Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saloons & Carrie Nation


Carrie Nation and Kiowa Kansas

There wasn’t much in Kiowa, Kansas, but in 1891 there was a notorious murder in a saloon where Cora Isabel Bennett found it necessary to murder her lover, William (Bill) Morris; and there was Carrie Nation.

Carrie Nation puts the 1891 murder into perspective in Chapter 6 of “The Use and Need of the Life of Carrie A. Nation" penned in 1906.
"There was a saloon keeper in Kiowa, named "Billy" Morris and living with him as his wife was a girl whose name was Cora Bennett. This poor girl had been living an irregular life, but was true to this man, who had promised her time after time to marry her, but was only deceiving her. She entered his bar room one day and told him he must fulfill his promise to her now, or she would kill him. He tried to laugh at her. She fired a shot and killed him on the spot; then the poor girl fell on his dead body screaming in a distracted manner."
Written by Carrie A. Nation
Although, Cora Bennett put Kiowa on the map, it is the destruction of Carrie Nation that the Kiowa people remembered. Kansas was the first prohibition state (1880) and Carrie Nation disapproved of how they were enforcing the law. Abandoning non-violence, Carrie Nation and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) preferred “hachetation” (as she called it) smashing bars and destroying the saloons.

Cora Bennett only served about six months as her verdict was guilty of fourth degree manslaughter, since clearly, the jurors decided, the murder was a crime of passion. But during these six months, Carrie Nation was the “Jail Evangelist” and befriended Cora in Medicine Lodge, KS, where she was serving her time.

"Go to Kiowa, and" (as in a vision and here my hands were lifted and cast down suddenly.) "I'll stand by you." I did not hear these words as other words; there was no voice, but they seemed to be spoken in my heart. I sprang from my bed as if electrified, and knew this was directions given me, for I understood that it was God's will for me to go to Kiowa to break, or smash the saloons."

It didn’t take long for Carrie to go to Kiowa as directed by God and assist using hachetation to close the saloons and force them to abide by the Prohibition laws of Kansas. With an unwelcome return to Medicine Lodge, she closed those saloons too while making her way across Kansas.

If your ancestor’s saloon went missing during Prohibition, check the whereabouts of Carrie Nation and the WCTU. A good story may be buried there.

Kathleen Brandt

Note: This story was revealed looking for my William Morris. It is not proven that this Wm. Morris is part of my family tree. But, the researching gave me a memorable story.

Integrating Schools in 1890

Using the Newspaper to Find the Impossible

(Jessica Gordon, left; Pearl Morris, right)

Perhaps you too will find that your ancestors were on the forefront of a grand movement. The Morris’, helped lead the way to Brown vs. Topeka (1954) more than sixty years before, in 1890, and almost three hundred miles further west, in Comanche County, Coldwater, Kansas. But in this case, the family did not seem to have opposition.


When the large group of “coloreds”, about fifty three arrived in Kansas in 1884 from Tennessee (Morris, Cox, Carson, and Weyms clans), they clearly were not opened to integrating the schools in Harper County, Anthony, KS. Much is written of the Morris’ and their extended family in the Anthony and Coldwater Kansas newspapers.

However, by 1890, and after the move from Anthony to Coldwater, they must have had a change of mind. At least little Pearl, who had perfect attendance reported in Dec. 1890 and Jessica, the daughter of Jennie (Morris) Gordon, were attending the newly built primary school with the white students.


Look, even if you think it is impossible.
Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Women Surname Search


Went To Cemetery for Help



In Cool Springs, Rutherford, NC there is a Wells Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery where Cain Gross and wife Mary were supposedly buried in Row 15, at least according to the 2001 index. Mary Morris and Cain Gross had two daughters, Ella and Mary L., last found in the 1880 census at the age of ten and twelve. How could the cemetery help me find the surnames of these daughters?

Cain Gross’ tombstone date agreed with the death records on file. But I had not found a Mary Gross with the correct dates in the records. So who was this Mary Gross buried six plots away from Cain? Who knows, but not my Mary Gross! There were several Mary’s in this large Gross family.

I had notes on all the graves in row 15 and surrounding rows when I went back to Rutherfordton Court House to look up information. Obsessed with the tombstone of Mary Gross, I began there.

From the marriage records, I whimsically took note of a Mary Gross who married a James Gudger. This couple had a child by the name of Edward who served in the military. His military record confirmed his mother as Mary Gudger and although he was born in Rutherford, at the time they were living in New York. Could this be a clue?


