Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Teamster

 What Was a Teamster? (Before 1907)
As early as the 1900 Federal census James Nelson Strader was a teamster. How could a man be a teamster in the 1880’s? This was one of my first genealogical questions on 1880 careers. And, the answer had nothing to do with Great-Grandpa James laying the groundwork for Jimmy Hoffa. He was just doing his job in a Lyons Kansas salt mine.

History of Teamsters
It’s not clear when or how the word teamster entered into the American language, but by 1819 it was a bona-a-fide profession. The Online Etymology Dictionary states a teamster is “a person who drives a team of horses, especially in hauling freight.” The origin comes from the word “team” (abt 177). It further explains that by 1907, horse teams were replaced by motor truck drivers.[1]

The teamsters were valuable in the operations of mining; just as much as the blacksmiths, wood cutters, diggers, and those who were involved with smelting.[2] To expand the etymology definition, the origin of the word is also associated with “teaming” oxen and mules for hauling their finds from mines.

African American Teamsters
Paying Negro Teamsters [3]
By 1861, during the Civil War, slaves were used as teamsters for the Confederates and ex-slaves for the Union. They chiefly transported salt, coal, and other needed resources.[4] Although often the blunt of jokes and comics, the pride of being paid for service was not lessened.  The involvement of the Negro Teamsters is best explained in the Harper Weekly article.[5]
HARPER'S WEEKLY.
[MARCH 7, 1863.
150
PAYING THE TEAMSTERS.
ON page 148 we reproduce an illustration by Mr. Waud, representing THE PAYMENT OF THE NEGRO TEAMSTERS. Mr. Waud writes: "In the Army of the Potomac there are probably from 8000 to 10,000 negroes employed as teamsters. This is a business they are well fitted for, and of course it relieves an equal number of white men for other duties. A teamster's life is a very hard one, particularly at this season of the year. It does not matter how much it storms, or how deep the mud, subsistence must be hauled to the camps, and day and night, toiling along with tired horses and mules, the creaking wagons are kept busy carrying to and fro commissary, quarter-master, and ordnance stores, in addition to keeping the camps supplied with fire-wood. White teamsters have $25 a month. Colored men are paid $20, an increase of $10 a month on 'Contrabands pay' previous to the proclamation of emancipation.
Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

[1] Online Etymology Dictionary; http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=teamster; accessed 24 May 2010
[2] Reports on the Geological Survey of the State of Missouri, Missouri. Geological Survey; Google Books, pg 679; online: http://books.google.com/books?id=lLgEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA679&sig=VZxdf0Y6ks5Ilib2eNQ0h-252Ok&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false; accessed 24 May 2010
[3] Paying Negro Teamsters; Civil War Harper’s Weekly, 7 Mar, 1863; online accessed 24 May 2010, http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/march/paying-teamsters.htm
[4] The History of the Civil War in America, John Stevens Cabot Abbott; Google Books; pg. 192; online http://books.google.com/books?id=jsALAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=slaves+as+teamsters&source=bl&ots=q2gcrgRNOF&sig=AcoANyFzrjHxDESkk3YxAwlI0SA&hl=en&ei=JFH7S7D_IZmOMveioKYB&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCsQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=slaves%20as%20teamsters&f=false; accessed 24 May 2010 
[5] Paying Negro Teamsters; Civil War Harper’s Weekly, 7 Mar, 1863; online accessed 24 May 2010, http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/march/paying-teamsters.htm


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Missouri Mormon War Papers

Lost Missouri Relatives

Missouri Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841
The Missouri Secretary of State (SOS) Mormon War Papers contain “the records gathered by the state in relation to the disturbances with the Mormons. Records include legislative material, letters to the governor, and witness accounts.”[1]

[The Prophet's Wife and Brother give statements on property stolen in the 1838 Mormon War], Emma Smith and Hyrum Smith. 
"under a Strong Guard in the Camp of the Mob. I there heard the Deft. Say unto (apostle) Lyman Wight, that he Deft. Had taken the Pltfs. Horse, Saddle, Bridle, &Martingales,&had sold them to Capt. Samuel Bogart. I immediately informed the Pltf. Who was under Guard & Convenient to me In about two days Pltf. With Witness & others were carried to Jackson County were kept there five or Six days, from there we were taken to Richmond Ray County, there kept about twenty Days, then carried to Liberty Clay County," and that in that time Bogart guarded them, and Hyrum saw him with his brother's possessions..."



