Friday, July 25, 2014

Penitentiary Records: Part II Researching State Inmates

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. Lately in family history the question of whether criminals are born or made has become a favorite topic when analyzing family trees. See the case of Steven “Tony” Mobley.

a3Genealogy researchers have noticed the more gruesome, the more interests. And crimes committed by women or against children generate community outcry.

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. Like most states, physician reports can 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 as was the pardon papers of Cynthia Nixon’s great-great-great grandmother, Martha Casto recently presented on TLC, Who Do You Think You Are?.
  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
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pentitentiary Records: Part I Women in Prison

Missouri State Penitentiary
(as seen on WDYTYA Cynthia Nixon)
As historical researchers, we already know that we must exhaust various collections to gather documents, data and information on any topic. This is true when uncovering prison records and related documents to understand the complete story of our ancestors’ lives. In the July 2014 episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) with Cynthia Nixon, Missouri prison records were featured in the uncovering of her family history. What was even more unique is that the prisoner was her great-great-great grandmother! Yes a woman imprisoned in the 1840’s.

Researching women who were imprisoned takes a bit more sleuthing, because they didn’t always serve “inside the walls” of the penitentiaries. Each State Penitentiary used different guidelines, so it’s important to first research your states’ practices.

Women Were Pardoned (or Abused)
Prisoner Petition to Governor Reynolds

The Missouri State Penitentiary was the second largest in the nation. It opened in 1836. The first woman sentenced to prison as a result of attempting to poison her husband was Rebecca Hawkins in 1841. Although she failed to kill Mr. Hawkins, he was murdered by another and Rebecca was immediately pardoned as she was the sole care giver of the eight children. Rebecca was never sent to the penitentiary. Researchers will find that many of their female ancestors were pardoned for various reasons.

In May of 1842, the first female convict sent to the Penitentiary was Ann Amelia Eddy from St. Louis County. She had stolen a coat and pantaloons and was given a two-year sentence for grand larceny. Like her predecessor, she did not serve her sentence and was only held for two weeks before being pardoned by the Governor. As with many Government pardons of this era, Amelia was released due to the lack of adequate facilities for women.

But the next prisoner at the Mo. State Penitentiary, Martha Casto (the great-great-great grandmother of Cynthia Nixon as seen on Who Do You Think You Are? Season 5, Episode 1, 23 July 2014), was not immediately pardoned. And unlike her predecessor who only served two weeks, Casto served a year and a half before being pardoned. Across the nation, women who served time in non-segregated prisons were abused by guards, wardens, and at the work-place houses.

An abstract from the Missouri State Penitentiary: 170 Years inside “The Walls” by Jamie Pamela Rasmussen provides us with further history to Women Prisoners:
Petition to Pardon Prisoner, 1841
The next female prisoner, Martha Casto [great-great-great grandmother of Cynthia Nixon, as seen on Who Do You Think You Are? Season 4, Episode 1, 23 July 2014], was not as lucky as Amelia had been. As soon as she [Casto] arrived, special arrangements were made for her to live and work in the home of one of the lessees. While there, she became pregnant. She was horribly mistreated by the man's wife and ran away. Apprehended the next day, she was returned to the prison and given an isolation cell. There she later gave birth with assistance from one of her fellow convicts-a man-and both the mother and baby girl remained imprisoned until a year and a half later when Casto was finally pardoned.

Another woman unfortunate enough to be sentenced to the penitentiary was simply placed in a cell with three men. She was forced to wear a dress vividly dyed half yellow and half white that identified her as a convict. During the day she worked in the wash house. While in her cell, the door was kept unlocked so that any prisoner or guard could "visit" her as he wished
” (Rasmussen).

In 1919, Katie Richards O’Hare served part of her federal sentence at the Missouri State Penitentiary. She was indicted under the Federal Espionage Act and was forced to work 50 hours a week in a clothing factory and was prohibited from communicating with her husband and four children. In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson commuted her sentence and she was released. Later O’Hare received a full pardon from President Calvin Coolidge. Another infamous prisoner at the Missouri State Penitentiary was Emma Goldman who was convicted for various criminal charges ranging from “inciting a riot to advocating the use of birth control to opposition to World War I.”

