Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From 1940 to Present Day Research Resources

8 Resources for Descendant / Forensic Genealogy


Genealogy vs Descendant Research Your project may have the objective to locate living descendants. Thirty percent of a3Genealogy research projects are classified as "descendant research." Some like to call it "forensic genealogical research." 

Genealogical research typically requires us to start with ourselves or present day and work backwards. But, what if we have an ancestor (subject) from the past and we want to uncover present day descendants? This is Descendant Research.  Also called forensic genealogical research, descendant research may be tied to the legal system to prove kinship or requires the research proof argument to include scientific support - like a DNA test result analysis. If the legal system is not involved, or DNA test analysis is not required, a3Genealogy researchers call it descendant research. We all can do this!

What needs to be done?

Your project may have the objective to locate living descendants. A well thought out research plan will be the key to your success. For our Sebastian Glos descendant research project the plan had the objective to identify addresses, emails and phone numbers of living descendants. 

Tips to Uncover 
In the Sebastian Glos descendant research project we began with a living Glos client in California. His genealogical research was traced back to Klingenm├╝ster, Germany - a normal genealogy project - start with present day and work backwards. It was proven that the Glos children came to America between 1867- 1883. 

Now we turn to Descendant Research. To uncover the descendants we put in two practices: 
1) use wildcards for names because in the Glos case, six of them changed their names early. Most were simple changes (i.e. Fanciscus became Frank); but then there was Magdelena who became Helen. HELEN???  
2) never be attached to the spelling of the surname. At least two of the Glos sons adopted the surname "Gloss." (This had to be to purposeful in order to make it more difficult for the researcher!)
8 Resources: From 1940 to Present Day Research 
The plan gets complicated between the 1940 census to present day. What resources are available to meet our objective: "identify addresses, emails and phone numbers of living descendants." Here are a few suggestions: 
1) land deeds at the county court recorders offices.  Many of these may be online.
2) city directory research and analysis
3) state voter registration cards
4) social media ferreting to include Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.
5) newspaper research for obituaries and community social news that may name parents or descendants.
6) public record research. Start with Google search. At a3Genealogy we use several databases to include our subscribed Private Investigator (PI) database.
7) vital records: available birth, death and marriage records may connect ancestors to descendants living in current day.
8) recorded wills and probates 

At a3Genealogy we often ask for Y-DNA tests results from familytreeDNA, and autosomal DNA tests results (i.e. ancestryDNA, myheritageDNA, 23&Me, etc) when applicable. These test can assist in identifying surnames and family units as we uncover "new" cousins. We were easily able to connect the Bernzott family connection - Frank Bernzott married Barbara Glos . But, to connect the Quist, Lang, Patz, & Eliason descendants of Barbara (Glos) Bernzott we turned to all eight of the suggestion resources above. These same key 8 resources apply to all Descendant Research projects.

Stay healthy and safe as you use this social distancing time for discovering ancestors and identifying cousins.  We will all want a family reunion after this is over!

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
816-729-5995
Be sure to follow us at our a3genealogy online sites and social media (below) for updated information. 
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Shelter in Place Order
Extended Deadlines
Know that many job deadlines will be extended as we work with repositories (courthouses, state archives, national archives, etc) that may be in a mandatory shutdown mode or under-staffed.

Note: a3Genealogy researchers are now scheduling for April and May projects. We are also still conducting our Do-It-Yourself Genealogy Consultation client and tutoring sessions which are in high demand. Let us know, if you wish to be added to our wait list. Contact us at 816-729-5995 Monday -Friday 10:00am - 3:00pm or by appointment: a3genealogy@gmail.com

Monday, March 16, 2020

Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Image result for coronavirus image
Get to Know Your Ancestors!

No Social Distancing Required to Get to Know Your Ancestors
Amidst the corona-virus pandemic, a3genealogy researchers will continue scheduling and working on client projects. 

Existing Clients 
To include retainer clients and media clients: 
Client questions and discussions may be conducted by via the internet - zoom, skype, facetime, or by phone. 

