are the Records?
In all the usual spots, repositories, historical collections. But, we must have a keen eye on the documents. Here are a few: 
  • National Archives especially for 1) Native American Indian to Enrollee Names, 2) Prisoner aliases 3) Military Records
  • Court Records for alias prisoners
  • State Archives: especially for early Americans where name changes were noted in minutes
    1754, Pennsylvania Archives, fold3.com
    • Prison Records: State prison records, and Attorney General Criminal Records (for some reason, duh, men and women criminals had lots of names). 
    • Naturalization and Declaration of Intent Records (be sure to study them and pair with ship manifest. 
    • Social Security Applications and Claims
    • Marriage Records
    That's where we start! Of course there are so many more resources we must scour to identify and verify!

    Kathleen Brandt
    a3Genealogy.com
    accurate accessible answers 

    Sunday, July 22, 2018

    Penitentiary Records

    NY, Governor's Registers of Commitment to Prisons, 1842-1908 ancestry.com
    12 State Prison  Research Treasures
    From Alaska to Arkansas, California to Connecticut or Maine to Montana every state in the Union has state prisons, sometimes called the State Penitentiary. California has 33! As “black sheeps” and criminals sprinkle every family tree (if you look hard enough), prison records are a gem to family genealogists and historical researchers.


    Find Your Blacksheep  
    Liberty Tribune, 1857
    Liberty Tribune, 1855

    Although your black sheep may have visited the city jail, county jail, or Federal Penitentiary, be sure to check the following resources for those held in state prisons or penitentiaries. Although census records may enumerate your ancestor as “resident” of the penitentiary, remember newspaper articles provide accounts of not only the crimes, but often the trial, and witness statements.  In addition the details of your ancestor’s crime can be uncovered in a series of the following state held documents.

    Top 12 Collections to Research
    Many of the following records can be found at State Archives or the State Historical Society, but we have also noted collections that may be found in university collections.

    1. Original court case. With a bit of legwork, researchers may find copies of an original court case in the county courthouse, the State courthouse or at the federal level.
    2. Warden Papers. Most states have an extensive collection of Warden Papers. Maryland Historical Society Warden Papers date from 1797-1851.
    3. Prison Escapes. Of course the newspapers announced escapees, but also official papers may be located in the Board of Inspectors Records. Excess escapes often led to investigations of the lessee’s management of the prison by the Penitentiary Board of Inspectors.
    4. Penitentiary Board of Inspectors Records. It’s not always clear how collections cross the states, but the Missouri Board of Inspectors Records 1843-1854 can be located at the University of Michigan, William L. Clements Library: Finding Aid for Mo. Penitentiary Board of Inspectors Records 1843-1854.
    5. Discipline Papers. Guards and Wardens recorded “official’ disciplinary actions and so did prisoner advocates. Researchers may find records, like the Journal of Prison Discipline and Philanthropy dated as early as 1845 from the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons.
    6. Penitentiary Physician Collections. Physician reports can most likely be located at the State Archives.  The Texas State penitentiary from 1860 - 1880 is located at the Texas State Archives, 1846-1921.
    7. Pardon Papers. Although Pardon Papers may be extensive with explanation of decision, or may be as scant as a Certificate of Pardon, these collections are useful. Often pardons were initiated by community petitions. 
    8. Papers of Governors. As pardons were issued by the Governors, these papers are crucial in understanding a “missing” prisoner, a pardoned prison, or one note housed in the prison. Governor’s papers were often preserved and may be found at the State Archives as is the case for Missouri. Papers of Governor Meredith Miles Marmaduke have been salvaged from 9 Feb 1844 – 20 Nov 1944 and those of Governor Thomas Reynolds from 1840 to 19 Feb 1844 are available. 
    9. The Journal of the Senate. Names and events provided in the Senate Journal of the State provide delightful hints to prisoners and activities of the penitentiaries. A good example is the Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1841).
    10. County Histories. County Histories are commonly found at local libraries, State Archives, and online. It’s a welcomed surprise to find one’s ancestors in these county history books.
    11. State Historical Reviews. The Missouri Historical Review held a wonderful article on Strangers to Domestic Virtues: Nineteenth-Century Women in the Missouri Prison by Gary R. Kremer that proffered a wealth of knowledge.
    12. Dissertations and Thesis. The study of Prisons and the culture of penitentiaries has long been a favorite for graduate studies. Be sure to read "A History of the Missouri State Penitentiary, 1833-1875" written by William Charles Nesheim, M. A. thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1971).
    Other Tips & Hints to Prison Research

    Researchers will find that some documents will separate inmates by race and gender. The New York, Prisoners Received at Newgate State prison, 1797-1810 enumerates Black Women, Black Men and Foreigners separately.  This annual account of prisoners in the State Prison lists includes the crime.