But by the turn of the century, prisons were being built for women. The Renz Women's Penitentiary in Missouri opened up in 1926, and operated as a prison farm, where more than 500 female inmates raised chickens and grew produce. These types of work prisons were popular at the turn of the century.

1-2-3  Begin Your MO. Prison and Pardon Research
There are several key repositories and collections available for the Missouri researcher. Keep in mind, however, that Missouri was one of the largest prisons resulting in inmates from across the nation being housed at the Mo. State Penitentiary.


  1. State Penitentiary History and Newspaper Research
    Missouri State Penitentiary: Women in Prison
    The Mo. State penitentiary: 170 Years inside “The Walls” - Women Prisoners Who Changed the Walls form the Inside Out, Jamie Pamela Rasmussen.
  2. MO. State Archives. 
    This is a good place to begin your search is with the State Archives. Hopefully your State Archives will hold as rich of a collection as the Missouri State Archives. (Be sure to also check the Midwest Genealogy Center for their microfilm collection of Penitentiary records).
    Prisoner's Complaints
    • Register of Inmates Received, 1836--
    • MO State Penitentiary Register
    • Records of Pardons 1836
    • Circuit Court (usually catalogued by counties if available)
    • Original copies of sentences and judgment papers from the Court
    • List of Prisoners As They Sit at the Table
    • Prisoners’ Complaints
    • Accounts List
  3. MO. State Historical Society
Be sure to visit Part II, Prison and Pardon Research, 12 Prison Research Treasures for additional tips and hints to your penitentiary research (to be posted 24 Jul 2014).

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Press Release: a3Genealogy 6th Anniversary


On the 17th of July, 2008 a3Genealogy officially
began a company blog and expanded their services worldwide.

Our 2013 - 2014 fiscal year brought us new experiences and lots of joy, thanks to our wonderful clients around the world. Once again our clients covered the globe - Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. We were even chosen to do a fascinating WWII Iceland military project that required hours of travel and research at the National Archives, DC area.

Thanks again to our returning clients to include our beloved Napa Valley vitners, corporate VIP clients, and media producers to include shows on the History Channel and PBS and the popular TLC Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) show. This year we researched the Cynthia Nixon episode for WDYTYA which will aire 23 Jul 2014. We will post a relevant blog during the airing of the show.

As promised, we have expanded our Speaker Series You Are A Pioneer!© to Colleges/Universities and corporate clients. What's a better way to unleash possibilities than to walk in the success and understand the struggles of our ancestors? This innovative presentation allows each of us to explore our untapped talents, embrace our entrepreneurial spirit, and expand our company goals and client base without fear. Our Corporate and Entrepreneurial Alliances (CEA) to include Colleges/Universities, has been our fastest growing sector this past year.

Our DNA and Forensic projects have kept us busy! Our DNA for Genealogists series of seminars, presentations and workshops have been quite popular. And, for those who were unable to attend a class have kept abreast of the technology, tools, and trends by following our FlipBoard magazine: DNA for the Genealogists.

In April we released the Colored Marriage Records of Saline County, 1865-1870 book (available via e-book and paperback). The acceptance of this Kickstarter supported publication has launched a DNA project to connect descendants of slaves in Saline County, MO.  A special thanks to all that supported and helped us move this project along.

Thanks to all of the a3Genealogy Researchers and Interns who have made 2013-2014 a success. We look forward to our 2014 - 2015 fiscal year! New and exciting projects have already begun thanks to the clients that have put their trust in a3Genealogy Premier Services.

Kathleen Brandt, Owner

Sunday, July 13, 2014

From Japanese Internment Camps to Combat, Part II

 

Nisei in European Theater
Many Japanese American researchers turn to pre-WWII records - census, land, city directories, etc., - but fail to look at the segregated Japanese 442nd Infantry and 100th Battalion records. It seems the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor distracts even the most focused Japanese American researcher who instinctively dismisses the possibility that their ancestors would fight for the country that imprisoned their families. But, the military needed men and Japanese -American born citizens were asked to fight for their country

While families remained in the barbed wire camps, over 3,600 Japanese Americans from the mainland were released from their internment to serve in the US military. They served with the segregated units, 442nd Infantry and 100th Battalion along with thousands of Hawaiian resident Japanese Americans. The 442nd Infantry and 100th Battalions were made up of Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans, those born in America) combat soldiers led by white officers.  Between 19 to 22 thousand Japanese soldiers served with these two units, nicknamed “Go For Broke” regiments.  The “Go For Broke” monument best explains why Japanese Americans would fight for a country that “betrayed them.”