Onsite Research
We have halted all onsite and travel required research until April 20th.  At that time we will be able to give you an update or reschedule our travel schedule based on CDC recommendations and repository availability. 

New Clients
We are now booking new clients for a start date of April 1st.  

We have been receiving a lot more requests for our "Genealogy Consultation Package." This is our "do-it-yourself" package.  Keep in mind that it too is a 10 session package, that must be used within twelve months. Each session can be up to 45 minutes of phone / internet time, or it can include us reviewing your work and sending you a Next Step Research Plan.  Actually YOU decide how you wish to use the Consultation Package. (In the last two weeks you all have been pretty creative)!  But this do it yourself package will help you as a beginning family researcher, or working through a brickwall, or expanding your opportunities as a professional genealogist.  True to the mission statement for the a3Genealogy blog, the purpose of this package will help you with your ongoing research projects, and learning the steps and resources along the way. This is the only package that will allow you to jump around between projects (DNA analysis, Adoption, Grandma 1 and Great-Granpa 4).  Who knows? You may have that brickwall solved before this "slow-down" ends. 

Extended Deadlines
Know that many job deadlines will be extended as we work with repositories (courthouses, state archives, national archives, etc) that may be in a mandatory shutdown mode or under-staffed.

Please visit our a3genealogy online sites and social media for updated information. 

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
816-729-5995

Friday, February 14, 2020

Resources for Military History Research

Tips for Everyone
America's History Part 2


I was interviewed by the Mid-Continent Public Library of  the Kansas City area. This of course is the home of the Midwest Genealogy Center.  I will be posting questions and answers from the interview here. As you already know, Military Research is basically the same for all veterans, however this series of questions was posed as a precursor to the presentation Military Service by African Americans. So although the class points out nuances caused by segregated troops, the sources, tips, hints and documents apply to all. Three sessions of this title are being offered by Mid-Continent Pubic Library beginning 11 Feb 2020.  Check the link for the different branches. One session at the Daniel Boone Regional Library of Columbia, MO. on Feb 18;  and one at the Leavenworth Kansas Public Library, 23 Feb 2020.

What are your top three tips for military history research?

1.       Don’t forget the National Archives Records in Washington DC, Archives I for the early wars: Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War and Philippine War. 
For early war research, remember you must also exhaust the militia, which includes State Historical Societies and repositories,.  You will also wish to visit the Civil War records held at the associated Regional Branches of the National Archives.  They hold all the Provost Marshal Records
The Philippine War service records are quite challenging to uncover. They should be in the collections held at the Archives I, NARA -Washington, DC, but photos were found in Archives II, College Park Maryland.  Also we most often had to do a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for assistance in locating the Personnel files for these veterans.  Many of them also served in the WWI. If that is the case, you will want to retrieve that full record, if available to get a more complete account of your veterans full military service. 
Read here for additional articles. 
2.      Remember the modern war records (WWI to present day ) are in both National Archives Records in College Park Maryland and in National Personnel Resource Center (NPRC) in St. Louis.  Yes, there was a fire in 1973, but many troop records, and other types of records can be used to reconstruct your ancestor’smilitary service story and provides a working timeline.
The National Personnel Resource Center (NPRC) requires the proper forms for research. Be sure to contact them in advance if you wish to research onsite: microfilms of troop rosters, morning reports, and personnel records, etc. 
Read here to get more ideas on how to reconstruct your WWI veteran. 
3.      Don’t forget the value of the Veteran Administration records.  This may take an additional step of sending out FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, but the time is well worth the effort. Plus, it is possible that the VA holds the original records or duplicates thought to be lost in the fire. A recent FOIA case produced over 400 pages of military records that had been presumed to have been lost in the 1973 fire. Be sure to complete the SF180 form for FOIA requests as well as Modern War records. 
      Where are Veteran Pension Files?
 Be sure to join me at one of the five presentations in February on the topic! Check out the monthly calendar here.

Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Military Service by African Americans


America's History Part 1
I was interviewed by the MidContinent Public Library of  the Kansas City area. This of course is the home of the Midwest Genealogy Center.  I will be posting questions and answers from the interview here. This is a precursor to the presentation Military Service by African Americans. Three sessions of this title are being offered by Mid-Continent Pubic Library beginning 11 Feb 2020.  Check the link for the different branches. One session at the Daniel Boone Regional Library of Columbia, MO. on Feb 18;  and one at the Leavenworth Kansas Public Library, 23 Feb 2020.

I'm Not African-American
Remember this is America's History.  Your non-African-American Ancestor may have been an officer of these troops and the research tips provided might uncover your hidden veteran regardless of troop affiliation. Here is the course description. 
African American military service history began with Colonial America. Researchers must locate veteran records while also uncovering under-utilized holdings of military service collections. In addition to the Civil War, WWI and WWII, your African American ancestors may have served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Spanish American War, Philippine-America Insurrection, or the Indian Wars. Plus, women contributed in large numbers to the modern wars also.
Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com

In researching the military service of African Americans, what are unique factors that researchers must consider?

Through the different eras of America, the status and challenges have changed for African Americans in the military.  This forces the researcher to follow tailored strategies for ferreting out their African American veteran ancestor.   To determine if your African American ancestor served in the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812, we must take into account that free-coloreds, black indentured servants, and slaves served in the war.  Research may include following researching seamen records, slaveholder records to include deeds and minutes and  as other court records.  Court records may uncover manumission records due to military service or detailed court cases that hold freedom records.  African Americans who served as a substitute in these wars may have had a manumission clause in a court recorded agreement with their slaveholder.  Of course, the research to uncover your African American early war ancestor may include England and Canadian records also. 

Researching African Americans who served in the Civil War must include, federal and state records.  This research must not be restricted to your ancestor’s state of residency but also include neighboring states.  Researchers must understand and follow the role of the Underground Railroad and Freedmen’s colonies.  Often overlooked are the over 100 contraband Union camps for runaway slaves that existed in the South. Many of these slaves became veterans of the Civil War.  The records at the Provost Marshal Records at the regional National Archives are a treasure trove, as well as local newspaper clippings. 

Tracing your early war African American soldiers may be complicated by name changes, especially post Civil War. Reconstructing your veteran’s family unit to ensure tracing common names can also be challenging.  In genealogical research we always state “follow the money.”  For African American research this may begin scouring the Freedmen Bureau’s records, and including exhaustive research in county deeds and minutes. 

The biggest myth is to assume your present family name was that of a slaveholder.  The truth is many of our African American soldiers served under a name not associated with a slaveholder and after the war maintained that name or assumed an alias.  Of course DNA results, and strong genealogical research may assist in uncovering your military veteran.

America was not a safe place or a place of equality for African Americans whereas other countries or communities welcomed their contributions.  We find many of our Philippine War veterans, as well as WWI and WWII African American veterans settled in foreign countries where they served. Uncovering these ancestors may require expanding our research to include overseas documents, passports, ship and passenger records, and American consulate records.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Researching in the Lost State of Franklin, 1785 - 1788

8FranklinCounties.png (1340×1029)
Smithsonian
Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee
We tease in the a3Genealogy researchers world, that dealing with records between 1785 - 1791, those four - five dreadful years of indecision, independence and defeat, in the "lost state of Franklin" will lead you down a never-ending rabbit hole.  It was not until recently that I realized that we have never posted about this research conundrum that has few answers, but with a bit of digging, you may ferret out your State of Franklin ensconced ancestors. (In Spanish the word is literally "escondido" - hidden).

But, regardless of how you describe it, many researches just caste out this western North Carolina & eastern Tennessee regional area's research challenges as the "Appalachian" puzzlement." (Say that fast five times - "Appalachian puzzlement)." What researchers fail to realize is that due to the independence of what now would be considered an eight county region in northeastern Tennessee historically 1) was part of North Carolina 2) operated independently for four years, 1785 - 1788 as its own "quasi-state" which was presented but denied statehood by the Continental Congress.

If all would have gone well, our 14th state "would have been" the State of Franklin.

