Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Connected by Letters- Wiley, David and Sarah Morris

From Kansas to California
Sometimes it's just fun to find old letters that piece together the family photos, the family bible, death certificates, and obituaries.  We know that Wiley J, 1807 and Louisa Morris, 1817 had five children. Three of these offsprings, Wiley (Tobe) 1838, sister Adelade (married Willis Cox), and youngest brother David Morris, 1850 settled in Kansas. One son of Tobe's and many of David's offsprings to include his daughters Addie, Hoolie, April and Lou [Louise] went to California. But this railroad family (many of the husbands worked the railroad), travelled between Kansas and California to visit first cousins. They also wrote, confirming their close-knit family and relations.  Today cousins from these three Morris branches still celebrate in the Wiley J. Morris Reunion.  For 2015, it will be held in Omaha, Nebraska.

The following two 1954 letters are between all 3 cousin "groups" with the following mentions:
         Pearl (Morris) Simpson, daughter of Tobe, nicknamed "Duck"
         Jessie (Jess), Granddaughter of Wiley (Tobe) Morris
         Addie Belle Tucker, daughter of David, nicknamed "Sister"
         Hoolie (looks like Ollie), daughter of David
         Louise, daughter of David, seamstress in CA. (Often called "Big Sister")
         Cleave, son of David, lived in Kansas but visited California
Sarah Adelade
         Myrtle and Pauline, granddaughter of Sarah Adelade (Morris) Cox
         Mattie Cox, daughter of Sarah Adelade Morris Cox (mother of Myrtle and Pauline)

Letter 1 from Addie Tucker, CA to cousin Pearl Simpson, KS 28 Sept 1954

Hello, well I don’t know what to say_______this is I am so glad to rite you.  This is your cussin Addie, your uncle Dave Addie they called me Sister.  Duck I wish I could see you. Can you come to see me. I would come to see you but I am sick all the time with hi-blood pressure [pressure] & haven’t seen you in a long time. I got  a chance to see Jessie last night but I were [was] so glad she gave me your address. I have thought aboutyou so much thinking I would never here [hear] from you. But thank God for this blessing.  Send me your picture so I can see you.  Well all of us is about dead so I sure do want to see you cousin. Mat [Mattie Cox] girls live out here. Mirtle [ Myrtle] and Pauline. I have Pinks picture taken with me when I was 17 years old and have 2 sister out here April and Lue. Borther Cleave did last month. Excuse Bad spelling. All so [?} and don’t see to good. But I am ok and I do thank God for my youth. Well answer at once. I sure do want to see you all [and] hear from my you and family. So goodbye. Hope to hear from you. Your cousin Addie Tucker 631 E 52nd St, Ph ad4-1056, Los Angeles, CA. 

 Letter 2 to Pearl (Morris) Simpson, Great Bend Kansas from Jessie and Myrtle

Dear Aunt Pearl

Here I am at Myrtle’s and we both have said how we wished you were here. I told her yesterday I could all most see you laughing at us fussing. Myrtle is just as fast as ever. Last night she had a beautiful party for me. Alright in the morning before the party she went out to her club. I went sight seeing. Se got home about 4:30. She fixed a wonderful dinner. Had her party food already and was yelling at John and I to come to dinner at about 6. And she did have love party food.  Some gal. Her house is beautiful I will tell you about it when I see you in Omaha.  But I have found nothing more beautiful in L. A. I surely have gone to many one [ size] with ever convenience. She sill has some body coming and going all day. [  ] He has a nice job with the telephone company. I had a visit with [Hoolie]. She is fine. Today Myrtle and I going out to day to a place they call Farmers Market and to Lane Bryants store. Then on & on into the nte. Well also todayI am going to see Sister Addie. I can’t tell her last name. But will later. She keeps saying how she would love to see  “Duck” when , well Aunt Pearl there was 25 all together 1-3-3- cousins that goes to 7 [?] that was a party. Mattie Earl’s family and Uncle Dave’s kids. Oh I will tell you later. But fun O yes Ollie [Hoolie] had a nice [  ] down town for me. Will see you later. Love Jessie. 

Hi Simpson sorry I didn’t get to see you again. We went on [stopped] every place and finally got to NY and we sure did our number there. Great to have Jess. [?] meddled with her business to my own[?]. Smile. Love Myrtle. 

Where possible or needed for understanding we made spelling/grammar adjustments. Due to the difficulty in writing and numerous spelling errors, an actual transcript was not included. If this is needed, order via a3Genealogy  The highlighted sentence 'Aunt Pearl there was 25 all together 1-3-3- cousins that goes to 7 [?] that was a party. Mattie Earl’s family and Uncle Dave’s kids" tightly links all three families and verifies their recognized kinship. The family bible also confirms kinships as do many newspaper articles and other family records. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, May 24, 2015

1-2-3 Researching Revolutionary War Veteran - Virginia / Kentucky

Celebrating Memorial Day - Early Veterans
For Memorial Day, we have decided to highlight land patent research for VA-KY Revolutionary War Veterans.  Land patent and bounty research of our ancestors is a great way to show their contribution and war service.  