Rising to the defense of their country, by the thousands they came -
these young Japanese American soldiers from Hawaii,
the states, America's concentration camps -
to fight in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.
Looked upon with suspicion, set apart and deprived of their constitutional rights,
they nevertheless remained steadfast
and served with indomitable spirit and uncommon valor,
for theirs was a fight to prove loyalty.
This legacy will serve as a sobering reminder
that never again shall any group be denied
liberty and the rights of citizenship. – Ben H. Tamashiro

The 442nd and 100th were highly decorated with more than “four thousand Purple Hearts, 560 Silver Stars, seven Presidential Unit Citations and 21 Medals of Honor.” In addition to serving in combat, they served as translators and trained military interrogators. They were Nisei linguists to the military. But even with stellar military service, these WWII decorated soldiers were not welcomed at the end of the war.

100th Battalion
From 442nd Regimental Combat Team
“The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was the first U.S. Army unit of Japanese Americans activated in World War II.  The 100th Battalion began its existence as the Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion that was activated on June 5, 1942 in Hawaii.  The soldiers of the Hawaiian Provisional Battalion came from various units of the Hawaiian National Guard.  The Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion was transferred to the mainland and arrived in San Francisco on June 12, 1942.  The unit was then designated the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).” 

442nd Infantry
“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team [RCT] was activated on February 1, 1943 at Camp Shelby Mississippi.  The 442nd was comprised of the 442nd Infantry Regiment; the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion; the 232nd Combat Engineer Company.  The 442nd Regimental Combat Team [RCT] was composed of Japanese American volunteers from the internment camps, Hawaii, states outside of the west coast exclusion zone, and Japanese American soldiers who were already serving in the U.S. Army when the war broke out.  These Japanese American soldiers already in the Army would become the cadre for the new 442nd RCT.”


10 Places to Begin Research
  1. To become familiar with the Japanese soldiers, review Nisei in Uniform (1944).
  2.  As with many military units, there are dedicated societies for the 442nd and 100th battalion. Visit 442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society  
  3. Visit the Education Center for the  100th Infantry Battalion Veterans for a "digital library of stories, photographs and documents related to the men of the 100th infantry Battalion..."
  4.  If looking for a copy of your veterans military file, WWII Personnel Records are held at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. 
  5. Honolulu, Hawaii, National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), 1941-2001. These records/photos of plaques are digitized on ancestry.com.
  6. Also researchers will find the U. S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006 records, that provide name, service information and birth and death dates of soldiers accompanying the cemetery information on ancestry.com.
  7. A useful database is Descubra Nikkei. A search of Army, Combat soldiers, produced a list of 11361 veterans’ bios.
  8. For More Information on the Relocation Camps visit Japanese Internment Camps to Combat,
    Part I, Relocation Camps
    .
  9. The San Francisco Gate published veteran accounts in Secret Revealed: Nisei’s WWII Role
  10. Many are not aware of the widespread practice of the Nisei lingusists: Loyal Linguists: Nisei in WWII Learned Japanese in Minnesota
Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Friday, July 11, 2014

From Japanese Internment Camps to Combat, Part I

Relocation (Internment) Camps
Genealogy in America is getting even more interesting with the popularity of Japanese-American research. In Feb 1942, abt. 127,000 Japanese, two-thirds native born citizens, were removed to “relocation camps.” Of course the animosity toward Japanese and others of Asian descent did not begin with the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. Anti-Japanese hysteria and paranoia were fueled by the early California Alien Land Laws of 1913 and 1920, and the Asian immigration prohibition of 1924.

Even WWI Japanese American veterans were subject to imprisonment at the relocation camps.
In 1945, Japanese Americans were allowed to return to the West Coast and in 1946 the last camp was closed.  But their history includes imprisonment in racetracks stables and other temporary locations while waiting for the building of the ten relocation camps.