With large ledgers surrounding me, I began to search Mary Gudger. I only wish all searches were this easy! Luckily for me, Cain Gross had been a farmer and upon his death in 1896, left real estate to his wife and daughters. And in researching the 17th Feb. 1898 Register of Deeds, I was able to find the sale of this land. This document revealed the surnames of the daughters and confirmed that Mary Gudger, the wife of James, was of the former wife of Cain Gross.


Daughter Ella, mentioned as Jane Miller, (E.J on seal), was married to William Miller; and daughter Mary was married to Jacob Mills. It just so happened that Janie Miller was buried on Row 15 at the Wells Springs United Methodist Church Cemetery in 1924.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Friday, January 29, 2010

What is Genealogy?


Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories

http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/.


As a true believer that dates and surnames are not genealogy, (see dedication written below), I recommend Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories, seven part Preparation Sunday, (6 already posted). Dr. Bill gives you one aspect of writing your ancestor's story each week by providing tips, examples, and resources.



“Genealogy is more than cold dates and endless hours of research. It is more than who was born, who was married and who died. It is more than who a family was, and more than what they did or where they lived. Through the study of the names, dates, migrations, census information and DNA, the cold dates become milestones in the life of someone connected to us. The births of the past become as momentous as a birth today, the marriages, jobs, and setbacks as poignant. It is not only discovering a history but also uncovering a human journey. It allows for a grand perspective and realization that we will be the birth dates, marriage dates, and death dates of a future generation. We will be the nameless faces that stare from a faded picture. And so Genealogy becomes our future. By honoring our past we teach our children to honor theirs. When we honor the struggles and triumphs of our fathers and mothers, we honor the struggles of all families at all times in all places.”;
Written by: John Brandt, For Wiley J. Morris Family
June 2007

Edited by: Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Stice Family Bible Pages


Expanding Your Search



It’s rare when we find a family Bible. It’s even more uncommon to find the bible in the home of a “cousin unknown, or in a state far from the family homestead. But these are true treasures. I take time to analyze the printing, and texture of the ink or pen, to put a time frame on the document; and through handwriting analysis I might be able to determine if the information was recorded at the time of the event, or by the same person.

In searching for information on the Stice family who migrated from Rutherford, North Carolina, to Schuyler and Scotland County, Missouri, later spreading throughout the Midwest and as far west as California, I found a true treasure. One of the family Bibles. No where did the Northeastern quadrant appear in any of the genealogical documents I was searching; yet, through tracing distant cousins, and broadening my search, I found nine pages of the family Bible copied and stored at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEGHS) Library in Boston.

Although the pages were titled “Daniel Columbus Stice Bible,” and I wasn’t interested in this Daniel Columbus, or the other four to six men named Daniel Columbus Stice in this family, I thought it best I take a gander, just in case something could be revealed.


.
Fortunately, this was the key to some vital research. There were a few pages each on Marriages, Deaths and Births, noting many members of this extremely large family. It made all the connections and had the direct lineage information we were seeking.


A letter accompanied the nine pages thanking the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Dept., of the NEGHS for “being record keepers.” According to the letter, the Bible made its way from California to Oregon and back to California, prior to the copies being sent to Boston in 1995 for safe keeping and public access. Also with the letter, came three additional surnames of Stice women and their addresses. A great way to meet new cousins.


It’s impossible to know where these types of family treasures will appear, but by turning every available stone, that impossible paper with just the right family clue might be uncovered.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hickory Creek Cemetery


A Forgotten Cemetery, Nowata County


Buried in Hickory Creek Cemetery, Nowata County, Oklahoma
"SARAH A [Morris] wife of WILLIS COX BORN APR20, 1844 DIED AUG 2 7, 1894"
On top: Open bible "When we meet, God be with us till we meet again"

We often forget to search for the forgotten cemeteries, the assumption being that once we find an ancestor buried in one cemetery, we usually find a half dozen more close by. But the forgotten cemeteries give us so much more. Although the records are often long gone, thanks to our “Cemetery Walkers” many of these forgotten graves have been uncovered.

In Lenapah, Nowata County, Ok, part of the Indian Territory, there is the Hickory Creek Cemetery, located two miles north of Lenapah on 169 Hwy. To access it you have to go east on EW8 (easy to miss) and then turn south on the gravel road. The adorable church is on the west side of the gravel road and the cemetery is in remarkable condition for not really being maintained. But you must watch out for rattle snakes in the summer’s early mornings or dusk. For burial names and marker information go to http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~oknowata/HickoryCreekCem.html.