Kentucky,separated from VA, was admitted as the 15th state, 1 Jun 1792. So early researchers may find their VA - KY Revolutionary War ancestor’s land warrants on the Kentucky Secretary of State website: Revolutionary War Warrants Database. 
“Patents issued for service in the Revolutionary War are filed with the Virginia Patent Series (VA), Old Kentucky Patent Series (OK) and the West of the Tennessee River Military Patent Series (WTRM).”

Step 1. Where to begin?
Visit the Kentucky Secretary of State website. We have had wonderful success on the Virginia and Old Kentucky Patent Series, where researchers can access patent images using a “name” database.  There’s also the Index forVirginia Surveys and Grants posted by the Kentucky Historical Society online. 

Step 2: Tracing Deeds.
Tracing the deeds may be possible using online databases as that in Edmonson County, KY where images of the deeds are available. At a3Genealogy, if needed we use Deed Mapper to help us identify and track land descriptions. But even with metes and bounds and the lack of official surveys and platted land maps, you can uncover the general area of your war veteran and ancestors’ Kentucky early settlements. Visit here for Metes and Bounds Primer for Genealogists

Step 3: Ready to Walk Ancestor’s Land?
Once researchers have traced the early land patent to the current owners, we have found that the local Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) office is the best resource to mapping current day location. In Edmonson County, KY the Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) office aerial maps were used for outlining the original land patent of a recent client. However, for a “forensic genealogy” case in the same area, we used a property title search company / attorney with a surveyor to verify our findings and certify land boundaries for a court case. This however, is an expensive solution for genealogical research.  
Edmonson County Aerial Map - Ancestor Land Identified
There is also an online tool for ancestral researchers who wish to do the current-day mapping work themselves. After you have traced your 18th century patent to today’s current owner researchers may wish to visit If map aficionados and “deed tracers” haven’t used this tool, you are missing a genealogical treat! It is available in many counties across America and is such a life-saver when working with metes/bound land descriptions from Napa, California to Kentucky.

Top 3 Roadblocks
1)      Deeds may not be readily available on line. More than once we have had to use our a3Genealogy Kentucky deed experts to ferret original patents and trace the deeds.  However, our Revolutionary War patent projects have thus far been 100%. To trace these patents to current day, however, requires research in wills, probates and minute books.
2)      You may wish to not have an aerial map (birds-eye) view.  For these clients we use Google Maps, but in some rural areas, exact locations may not be discernable on the map. Yet, an overlay from historical maps using Google Maps is an acceptable tool.
3)      From the original patent to current day the watercourses have shifted and the descriptions vary from one owner to the next. It’s not exact. Be sure to widen your deed trace to include neighbors. Few have paid for official surveys. However, this is changing due to boundary disputes.

As we celebrate our war veterans, have a safe Memorial Day. And let’s not forget our Revolutionary War soldiers laid to rest in the most remote locations.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Join Me In Wichita, KS

Looking forward to this full day conference (8:00am - 4:00pm) 20 Jun 2015, held at Wichita State University's Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex. Early registration closes 10 June and registration includes the syllabus and catered luncheon.

The website has all the details: 

Will see you there!

Accurate, Accessible Answers

Monday, May 18, 2015

Slave Death Records Before the Civil War?

Where Might They Be Hiding?
Sometimes, there's a record collection that elicits "pause!" A grouping of records that shatters a truth so ingrained in the slave researchers' psyche, that even the slightest hope of uncovering the pre-Civil War slave ancestors is dismissed. Sure there are Civil War records, pension records being one of the favorites. There are Civil marriage records as early as 1865, slave master personal records, probates and wills that may give us a hint of a slave's name and even age. But what about death records? Are you bypassing death records, because you consider finding death facts on your slave ancestor to yield a low success rate?

Names Slave and "Name of the Owner of Slave"
Try It Anyway
There are two main questions needing to be answered when doing slave research: 1) Names of parents?  2) Who was the slavemaster(s)? Researchers most often give up too early to really ferrett the answers to these questions.  This was the case in a recent Virginia / West Virginia slave research project. Yet, both questions were answered. Perhaps a quick peak at county death records will surprise you.  In this West Virginia slave research project, an "ah shucks...let's just check" attitude yielded a hosts of slave names, their slavemasters, death circumstances and even parent's names (as known by the informant). The results were numerous and outlined not for one, two, or three slaves, but for many.

Names Parents and Birthplace

Where to Look and Tips
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History holds the death record database and images. But, to recreate this type of research conduct your keyword searches by the county using a first name search, not the expected surname. Keep identifying characteristics (age, location,etc.) in mind when conducting your search to pinpoint your ancestor.

Where to Go From Here?
First stop should be to slave master deeds and records. These deeds may explain how the slave was acquired, and name previously known slavemasters.  Through slaveholder lineage, wills and probates may name your slave ancestors also.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Genealogical Book Reviews

I woke up this morning to another request for a rather popular Missouri slave marriage book, compiled a year ago. Lately, a more-than-expected number of orders and inquiries for the Colored Marriage Records of Saline County, MO, 1865 - 1875 book published by Two Trails Publishing, 2014 have crossed my desk.  But today's request did provide a hint as to why.  The book had recently been reviewed in the Missouri State Genealogical Association: MoSGA Journal, XXXV No 1, 2015, pg 41. What a pleasant surprise! I had yet to read the journal. (Reading backlog.)