The Missouri Old Settlers vs. the Mormons
In 1830 Joseph Smith of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (originally called the Church of Christ) sent missionaries to western Missouri to work with the  local Native Americans. It is said that Joseph Smith “designated western Missouri as the place where “Zion” would be “gathered” in anticipation of Christ’s second coming.”[2]  Thus, Missouri became the preferred settling place for the Mormons until around 1833, when they were attacked by the non-Mormon settlers, also called “Old Settlers.”

In 1836, the Missouri State Legislature made provisions for the Mormon settlers to occupy the northwest county of Caldwell separating the Mormons from the Old Settlers. However, newly arrived Mormon settlers over-populated the county, which led to further conflicts and the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri.

In 1838 the Missouri governor, Lilburn Boggs, gave the Mormon’s an ultimatum of leaving the state or being “exterminated."[3]  Later that year an organized Old Settler mob killed 18 Mormon men and boys.  This massacre gave reason for the Mormons to leave Missouri and to settle in Illinois.[4] 

Looking for Relatives?
Witnesses, names of Old Settler mobsters, victims, information on the Mormon paramilitary units and Old Settlers mobs, may be found in the Missouri Mormon Papers.

The state legislative investigation of the massacre and official discussions were documented and are held in the Mormon War Papers.  These papers also hold the criminal hearing of Joseph Smith and other church leaders for treason and other crimes. Images, text and online searches are available using Finding Aid 5.1 online.  

To perform an online surname search try the Search Mormon Records” (mid-page).

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

 
[1] Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841; Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/rg005-01.asp Online access 20 May, 2010
[2] This post is not an attempt to provide the history of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, or the Missouri Mormon War.  The purpose of this post is to accurately capture the online materials reported from the Secretary of State website: The Missouri Mormon War; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/rg005-01.asp Online access 20 May, 2010
[3] The Missouri Mormon War, Governor Boggs’ Extermination order, Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/miscMormonRecords.asp?rec=eo Online access 20 May, 2010
[4] The Missouri Mormon War; Office of Secretary of State, Record Group 5; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City; http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/mormon.asp, Online access 20 May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homes for Unwed and Troubled Women 1869 – 1950

Where Are the Records?

 Seattle Advertisement for Florence Crittenton Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Friday, May 14, 2010

Germans Emigrated to Russia?

Odessa German Russian Genealogical Library

Background
FamilySearch Wiki explains it best. There were four eras that provoked a mass exodus from Germany. Germans were searching for more acceptable conditions, and were escaping economic hardship, religious persecutions, crop failures, wars, military service, and high taxes.

By the 1760’s, the Russian czars offered the discontented Germans “free land, exemption from military service and taxation, an, to an extent, religious liberty.[1] Religious liberty wooed the Mennonites (1850’s), and with the assistance of several other waves of mass exodus, the population of Germans in Russia increased “to an estimated one hundred thousand” between 1763 and 1862.[2]

Many immigrants arriving in the United States from Europe were ethnic Germans who had immigrated to Russia in between 1765 and 1824 [3], and the Odessa German - Russian Genealogical Library assist the researcher in locating these ancestors’ records.

What Is Odessa?
The Odessa German-Russian Genealogical Library is a digital library that is dedicated to the search “of the millions of Germans who emigrated to Russia…now scattered throughout the world.”[4]

Along with an online search feature of the Odessa Library , there is a full complete library document index. The searchable database is placed in categories, i.e. church records/congregations, extracted obituaries, and even wonderful land records that are most useful, when searching for that German-Russian ancestor living in the USA.

Many US German immigrants took advantage of the open lands of the Midwest. And, the Land Records of Kansas, and the Dakota’s on the Odessa website provide detailed indexes of plat maps and extractions (KS) of the various popular German-Russian immigrant settlements.