Yes, this denied state, the state of Franklin, never made it to realization, but operated independently for about 4 years.  And, its citizens, our ancestors, left a papertrail.  An unorganized, uncompiled, incomplete, illogically placed papertrail, but somewhat of a papertrail nonetheless.  So let's go hunting for our ancestors in the state of Franklin - let's say between 1785 - 1791 (see the First Family Papers below).

Where to Begin
1)  History.  The not-quite -formed State of Franklin must be understood.   Be sure to understand the issues, formations, and fall of what would have been the state of Franklin. Even though it was never ratified, it surely left our proud ancestors' paperwork.
2) Land Grants. Partial Census of 1787 to 1791 of Tennessee as taken from the North Carolina Land Grants is a great source for reconstructing a census, and the inhabitants.
  • Family Search digitized film #1728882, item 4, or 
    Family search digitized film #1683130 item 3.
3) Proven First Families.
Add caption
Sometimes, we just want to see our ancestors in the right place at the right time.  Just a glimpse of their whereabouts. If you are wishing to get an alphabetically compiled list of surnames for First Families of Franklin Ancestors (updated 1993) visit the a3Genealogy First Families of Franklin Ancestors page.  This list was provided by Tipton - Haynes State Historic Site.

4) County Records & Archives. Of course records were created in North Carolina, especially land records. The counties of Sullivan, and Washington  Tennessee, (originally in North Carolina) have scattered records, some digitized. Marriages, deeds, wills and other court records can still be located within the counties of Washington County and Sullivan County, now Tennessee. Be sure to scour the records of the eight counties as well as both states.

Tennessee Historical Society, TN. State Library & Archives
Well, we are currently straddling the New Year. We wanted to start with something old, yet new for many.  Keep digging and if you uncover your own State of Franklin lost ancestor, be sure to let us know (with proven docs of course).

Happy New Year 2020
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com

Friday, November 22, 2019

Chancery Court Records

Sally Grimes, daughter of Gabriel Winston
Why Do We Forget Chancery Court Records?
Chancery Court records can be brickwall busters. Yet they are often overlooked.  Case in point, trying to sort common surnames and their family units. Let's take "Johnson" in 1700 Virginia.  Using the Chancery Court records we were able to distinguish Silas Johnson's family unit of VA. We were also  able to prove kinship of his Johnson descendants who settled in Howard County, Missouri. All the children were named in grandpa's record since their dad had died. 

Kinships Named: Parents and Maiden Names
As family researchers and genealogists, one of our common brick-walls is a result of the lack of resources to confirm kinships. Familiar relationships, parents’ names,  maiden names are all needed to complete family units, but what happens when we’ve exhausted all the normal resources - census, wills/probates, deeds, vital records, church records…etc.? Well, hopefully the researcher has not overlooked Chancery Records when they are available.

What are Chancery Court Records?
Chancery Court records hold a wealth of genealogical information. Although not necessarily a part of every states’ historical legal system, when available it will behoove the researcher to take more than a cursory glance at these genealogical-rich documents. Researchers will find personal testimonies that include family relationships. In some states (i.e. Virginia, Tennessee, etc) chancery court records are available from the early 18th century through early 1900’s. In Virginia alone there are over 233,000 multi-paged cases. More on Virginia Chancery Courts can be found at this informative piece. 

What is "Next Friend?"
Of course the key to understanding any court record relies on period vocabulary. In the Chancery Court record of Sally Grimes of Hanover County, VA vs. Joseph Grimes, Sally’s father Gabriel Winston is identified as both “father” and “next friend.”

A "next friend" can be considered the person who represents and speaks on behalf of the plaintiff. The next friend may be a parent, a guardian, an older sibling , etc.  By no means should the researcher assume it is a parent or even a relationship. We have uncovered many next friends proven not to be of blood relation.  In many cases the next friend is identified, removing the tempting guessing game and solidly identifying kinships. This is most useful, when also looking for a maiden name.  

Unlike many states, Delaware's "Court of Chancery" has survived since 1792.  Of course its roles, jurisdictions and litigation realms have been consistently updated to meet the needs of the court to include corporate litigation. Visit Delaware Courts for a quick history of the English Origins of the "Court of Chancery." 