There is a story behind each marked and unmarked grave and there’s so much to gain from seeing who your ancestor is surrounded by, the nearby family names, the type of tombstone or marker, and any etchings. Be sure to record all that you can, preferably spreading your search (and notes) to two or three rows surrounding your ancestor. In the case of the Hickory Creek Cemetery records, there is even a column of information that might reveal who paid for the interment. All of this information provides wonderful clues to relationships, as well as financial standings.


Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Irish Royalty – Niall Noígiallach


"I Need to Be Connected To This Person"

For years I was asked to chase connections between a prospective client and a notable American-Indian. Chiefs, princesses, and princes were all game. Oh yeah, this includes all the clients insisting they were related to Crazy Horse or Geronimo. I realize that some of these stories were passed down from ancestors gone by. But, lately “Great-Grandpa the American Indian Chief” stories have become scarce. They have been replaced by the search for Royalty, Monarchy, or at minimum a castle-resident ancestor. It’s rare that these tall-tales were actually true, but how elated I am as a researcher when I actually find the connection, in this case, to Irish Monarchy. It wasn’t a bloody “mad” wild goose chase after all.

The best part of doing Monarch lineage genealogy is that it is usually better documented than the non-royal family lines. The worst part is having to tell a client that such a conclusion has not been proven, or the connection has not been made.

But recently, after hours of research, I actually did research for a descendant of the Niall Noígiallach (or Niall of the Nine Hostages) Monarch of Ireland. With the help of the Office of the Chief Herald at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, I was able to match history with genealogy. For more information on the Office of the Chief Herald: http://www.nli.ie/en/heraldry-introduction.aspx.

Niall Noígiallach (Niall Naígiallach, Niall Naoighiallach) supposedly one of the last pagan monarchs, reigned around 379AD and is the ancestor of the Daly, O’Dalaigh, O’Neils of Tyrome, and O’Donells of Tryconnel among others. From this High King, who had as many as fifteen sons, there were several kings of Meath, Ireland, Thomond and Connaught.

Following name spelling changes, wars, dynasty splits, and movements, and ending with the migration to America as early as 1665, the connection was made. Of course we must allow for a margin of error, as the history of Ireland is based on an oral one that was documented thousands of years after its occurrence. But, based on the annalists’ historical documents these families, including my client, is of Royalty!

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Penmanship and Consequences


Vertical vs. Slanted Writing (1890's)




At Parker Elementary, Ms. Norma demanded perfect posture for our penmanship session. Straight backs and solidly planted feet were needed to execute perfect circles for letters like a, b, d, e, and perfect starters for our h, k, and g letters. We would spend half of our penmanship time tracing the pre-written letters in our penmanship book, and then we would be rewarded with copying from the chalkboard, freehand no less, the lesson of the day. Each day Ms. Norma had painstakingly topped four or five evenly spaced horizontal lines on the chalkboard with vertical letters to be envied to state our daily "moral" lesson of life.

Each letter was to be accurately and deliberately vertical with consistent spaces and loops. Personally, I looked forward to penmanship, and would proudly flaunt my lined papers of gobbly-goop letters in front of my brothers. My favorite was the flair that capital letters demanded, announcing their kingdom on the paper. But, what I didn’t know is that my ancestors probably had not learned this vertical style of writing.

Vertical writing was introduced in America in the 1890’s. It was already being practiced in Australia, Germany, England, and other progressive European countries. But it wasn’t’ even tried in Kansas until around 1895 after the New York schools had given the new chirography a three year trial with great results on the improvement of reducing “spinal curvature and shortsightedness among school children.”(1)


This revolutionary style of writing replaced the 52% “slanted" or “sloping” style, often considered an unhygenic style of writing. This unhygenic style of writing is often seen on older genealogical documents. Due to the impossible posture needed to execute perfectly slanted letters, the person sacrificed comfort giving way to a twisted head and neck while sitting sideways to the desk causing curvature of the spine and adjusting one eye to be the same distance from the letters as to reproduce parallel lines for writing, causing near-sightedness. This style shortens “the sight of one eye and lengthen the other”(2) which accounted for the increase of glasses needed by many school-age children. This ignited the fuel that encouraged scientific studies worldwide to seek answers . Since the position needed to execute well formed slanted letters was both uncomfortable and unnatural, illegible letters were produced by the less conscientious writer. And even with the accomplished, the slant chirography was harder to read than the vertical and slower to execute.