Most researchers who have ancestors of German-Russian origins immigrating to the USA probably have already used Odessa German-Russian Genealogical Library. However, to highlight the benefits of this searchable website may assist those who are trying to find just a bit more on that beloved ancestor.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

[1] Oklahoma Historical Society’s Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture http://digital.library.okstate.edu/ENCYCLOPEDIA/entries/G/GE008.html; online access 11 May 2010
[2] ibid
[3] ibid
[4] About Odessa, http://www.odessa3.org/; online access 11 May 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bible Restoration


Before Pics

Bible Restoration is not a new concept.  Family bibles are passed down to the next generation every day, and with each pass, the bible becomes more and more fragile.  This Bible has been in our family for only four generations.  Although it held many loose papers regarding the family (death notices, WWI military papers, and a bible page from another bible of births/deaths) the Family Sheets included in this antiquated bible were not filled in.  This, however, did not lessen its value to the family, for it is still a treasured family heirloom.  For this reason, the two hundred plus dollars to restore it to its grandeur, was worth the price.


After Pics

What to Expect?
Family Bible Restoration includes page and binding reconstruction.  Reconditioning of the covers and spine, by using all original components, preserves authenticity. Although public libraries mend their books with a hot glue gun and book binding tape, they do not provide this as a service to the public. Their book repair techniques are more utilitarian than beautiful. Torn and brittle pages can also be restored and reintegrated in the book.

Timeframe
A 4-6 week turn around is normal. The process is slow, as the bible is restored one page at a time, giving each one special attention.

Cost?
$200- $400.  Because Victorian Bibles were so popular around the turn of the last century, they are generally not rare items and so do not usually hold significant intrinsic value. Nevertheless, owners of such family heirlooms understandably want to preserve these fascinating books for future generations.

Where to Go for Bible Restoration?
If you want your bible restored (vs. repaired) find a local book bindery that specializes in the restoration of old books.  This is not the time to go to a novice.  Be sure to see some of their work.

Good  Example of a Book Bindery - Engle Bindery
In Kansas City, I only work with Engle Bindery, a “quality custom hand bindery” founded in 1885 by Henry Engle, a German immigrant who did miracles with binding techniques. Engle learned his craft in Germany, and migrated to Reading PA.  He moved to Kansas City by 1883.  He and his six sons worked at the Bindery.  Son Charles worked at the Bindery until the age of 80 in 1954, passing the trade to the new owners Oscar and Esther Fuch and later to James and Frances Porter.  

One visit to this bindery and you will know that all the old techniques are still being implemented. Engle Bindery is a museum itself in the use and restoration of binding machinery.  This bindery has been at its present location, 322 SW Blvd,  since 1957.  The fourth owners John P and Betty L. Haynie expanded the production after 1981 to include automatic foil stamping, die cutting and embossing. The lower floor is used as a press room and the book binding operations are done on the 2nd floor.

How to Preserve Your Bible
·         Store the Bible where it isn't exposed to high heat or humidity (attic, basement, or garage are all bad areas).
·         Engle Bindery suggest you oil your bible once a month
·         You may wish to invest in a Bible Box http://www.amishtraditions.com/bible_box.htm

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WWI and The Morris Brothers

Where Were The Other Eleven?

David Crockett Morris 4 Mar 1891 - 6 Jul 1932
 The Morris Brothers and their Sons
The Morris brothers, Wiley (Tobe) and David George (D.G.), had 24 children between them. Tobe had 11 and DG had 13; all born between 1863 and 1899. Of these, there was a full dozen Morris males eligible to serve in one war or another. Eight met the age requirements stipulated to complete the WWI draft registration. Yet, the family only has one photo of a man in a uniform, and that is of David Crocket Morris, the eighth child, fifth son, of D. G. Morris.

DG's Offsprings
 
David Crocket was born 4 March 1891 in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, and was the son of Sarah Parks (Ratcliffe) and David George (DG) Morris. Like most of DG’s sons, he went off to Nevada to find his fortune right before the war, and while there he and brother DeWitt registered for the WWI draft in 1917. At home in Oklahoma in and around Nowata, the other brothers Crowder and Wiley also registered. De Witt was already reaching 40 by 1915, and eldest brothers Cleveland and Schuyler did not appear to ever register. [1] Brother WyJay died in a drowning accident in 1908. It is said that younger brother Crowder also served in WWI.[2] However, the only proven service-man of this generation is David Crocket, who is photographed donning his military uniform.  Note: Charles Roscoe, a grandson of DG also served in WWI.
 