    The following records have been digitized on ancestry.com:  
    • New York, Prisoners Received at Newgate State Prison, 1797-1810
    • New York, Governor's Registers of Commitments to Prisons, 1842-1908
    • Alabama Convict Records (county and state), 1886-1952
    • Louisiana, State Penitentiary Records, 1866-1963
    Review Penitentiary Records: Part I Women in Prison

    And your military veteran may have served a few months in a county jail for being a "slacker" and not reporting to draft office on time.  More to come on this one later. 

      Kathleen Brandt
      a3Genealogy.com
      Accurate, accessible answers

      Wednesday, July 4, 2018

      Freedom, Rights, and Independence Day

      The African American 4th of July
      Today Americans of all colors, race and religion are free to join in the festivities of the 4th of July.  Not to dampen the spirit, but we can't forget that in 1776 slavery was a welcomed institution even while the words freedom and rights were widespread. Colonies fought against the British forces in the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783 for such freedoms and rights that were not extended to slaves for another 80 plus years. 

      African American Revolutionary Soldiers
      In some states, like North Carolina,  free-coloreds, like my ancestor Ned Griffin, were allowed to serve as soldiers, others as laborers.  Slaves, too, served as substitutes for white men.  In exchange they were most often promised their freedom, as my ancestor, Ned Griffin.  But they had to fight in the field, and then upon their return to their home state, had to fight in court, for the freedom promised to them. 

      Ned Griffin
      An Act for Enfranchising Ned Griffin, Late the Property of William Kitchen.

      [An Act for Enfranchising Ned Griffin, Late the Property of William Kitchen Colonial Records. Acts of the North Carolina General Assembly, 1784 April 19, 1784 - June 03, 1784
      ; Volume 24, Pages 543 - 649.]
      I. Whereas, Ned Griffin, late the property of William Kitchen, of Edgecomb county, was promised the full enjoyments of his liberty, on condition that he, the said Ned Griffin, should faithfully serve as a soldier in the continental line of this State for and during the term of twelve months; and whereas the said Ned Griffin did faithfully on his part perform the condition, and whereas it is just and reasonable that the said Ned Griffin should receive the reward promised for the services which he performed;
      II. Be it therefore Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby Enacted by the authority of the same, That the said Ned Griffin, late the property of William Kitchen, shall forever hereafter be in every respect declared to be a freeman; and he shall be, and he is hereby enfranchised and forever delivered and discharged from the yoke of slavery; any law, usage or custom to the contrary thereof in anywise notwithstanding.
       
      As many as 10% of the Continental Army soldiers were African Americans. Ancestor Ned Griffin, served in The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, March 15, 1781. The following history is available on the History from the National Park Service, Guilford Courthouse website.

      Ned Griffin, a “Man of mixed Blood,” served as William Kitchen’s substitute in the North Carolina Militia.  William Kitchen deserted the army prior to the battle of Guilford Courthouse and purchased Griffin to serve in his place.
      Hiring a substitute was a common practice for those who could afford it. In this case, Kitchen promised 
      Griffin his freedom upon return. Griffin fulfilled his service (it is believed to have been at the battle of 
      Guilford Courthouse), but Kitchen instead sold him back again into slavery [upon his return].
      In April 1784 
      Griffin petitioned the North Carolina General Assembly for his freedom based on Kitchen’s “promise.”  The assembly acted quickly and enacted legislation that freed and enfranchised Ned Griffin and declared him “forever delivered and discharged from the yoke of slavery.”

      The Slave and the Fourth of July
      If the 4th of July is a celebration of the birth of America's independence, and the works of the Continental Congress' adoption of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, filled with fireworks and cookouts, one must be reminded that it was not the birth of its citizens freedoms or independence.  

      In July 1852 Frederick Douglass, a former slave and a leader in the Abolitionist Movement was invited by the Ladies' Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York to speak at the Independence Day celebration. Millions of Americans of African descent were yet trapped in the tyranny of slavery decades after the Revolutionary War. Douglass delivered his Meaning of July Fourth for the Negrospeech as planned. First paying tribute to the United States, to Jefferson, to the Founders, to the Declaration of Independence, he then shared his "What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?" famous oration. This excerpt well explains not only what Ned Griffin endured for years after serving in the Revolutionary War, but the pains of his fellow plantation mates, not yet free. Douglass speaks on the limited celebration of Independence Day:
      I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony.
      Kathleen Brandt
      a3genealogy@gmail.com

      Tuesday, June 26, 2018

      Break Down a Brick Wall

      A Pro Genealogist's Approach
      Interview and Video by Amy Johnson Crow
      AmyJohnsonCrow.com

      Yes, over 90% of our clients choose to add DNA kits as a vital tool to bring down their brickwalls.
      Join me in Lincoln, NE, at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society 2018 Fall Conference, 18 Aug 2018.

      Kathleen Brandt
      a3Genealogy.com
      a3Genealogy@gmail.com