Perhaps this explains why those old documents are so difficult to read.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com




(1) New York Times; March 11, 1894 http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=3&res=990DE5DF1630E033A25752C1A9659C94659ED7CF
(2) Popular Science Monthly; William Jay Youmans; D. Appleton and Company, 1894
http://books.google.com/books?id=2SEDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=%22vertical+handwriting%22&source=bl&ots=Fc9qh1ZBwF&sig=qetdnK2yeMT6ulNWaJNsh5EiX40&hl=en&ei=L-5bS-_mM46OswO6x7icAg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CA4Q6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=%22vertical%20handwriting%22&f=false

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ex-Slave Alias

Civil War Surname Changes for Slaves

 Sherri, a genealogist and friend from Topeka, inspired me today to repost this. One of her African American ancestors, who lived during the civil war era, has a military headstone but yet no records have been located to support his military participation.

Now there are many reasons for this, and it is impossible to list or address all of them.  But three of the top ones are listed below:
  • The headstone was placed in error, or by descendants based on family stories. This is a common.   Even in Lyons Kansas my grandfather has a permanent WWI placard placed on his "resting place." Yet, he didn't serve one day in the military due to a physical deformity. 
  • Records are harder to obtain for African American soldiers who served with Confederate troops, and for ex-slaves prior to the Civil War. But might I add, not impossible.
  • Many African Americans served under alias names (or changed their names) after serving, making tracing them more difficult. 
During the Civil War
Alias surnames and new given names were actually adopted, especially for slaves during the Civil War.  The common belief is that the "surname" of slaves changed with new slave masters, but this actually should be taken as a possibility, but not a rule.  During the Civil War, slaves were often substituted to serve for their master or an arrangement was made for them to serve for another.  This was common practice for southerners to meet a requirement of military service and they could do it with as little as the promise of freedom upon return.  If an agreement was made by the slave-master to "rent" out a slave to do military service for another often the slave used the surname for whom they were fighting during their military service of the Civil War. Sometimes, this was a temporary name change.  As in the case of Nelson Strader, discussed below, many returned to their former master's name after the war. This was all possible because after the Civil War ex-slaves could choose whatever name they wanted.  

After the Civil War
Willis Mills became Willis Cox, Nelson Mason became Nelson Strader and Minor Wair (Weir) became Minor Underwood. What do they all have in common? They were ex-slaves. And, besides legal marriages, legitimacy of children, and access to land titles, after the Civil War ex-slaves were allowed to choose their own surnames.

It is thought that slaves held on to their slave master names, but actually only about fifteen percent did so. The others chose surnames of a previous slave master or the surname of a famous person. Often slave children separated from their parents may have, after emancipation, taken the surname of a parent’s master, as did Wills (Mills) Cox.

(Written in lead: "...I used to belong to Mills as a slave and after I was discharged my father belong to Cox. I drop the name of Mills and taken Cox after my father name. I use Mills only in pension affairs because Mills is on the record and Cox is now my Citizen name...")

Even other’s were purchased for the purpose to fight in the Civil War and were promised freedom after their service. Many of them adopted the surname of their emancipator, or as did Nelson (Mason) Strader who returned to the surname of his former master upon completion of his Civil War duties.
Nelson Strader fought for Mr. Mason, arranged by his master. (last para: "I was never married to the soldier only by slavery custom. I belonged to Fielding Vaughn of Green Co. Ky and my husband Nelson Strader belonged to Lewis Strader also of Gren Co. Ky. Both of our masters are now dead.")

And, others just chose a surname that they liked, as did Minor (Wair/Weir) Underwood. Minor was purchased by William Weir to take fight in his stead, and upon completion of the agreement and the end of the civil war, he embraced the name Underwood once he arrived in Kansas with the Exodusters. His original slave master was not Underwood, nor was he ever owned by an Underwood.

The details of an ex-slave's name change are most often found in Civil War pension records.


Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Friday, January 22, 2010

Central Plains National Archives


The Exhibits


We all know that the regional National Archives are of general interest to genealogy researchers, but many overlook the exhibits. Yesterday, I took the time to tour the fairly new Central Plains National Archives in Kansas City and found it to be far beyond my expectations.

Of course I had guessed that the researching stations at its new location west of Union Station would have updated technology, personally I miss the rows of old microfilm readers and head high drawers filled with films replaced by Footnote.com and Ancestry.com and the others. However, it was nice to see the updated computer and research rooms and the bookstore stocked with local interest, even KC barbeque sauce. The new facility is also geared for more family interests, with the souvenir rubbings of famous signatures that any interested historian might wish to have, the “Hands On History” activities, and the interactive distant learning center set up for those “I don’t live close to Kansas City” classrooms. But the best parts, for me, were the exhibits.