Tobe’s Offsprings


Although Tobe had five sons, only one of these offsprings’ WWI draft registration has been located. Thomas, his fourth son, born 15 Dec 1873, registered for the draft at the age of 45 years old. His youngest son born in 1879 was eligble for the registration, but, as of yet, no record has been found.

Why Did Thomas Register? 

Quick Glance At WWI Draft Age Requirements [3]
During World War I there were three registrations. The first for men between the ages of 21 and 31, born between 1886 - 1896.  This draft began 5 June 1917.

The second draft registration began June 5, 1917.  It included men who reached the age of 21 after June 1917; born between 1896 - 1897. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918, for those who turned 21 years old after June 5, 1918).

The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for all men ages 18 through 45.  This included those born between 1873 - 1900.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

[1] Cleveland, born in 1868, may not have deemed it necessarily to register due to his advance age, as with Schuyler, whose draft registration was not found in Nevada, Kansas or Missouri.
[2] Crowder’s service information has not been researched.
[3] The WWI Age Draft Requirements: NARA website:World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, M1509;  online access 12 May, 2010; http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/military/ww1/draft-registration/

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Kansas Colored Troops

805 Pioneer Infantry A.E.F. 
Corporal George Strader
805th Pioneer Infantry A.E.F., Company D, Camp Funston, KS.
27 Sep 1894 KY - 28 March 1954 CO
Buried: Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver Colorado 
The Colored Troops of Camp Funston, KS were not unique -  they too were patriotic, and wanted to serve their country.  They too declared their allegiance to the United States, the only country they knew; they too were Americans.  But like the other Colored Troops in America, they were waging a battle of their own:  the victory over racism, so that they could serve as American soldiers. 
Nearly 400,000 Negro Soldiers served in the United States Army in the Great World War. About 367,710 of these came into the service through the operation of the Selective Draft Law... It is a matter of pride, however, to realize that at the instant of the declaration of war, there were nearly 20,000 soldiers of the Negro race in the United States, uniformed, armed, equipped, drilled, trained and ready to take the field against the foe. Proportionately to the total Negro population of America, this was a splendid showing.[1]
In spite of the fact that the “Negro” soldiers of many troops, like Company D, 805 Pioneer Infantry, were ready to be deployed at the beginning of the war, they had to wait for acceptance.

 Finally on the 5 of Oct 1917, it was official, the Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, was taking the Negro soldier’s interest seriously. 
"ADVISOR TO WAR DEPARTMENT"
"Secretary Newton D. Baker of the War Department announces that Emmett J. Scott, for eighteen years confidential secretary to the late Booker T. Washington, and at present secretary of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute for Negroes has been assigned to duty in the War Department as confidential advisor in matters affecting the interests of the 10,000,000 Negroes of the United States, and the part they are to play in connection with the present war."  5 Oct. 1917 [1]

Shortly after this appointment of Scott, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), 805 Pioneer Infantry was engaged. 
It didn’t matter that it was the end of the war, it was the pride of the war for the Pioneer Infantry 805 and their sister troops, Pioneer Infantry 806.
 

Although they were on railroad duty, this too was an important and needed job. But they too wished to see a bit of combat, before turning home - which they did. The 805 Infantry was transported from Kansas to Europe. There they saw action.


Cpl. George Strader accompanied Company D as they traveled from Ft. Riley Camp Funston 25 August 1918 to Kansas City where they boarded the Wabash train to Detroit. They were able to stop in Moberly, Mo. for a proper military send off by the “colored citizens” of the town. From Detroit, they took passage by ferry to Canada, stopping in Niagara Falls for a short visit before reporting to Camp Upton, Long Island, 30 August 1918. On Sept. 1, they were shuffled off to Montreal Canada where they were shipped to Camp Romsey in England. Having yet to arrive in France, they crossed the English Channel for France on 28 September. The 805th landed in France and served in Europe until July 1919.  They were engaged in 39 days of action.[2]

Kathleen Strader Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com
[1] The American Negro, The World War, by Emmett J. Scott, Chapter III; pg. 40 http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Scott/SCh03.htm; accessed 10 May 2010
[2] Victory – History of the 805th Pioneer Infantry American Expeditionary Forces” Major Paul S. Bliss, 1919; pgs 107-111

Monday, May 10, 2010

Adjutant General’s Papers

Hidden Military Records

After writing the posts entitled DD214 Substitute which gives the researcher the option of using Morning Reports to search for proof of military service or combat, I have been inundated with questions. Here is one repeated issue: my grandfather’s (great-grandfather) final payroll did not list the company name, and therefore I cannot use a morning report, any other options?