As the times have changed, so has the role of the Chancery Court. In current day Mississippi Chancery Courts are the repository for land records.  Researchers will also find divorces, guardianships and wills in the Mississippi Chancery Courts.

Other states like Missouri, may boast of early records of the Chancery Court.  For St. Louis MO. Chancery Court Records may be found as early as 1811 to about the Civil War.  These records can be found at the Missouri State Archives. Like other states, Missouri researchers may find other counties with salvaged Chancery Court Records.  

Be sure to check FamilySearch Wiki for your state / county. 
(Updated from Chancery Court Records for Genealogy Brickwalls posted 3 May 2016).

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com
accurate, accessible answers














Sunday, November 3, 2019

Researching War of 1812 Seamen

Impressed Seamen Records 1796-1868

After the revolutionary war, the British, under the motto “once a British subject, always a British subject”, took liberties on the sea and captured US flagged vessels.  The result: “Impressed” American mariners into British service, and of course, the War of 1812. For this reason, many will tell you the Revolutionary War did not end until the War of 1812. Yet, impressed seaman protection certificates were available to seaman until after the civil war. And actually they have been used at different times in U.S. history.

In order to track American sailors and their ships, a plethora of detailed paperwork and records were generated on merchant seamen.  These salvaged papers can be a treasure chest for the family historian. 

Quick Primer
A quick primer on the Seamen’s Protection Center can be found on the the Ancestry.com Learning Center. 

Search for Seamen's Protection Certificate Learning Center
As you can see in the photo above the seaman came from all states. The collection holds certificates for seamen between 11-77 years of age.  Above, John Finn, was 14 year old and was from Hermann, Mo.  He worked out of the Port of Philadelphia. So, don’t limit your research.

It is possible your seaman was captured and his original (or second or third) certificate was confiscated. So it is not uncommon to find several applications for one seaman. 

Begin Your Search
Ancestry.com has a digitized collection of U.S. Seamen’s Protection Certificates.  

African American Seamen
Historical Trivia
Question: What African American slave ran away with the assistance of a U.S. Seamen’s Protection Certificate.
Answer: Frederick Douglass who borrowed a Seamen’s Certificate to aid in his runaway. He was also donning a sailor suit. 
African Americans seamen were in abundance.  The records identify them as “black”, “negro”, “colored”, “sambo”, “ethiopian” and “mulatto”.  


Four Bonus Finds
 
1) Physical Descriptions. As you can see, physical description to include scars and marks are noted.  Statement of “native” hometown and stated is also noted.

2) Emancipation Information. In the above example of Samuel Ridley, an ex-slave, informs the intaker that he “was manumitted in the year 1792 by Stephen... Samuel’s application goes on to tell us that he had to serve nine years for a man (name given) in Philadelphia for his freedom. 

3) Naturalization Information. Of course to have protection of the United States, you had to prove citizenship as Bernard Tobin did below on his application. 
 
Do hereby declare that I am a Seaman and an affiliated Citizen of the United States, having been born in the Town of St. Johns Newfoundland and have declared my Intention of becoming a citizen of the United States in the Circuit Court holden in Philadelphia on the 27th of December 1856 a certificate whereof I herewith present . . .
4) Family Information. As in the example above all the certificates are sworn by a witness. This witness is often a family member.  Sometimes, we find wife’s or mother’s names on these applications.  

1930 Census, Merchant Seaman
Know that the War of 1812 is not the only time merchants were enumerated. In 1930 census Merchant Seamen were enumerated if serving on a US flagged vessel. There was a special Merchant Seamen schedule.  This schedule provided genealogical data and can be searched on the 1930 Census of Merchant Seamen on ancestry.com or with in the NARA (microfilm). View the  Family Search.org website for more information.

For More Information
Be sure to read the following articles:
National Archive Resources
  • M2025: Registers of Applications for the Release of Impressed Seamen (microfilm)
  • M1839: Miscellaneous Lists and Papers Regarding Impressed Seamen, 1796-1814  (microfilm) 
Kathleen Brandt
Website: a3genealogy.com
a3genealogy@gmail.com
Accurate, accessible answers



(Original post 1 Jun 2013)