You can go online to view information on the exhibits, http://www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city/public/exhibits/, but it is hard to capture in a paragraph or two how engaging the current one “It’s Big” actually is. I spent about ninety minutes, with most of that time in the basement (which it should be showcased in a more prestigious floor or the renamed the 1st floor) allowing the exhibits give life to history.

From my experience, and I actually live here, I have to recommend that any genealogist or historian looking for information on the central and northern plains take the time to visit the “basement” of this facility. The “It’s Big” exhibit and the Kansas – Nebraska Act, http://www.archives.gov/central-plains/kansas-city/public/exhibits/its-big.html, is on display just a few more days, but it enjoyably fills in the history of the plains through its documents and photographs.

Although beginning February 9th there will be an exhibit that will interest those who love historical maps, "Mapping Missouri,” I’m looking forward to the next exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” that will run from March 16 – June 10.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

WWII Newsreels


Die Deutsche Wochenschau

I hit the jack pot when I decided to dig into the NARA Motion Picture, Sound and Video Reference collections. This all came very handy for a customer needing documentation for a WWII movie in the making. There’s little more aggravating than watching a non-fiction film, with poor facts.

I was informed real footage for this project was preferred. And, with a bit of hunting - VOILA!- I located ninety-one newsreels within the NARA Motion Picture, Sound and Video collections.

Die Deutsche Wochenschau - The German Newsreel - was a series of newsreels from 1940 to the end of WWII. This same footage was used as the source of many Nazi propaganda films and WWII documentaries. Narrowing the search to the Die Deutsche Wochenschau collection probably would have sufficed, but included were newsreels produced by UFA Ton Woche and UFA Schmalfilm Magazin.

After narrowing my choices and cross referencing the three producers of newsreels using the National Archives Catalog, I was able to print out shot-lists of each newsreel, referenced by NARA newsreel number, producer and location id.


DIE DEUTSCHE WOCHENSCHAU, 1941 ARC Identifier 100393 / Local Identifier ROPE-ROPE-361 Item from Collection ROPE: William F. Rope Collection, 1936 - 1949 reel 2 only; NEWSREEL: Includes one-minute theatrical trailer at end, warning against loose talk which divulges information to the enemy. NEWSREEL: (1) German recruits build bridges in France(?). (2) Germans demolish memorial dedicated to Marshall Foch and the German surrender in 1918. (3) Shows Paris' Renault and Citroen auto and truck factories. (4) German soldiers repair autos, wash clothes and repair shoes; others relax at seashore and eat at French restaurants. (5) German biplane rescues a downed pilot in the North Sea. (6) German destroyer patrols along the White Cliffs of Dover; sunken ships. (7) Italian sub-marine crew salutes passing German vessel in German port. (8) German bombers attack British coastal shipping. (9) Italian fleet on maneuvers in the Mediterranean.

Although many of the newsreels were missing header (and or trailers) which meant the original newsreel number was not available, I was still able to provide a shots list using dates or contents.

Here is a link of one of the films of January 18, 1945. It helps if you speak German, but you will get the idea. For this reason the shot-lists were in English.
Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hutchinson, KS, 1946



Hutchinson
Diamond Pow Wow

Photo: 1946, Hutchinson Diamond Pow Wow. William Arthur White (Arthur), mulatto, born 23 September 1890 in Trenton, Missouri, died 15 May, 1973 in Hutchinson, KS. Hopefully this was just a git-up, especially the gun, since Arthur was blind in his right eye.


The seventy-fifth anniversary of Hutchinson, KS celebrated its founding with the “Diamond Pow Wow.” This four day celebration was held May 15 - 18,1946, and featured street entertainment, parades, and a historical pageant. Three pages of pictures were taken and featured in the June 17 issue of Life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Forgotten Lineage Societies

Society of the Charlemagne Ancestry, Society of the Magna Carta Ancestry, Society of Royal Bastard Ancestry, and National Societies of Royal and Noble Ancestry


We all know probably one or two members of an American Revolutionary War society, but what about the other lineage groups and societies like the Society of the Charlemagne Ancestry, the Society of the Magna Carta Ancestry, the Society of Royal Bastard Ancestry, or the National Societies of Royal and Noble Ancestry? It may not be fair to say they are “Forgotten Lineage Societies,” but they aren’t as often the goal for even possible descendants. Perhaps it is because, for lineage society membership, you have to trace back forty or so generations to reach royalty like Charlemagne in around 742. Using some of the available databases of these lineage societies, you may be able to shorten your trace by matching surnames.