Well, it is true, you need a division/regimen and company name to obtain the correct Morning Reports, unless you have an infinite amount of time (and I mean infinite) to search. If not, we need another angle.

Adjutant General’s Papers
For one, hopefully, before attacking Morning Reports, you have already contacted your Adjutant General’s Office or State Historical Society (who may hold copies of the Adjutant General’s Papers, as does Missouri) for a copy of the veteran’s file. These papers usually include a copy of a veteran’s discharge records.

Who is the Adjutant General?
The Adjutant General, appointed by the state Governor (except for Vermont, Washington, D.C., and South Carolina) is the state’s senior military officer and “de facto” commander. His papers hold information on the National Guard and State Defense Forces, as well as the naval Militia.

Adjutant Generals were appointed as early as 1775.

What Can Be Found?
The Office of the Adjutant General not only assist in present day searches (i.e. DD214’s lost in the fire), but has a plethora of papers on the state Civil War information, state militia and more. I often refer to the Missouri Digital Heritage, Guide to Civil War Resources at the Missouri State Archives, Office of the Adjutant General. Here you can find Record Groups (RG) for the Civil War, Union and Conferederate Materials, Milita Claims, The US Colored Troops (USCT) and the Veterans Home Applications.

Where Do I Find These Papers?
Although not all states are as organized as Missouri, your Adjutant General still has a series of archived records for the researcher to access.

Be sure to search the State Archives or State Historical Records first for records up to WWII. The release for such records to become public is 62 years; therefore, the WWII records are now considered public (according to NARA).

In North Carolina, these records can be located at the North Carolina Sate Archives.

Much of the older Kansas records can be found in the Transactions for the Kansas State Historical Society, Volume 6. 

My State Archives Does Not Have Information
If you are looking for a replacement of a DD214 prior to WWII, and your State Archives or Historical Society does not have copies, you can solicit a copy from your Adjutant General’s Office directly. To obtain information from the Adjutant General Office directly, you will probably need a SF-180 form completed. . Be sure to send this request to your Sate Adjutant General’s Office, if your service record was destroyed in the St. Louis Fire of 1973.

Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Finding the Sentimental Stuff

One More Way to Answer the Questions

Sure we can all gather and find internet data, Ancestry.com records and stuff on our ancestors. But have you treaded on unchartered paths to find the roads, trials, and successes or misfortunes of your family? Or, is your genealogy research limited to dates. What is your ancestor’s story?

Going to conferences, regardless of your experiences and skill level puts you in the midst of those who have one more record type to search, one more way of looking at data, and one more avenue to find Mr. and Mrs. Allusive – the “missing one” -- one more way to piece your ancestor’s life story.

Sure we can find out if our ancestor owned land or rented, but was the community kind to paupers? Were the neighbors generous to the poor? Did the community reject paupers and exile them? Were they able to change their social class through opportunities or marriage? Were they protected by civil laws, or prejudiced under a common law practice? Were your ancestors advocates for the poor?

We can find out through DNA (if following the correct branch [1]) an associated African tribe, but where and when did your ancestors come to the States/colonies? Did they enter America before the Revolutionary War? Was your family emancipated before the civil war? Based on wills, court records, etc. can you ascertain the treatment of the slaves? Were they slaves on a plantation, or small farm? Did they pick cotton or work in tobacco fields? Were they allowed to worship? These are the answers we want to know. However, this story is skipped if you jump straight to the DNA results and not fill in the time gaps between importation and 1870.

The questions are endless, but the good news: so are the records. And right when you have given up on Mr. and Mrs. Allusive, a good genealogy conference workshop (local or national) will lead you to the “missing one” or one more way to piece your ancestor’s life story. Your ancestor deserves to be known, and you can tell his/her story."


Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com

[1] Following the African American Morris Family surname led us to Ireland/Wales/England.  No African or Native America.