Ten camps were established:
Central Utah, October 1945 (Topaz)

Researching Relocation Camp Records
WWII evacuees were taken from California, Oregon, and Washington (not Hawaii). There are several record collection held at the National Archives (NARA) and digitized on ancestry.com:
Final Accountability Roster
  • Japanese Americans Relocated During WWII Record Group 210, NARA - College Park
    Japanese-American Internee Data File, 1942-1946 [Archival Database]; Records About Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II, 1988-1989; Records of the War Relocation Authority
  • WWII Japanese-American Internment Camp Documents, 1942-1946Field Basic Documentation of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946; National Archives Microfilm Publication C53, 115 rolls; Records of the War Relocation Authority, Record Group 210
  • Final Accountability rosters of Evacuees at Relocation Centers, 1944-1946).Final accountability rosters of evacuees at relocation centers, 1944–1946. Microfilm publication M1965, 10 rolls. Records of the War Relocation Authority, Record Group 210.
Additional Resources
Sgt. Kazuo Komotu
While families remained in the barbed wire camps, over 3,600 Japanese Americans from the mainland were released from their internment to serve in the US military. Be sure to read, FromJapanese Internment Camps to Combat, Part II, Nisei in European Theater for tips on researching Japanese soldiers in WWII.

7 Links for Data and Information
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Does Church Research Mean?

Inside and Out
Researchers rely heavily on church records. Historical church records may be available to document the birth, baptism, marriage, deaths, confessions of ancestors, and more. Experienced researchers would never overlook these records. But often they forget to go beyond the books. What’s in the yard of the church? What’s in the edifice? Are there hints to our ancestors' lives?

Recently on a pre-Revolutionary War project, a trip to New York answered many of my questions. Beginning with the gate of St. Paul’s Chapel - Trinity Parish, the invitation to enter was full of intrigue. The cemetery shared secrets, and the interior of the church held family plaques that answered questions. With some analysis, a colorful tapestry of family connections and histories were learned.

Walls and Plaques
  
On the walls of the church a plaque proffers dates and names, cause of death, place of origin, and father’s name. What a great confirmation! We have discovered the same types of wall tributes in AME Zion churches of North Carolina, small town churches in Scotland Missouri, and so many more! So researchers should not underestimate the walls of older churches.

Cemeteries and Headstones
Capturing scripts on tombstones are not optional, but essential,  as they too may reveal a bit more about your ancestor. Of course, most know the value of FindaGrave.com and BillionGraves.com, but take time to read the words for hints. It's not often you get an invitation to "follow" your ancestor!

Behold you See as you Pass By
As you are Now so Once was I
As I am Now you soon will Be
Prepare for Death and Follow Me.

For some, the tombstones are actually wonderful substitutes for a written obituary with detailed family information.

Jacob Kemper, son of Daniel and Jane who 
departed this life Dec 10th 1793, aged 21 years 3 months…

Checklist to Uncover Church Information
1) Books/Records
2) Walls / Plaques (and artifacts)
3) Church Cemetery Headstones

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy.com
Accurate, accessible answers

Note: The examples above are from St. Paul’s Cemetery. The a3Genealogy project and client are not discussed or revealed in this article/post. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2014 Presentation Calendar

Check Calendar Frequently!

Kathleen Brandt Speaking Calendar
January
    20  Stephens College
               Keynote Address: The Invisible Staircase: Realize Your Dreams 9:00am - 10:00am
               You Are A Pioneer: Readying Yourself for the Open Territory Ahead 3:00 - 4:00pm

February
      6   Midwest Genealogy Center, Missouri
                Researching the Road to Freedom 7:00pm

March 
       8  Genie Tech Spring Seminar: Midwest Genealogy Center, Missouri
                DNA Research: Spit or Swab? 1:00 - 2:00
     21  GenealogyKC
                 Keynote Speaker: Leaping Over Brick Walls 7:15 - 8:15
                 Military Records Destroyed  5:15 - 6:15
     22  GenealogyKC
                 Tech Toys for Genealogists  11:45 - 12: 45
                 Sharing Our Ancestors 1:30 - 2:30
June 
    21 Midwest Computer Genealogists, Raytown, MO
             DNA for Genealogists: Spit or Swab? 9:30am - 10:30 am
July
    31  Columbia Mo, Public Library, Friends Room
              DNA for Genealogists 7:00-8:15
October 
   10-11 Iowa Genealogical Society
             Keynote Speaker
   18  5th KansasAncestor Fair, Topeka,  Kansas History Museum
             DNA for Genealogists: Who? What?, When? Where?   

To Book Kathleen, Call 816-729-5995