I find royal descent research to be fascinating. It is said that more than half of the Presidents of the United States (or their wives) can be traced to being of royal descent, as did many colonists from Virginia and Massachusetts.

For a recent project dealing with the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, I had to brush up on “Charles the Great,” and his many name references. Here is a great brief on this emperor: http://www.charlemagne.org/krslch.html. He was quite popular with our American ancestry.

I found the Society of Royal Bastard Ancestry as comedic, as it is one big oxymoron. But, true enough there is such a society and proud descendants of illegitimate English royalty are members. Why not? It is about the bloodline.

And, who wouldn’t want to trace their ancestry to 1215? This was the year that 25 barons witnessed King John “set” his seal on the Magna Carta. Of the twenty-five barons, seventeen have descendants.

If you are almost there, maybe stuck on generations thirty- five or so, you may wish to contact the society; they may be able to assist you in connecting those final dots. Otherwise, there are genealogists who specialize in Royal connections for lineage society memberships.

Happy Royalty Researching!


Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finding Ancestors Through Newspaper Articles


"Colored Man Held to Answer
"
The article was only one sentence:


“As an aftermath of the recent melee which took place in the Dunbar club, a society of colored men of Tonopah, Dewitt Morris was bound over under $5000 bonds to appear begore [sic] the grand jury on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, it being alleged that he shot his brother, Schuyler Morris, in the leg during the heat of excitement.” Nevada State Journal, Reno, 11/12/1915


Key Words
Before we ever get to the reason Dewitt was so excited he shot his brother, this one sentence article needs to be dissected. To put it briefly, this sentence gives us a peek at Tonapah and its “colored” community in 1915. Let’s not make the mistake of stereotyping or over generalizing, but there is a ton of researchable topics in this one sentence. Let’s just review some of the key words:
  1. There was a melee, which indicates there might have been an opposing side to the “society” or they were attacking one another.
  2. There was a Dunbar Club. Who owned it? Who frequented it? Was it the known meeting place for “melees.”
  3. There was a “society of colored men of Tonopah.” Was membership based on social standing? Were they recognized by the community and periodically mentioned in the paper?
  4. Tonopah in 1915 must have had a way of sustaining “social clubs.” What industry or resources were in the area? Was this common behavior for Tonopah’s citizens?

"Colored" Men of Tonopah



Melee Madness
The melee madness was summarized in an 118 page court document. Dewitt (Dee) Morris owned the Pullman Saloon (with a piano player) and he also owned other rental property. The shooting occurred at the open house “masquerade ball” of a new rival “joint” called the Dunbar Literary Club where supposedly the U.S. State Senator was going to attend. Membership was .50¢ per month. Fighting began over a blackjack misdeal, at the masquerade ball, and there was excessive drinking. The newspaper heading was misleading, since the court order was due to Dee hitting another fellow over the head with the gun resulting in its accidental discharge. Schuyler was shot, but was expected to recover.

Dee’s obituary in 1944 fills in a bit more. Tonopah was a “silver ore” town when he arrived as a “pioneer Negro resident.” He belonged to the Masonic lodge and owned another saloon in Tonopah at the time of his death.

The Rest of the Story
Discovering some of this background information, or as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story,” helps us to unravel the social environment of Tonopah in 1915 by giving us a glimpse of the lifestyle of some of the people. This allows the researcher to write not just events, but also circumstances, giving life to our ancestor’s stories. There’s so much more to learn about Tonopah and the life of Dewitt, and by investigating keywords on each document, the researcher can create a clearer picture.

Why not give life to your ancestor’s stories?

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Female Ancestors - A Different Perspective

The Women of Yesteryear
Not all young women in the 1830’s were stoking stoves, washing diapers, and canning. Some were being educated.

We often forget the depth of the women’s contribution to history. We assume the woman just jumped into marriage somewhere between the ten year census records. “In 1860, they were living with parents, in 1870, they were married with 2 children.”

But if your woman ancestor was from an advantaged family know that it is possible she spent a year or two studying English grammar, moral philosophy, algebra and celestial geography at any one of the women’s institutions or academies, like that of Columbia Female Academy. She may have even studied for four years.