How and Why to Get Your Book Reviewed
MoSGA Library Program
This particular book review was initiated by my answering a call for book donations to the State Genealogical Association. This appears to be the normal procedure. I also encourage authors to have membership in the association/society in the towns, states, and counties of research interest.  It's a way to keep a pulse on what is needed: "how can the author in you fill a void?" 

Plus the avid genealogists subscribes to many of these organizations, just for the journals and newsletters. It's a great way to get research tips, hints and history, as well as another place to uncover family surnames, and connect with fellow researchers.

Advantages to Donating a Book: 
MoSGA Book Review, Missouri Genealogical Society Association
I know when we spend hours writing and compiling we want to sell the book, the knowledge. But I should encourage writers to donate the book, ask for a review, and wait for the returns. You will be assisting a larger community. Here are a few advantages (for you and the researcher) should you chose to donate your book in return for a book review:

Complete book reviews from a reputable organization will be available for researchers and libraries.

  • Libraries rely on these organizational  book reviews to make a decision on limited purchasing funds. 
  • Donated books may be placed in the "genealogical circulating collection" of a genealogy center, like the Mid Continent Public Library. 
  • Once in circulation, these books are most often available via inter-library loan, reaching far-away researchers.
Thanks to MoSGA and Belinda Luke, Mosga Library Director for the review and white space!

To Order the Colored Marriage Records of Saline County, MO, 1865 - 1875, visit the a3genealogy site. 

Kathleen Brandt

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Genealogy Research via the State Judicial System

From Circuit Courts to State Supreme Courts
More than often researchers stop short of finding the full story. But five (5) cases were solved 1st quarter 2015 by scouring state court cases and appeals. 

A Reasonably Exhaustive Search
At a3Genealogy, we usually assume that for every court case, there was probably an appeal. Why? Because there’s a 100% chance that half of the parties (party) represented by someone or some company did not like the result of a lower court.  So the research is not over until the possibility of an appeals court case has been eliminated.

5 Answers via Court Cases
All court cases seem to give us at least some genealogical, social, or family history, but our favorites are the Appeals Court Cases.  Some researchers question if the extra ferreting is worth it, but we profess that it almost always has a high return on (time/money) investment – what we call a “Return on Genealogical Investment” (ROGI©).

Here are recent brickwalls annihilated using court records dating from a 1797 in Delaware to a more recent 19th century Indiana death:
  1. A wrongful death (often caused by company/railroad neglect), providing a death date and details of the incident.
  2. Names of a family unit that can be used to unscramble common names.
  3. Immigration, settlement and estate details most often come to the forefront when discussing land and property cases.
  4. Unearthing your colonial ancestors.
  5. Slave research holes and slave holder names (and sometimes slave parent names), manumission dates, etc.  The Delaware Reports that reviewed cases decided through appeals proffer answers (and questions) of the fate of a few slaves.
Don’t Overlook the Following
Although most court records and cases can be located in the local courts, state archives or state historical societies, you will want to expand your court case search to the following:
·         Google Search. A simple google search may yield answers to your ancestors' (or his heirs') court cases.  We were able to find answers using the Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of Indiana, for details of a railroad accidental death. This case also provided proof of (sibling) orphans, and grandparents’ names, taking our research back one more generation.  For this search we gathered hints, but not details, from the newspaper: The Indianapolis Journal.
·         National Archives, County Record Group 21 (RG21). Records of District Courts of the United States: If the researcher is looking for a trial court for federal jurisdiction, begin your search with RG21 (Record Group).  Remember these records are housed by regional National Archives. Here is an idea of what can be found at the National Archives at Atlanta. These records may date as early as 1790 as in the case with Delaware 1790-1988.

Kathleen Brandt

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Presentation / Speaker Calendar

Check Calendar Frequently!

Kathleen Brandt Speaking Calendar
    26  Private:  Washington, DC / New York City
          Immigration / Naturalization
          Puerto Rico Research
          Domincan Republic Research


     28   Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC), Independence, MO
             Leaping Over Brickwalls: Using African American Research, 11:00
 Missouri Slave Research Tips: Researching in the Black Belt, 1:30

       28  Private: Las Vegas, NE
       15  NGS Conference
             7 Tips to Researching Slaves and Slaveholders in Little Dixie - Mo,
             St. Charles, MO. 8:00am
       20   Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Wichita, KS
              Keynote Speaker 8:30 - 4:00
              -  Military Records Were Destroyed? What To Do
              -  How We Were Freed
              -  Who Do You Think You Are? Research Q/A
              -  Leaping Over Brickwalls
              -  Sharing Our Ancestors

        11  Wiley J. Morris Family Reunion, Omaha, NE  6:00pm
               DNA Analysis

To Book Kathleen, Call 816-729-5995          
(Revised 3/14/2015)