All are familiar with the east-coast prestigious women’s institution, but what about the Midwest. All were not being groomed for farm work. Columbia Female Academy was established in 1833 with a class of 25 women in Columbia, Missouri. And, it quickly became known for its progressive teachings with a curriculum for women. Although it began as a basic academy it later became the Columbia Female Baptist Academy, a college for women. Women traveled to the school from miles away, having their own train stop by 1855. With several name changes to follow, the school was named Stephens College in 1870.
The institution has, since 1833, provided women with extraordinary opportunities. Perhaps your female ancestor was an accomplished horsewoman. Did she attend Stephens’ equestrian program that was established in 1926. If you remember your grandmother telling you she attended college at 16 years old to finish her high schooling. It is possible, if she attended Stephens College’s four year junior college program that was implemented in 1926. If you heard Grandma was a pilot, it too is possible if she attended Stephens College’s aviation program in the mid 1940’s.

Although, we dismiss these seemingly family tall-tales, they may be worth looking into. Who would believe this fascinating college was located in a small frontier town that had “nine stores, two taverns, four grogshops and one Presbyterian meeting house.”

Oh…us mid-westerns aren’t as backward as people want to believe. And, yes, I attended Stephens College. But knowledge of women schools have led me to finding allusive female ancestors eloping with education.

Hope you remember to dig between the census years to find out what the women were doing.

Kathleen Brandt

a3genealogy@gmail.com

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Immigrant Name Change - Swedish Samuelsson



Samuelsson in Sweden
Tinberg in America


It isn’t uncommon for an ancestor to Americanize his name once he hits the American shores. But for August Samuel (Samuelsson) Tinberg, his surname was not Americanized, it was changed.

What was known is that August Tinberg, also known as Gust or Gust, lived in Kansas with his wife Augusta and twelve children. The local news paper obituary in 1966 gave us most of our historical data of Gus. It revealed that he was born in Borae [sic] Sweden 98 years prior, around1868; and, that he first came to Chicago before moving to the Bonner Springs, Kansas area in 1894.
A quick check of local documents, verified some of the information. His 1895 Missouri Marriage license had his name recorded as Gust Tinberg; and, his Declaration of Intention Records to become an American Citizen in 1920 provided his birth date as being the 5 March 1868. However, his birthplace is noted as Gottenberg Sweden. A quick check of immigration records gave us more data. His Petition for Naturalization in 1922 stated his name as August Samuel Tinberg, born in Fristad Sweden, and noted that he emigrated from Gottenberg Sweden in 1891. His port of entry was consistently New York, “on or about 1st day of May.” Unfortunately, the vessel, Majestic, did not have port records for the dates given on the Declaration papers, which was complicated by the fact his Naturalization papers, one year later, stated that he did not know the vessel. So, ship records were not verified for August Tinberg.

With this information in hand, I used Genline, the Swedish Genealogy online database to find August Tinberg. If you haven’t used these records before, know that they are a blessing to all Swedish Researchers. Swedish records efficiently track the births and whereabouts of every citizen. Plus, it is easy to search these records by birth date.

After failed attempts to find any Tinberg’s in Sweden. I changed my research to concentrate on other matches: I needed to find an August, hopefully August Samuel, born on 5 March, 1868, who came to America in 1891. I started my search with birth records in the county of Älvsborg, since it includes both Böras and Fristad parishes.
There was an August, born to a Samuel, on 5 March 1868 in Fristad. However, his last name was Samuelsson. Following this family led me to their movement around Sweden, the death of his father, and August’s eventual move to Böras. The surname Tinberg did not have any association with his profession, his father’s profession or the area on any record.

By his third year in Böras, this August Samuelsson landed in the parish of Kilsund from 1890-1891. On the Kilsund record I spotted the small note on line 24 of the Household Examination of Kilsund next to his name as, in fact, having migrated to “N. “Amerika” in 1891.
My August was verified by his birth date, his birthplace, as stated in his Naturalization papers, and his immigration year to America, even though why and when he changed his surname to Tinberg is not known. Ship records of August could not be verified, even with the name Samuelsson (or Samuelson), and no records for him have been found in Chicago. We only know somewhere in the four years between 1891 when he left Sweden and 1894 when he began working in Kansas his surname was changed.

Although more research to solve this mystery is needed, at least I have verified the surname needed to complete the search.

Hopefully you will have the experience of finding your missing ancestor.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Friday, January 15, 2010

Irish Genealogy Site

Research Your Irish Ancestry Online using "Irish Genealogy" Website

The Irish Genealogy Site is chocked full of helpful guides and search options. You’ve probably have already heard that “You can view over 1.3 million pre-1900 church records [Baptism, Marriage and Death] from Duplin and Kerry free of charge.” And, by using the “Irish Genealogy” site, http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/index.html, you can make educated traveling arrangements and be fully prepared to research in Ireland.

Irish Genealogy allows you to search by person, location or date. A “Step by Step Guide” gives the researcher a quick reminder to “work back through the generations” hopefully preventing you from putting a stranger on your tree.

This site is quite generous with links and overviews of available records. It even gives the researcher a brief history of documentation survival and the location to the various records: Quakers, Jewish, etc. church records, the Registry of Deeds, and Irish census returns. Most of the Irish census returns were lost for the 19th century, but the link to the national archives is provided for the 1901 and 1911 census returns.

It would behoove any Ireland researcher to be familiar with the Valuation Office and (Sir Richard) Griffith’s Valuation which was used for assessing taxes to support the poor. As the census records were destroyed, these records can be used as a substitute. Through it the researcher can locate the presence of surnames (by townlands) throughout Ireland. I believe this is an essential step when beginning a new Irish surname. Of course these surveys are only available between 1848 and 1864, but you will find them most useful.

For researching online, the site provides links to valuable “Irish genealogical websites.” In checking the repositories mentioned, I was not able to connect to the National Photographic Archive, but this was not a deterrent for me, as I did not need access to it on my current project. All of the other links worked without fail.

The C.S.I. tab - Central Signposting Index (not Crime Scene Investigation) - is designed to easily assist the genealogist in tracing that “elusive Irish ancestor.” I found it fascinating that the site further gives a breakdown of the records by type for ten locations.

Even if you are not going to Ireland any time soon, be sure to go to the “Planning your Trip” tab to obtain the “Tracing your Ancestors in Ireland” poster. I have this poster readily available anytime I’m doing Irish research. On the 2nd page (or back), “The Major Records Repositories in Ireland” and “County Genealogical Centres” can be seen in a glance. This one poster has a listing of Useful Irish Addresses,” as well as Tourism Ireland addresses in the USA, Britain, Canada, and Australia. Unfortunately, I have not been able to utilize the tourist side lately.

And as a true believer of historical education, and social and cultural knowledge, I encourage all Irish researchers to stock your personal libraries with a few of the books mentioned. They are provided on the quick-glance poster or under “Getting Further Help” on the Site Map.


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Happy Hunting. I’m sure you will find this site to be helpful in your Irish research.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com



Young Genealogists


What I have noticed is that genealogists are starting at a young age. Yes, younger! Just Monday I was working with a die-hard 17 year old. His mother, not interested at all in the family tree, dropped him off at the Mid-Continent Genealogy Library in Kansas City where I volunteer for a good four hours or so, in order for him to research not only his family tree, but the family tree of a friend. Unfortunately, he was terribly stumped and had not gone really past the 1900’s with this friend’s ancestors, even though he was able to go back to the 1700’s on his own.

“The 1900’s?, you ask.”
“Yes actually 1910.”

My next 2 hours working with the young high school student did not consist of the ins and outs of Ancestry.com, or how to use a mouse, but on history. Although the fellow had successfully traced his European descendent family from the 1700’s (through census, military, marriage, birth records), he didn’t realize that volunteering for his African-American friend would require a lot more detective work, and a grave knowledge of history, culture, and social practices.

Our conversations were a series of me giving history, social and cultural lessons, and him acknowledging the information with a “WOW!” or “That’s sad!” I also received quite a few “Really(s)?”

Well, two hours later, he had a lot of knowledge, very little additional information, and he realized that he would have to do some serious digging, and cross-referencing especially to locate maiden names.

I left him with a few valuable tips for seeking African American Heritage, a couple easy to read books on African American history both Pre- and Post Civil War, a list of possible records to search to verify maiden names, and a pat on the back for good luck.

He looked a little overwhelmed, especially when I mentioned microfiche and microfilm, so I started him with my favorite historical fiction book that shares light on the climate, the fears, and lives of a slave from a young man’s point of view. You have probably heard by now about “Elijah of Buxton," by Christopher Paul Curtis, based on the true story of Elijah the first born free child of Buxton, Canada; a real town established for runaways.

It’s a book of hope, which may give this young genealogist not only the inspiration that he needs to take on such a Herculean task as to research an African American family, but broaden his knowledge of one of America’s most intriguing periods.


Genealogists ________ through genealogy!
a) grow
b) become smarter
c) share
d) are more aware
e) all of the above.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com