Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tracking Runaways and Convicts

Virginia Immigrant Runaway
Mid-Atlantic State Immigrants - 1700's
Often when we think of runaway servants, we equate the historical events to slaves, especially in the south. We fail to recognize the many immigrants that were contracted to serve several years prior to gaining their complete “American” freedom. 

More than half of the immigrants that came to America in the 1700’s were assigned, contracted or bound to work for a fixed term of years. Many did not complete their work terms and instead fled from their contracts. Since many of these runaway servants, often convicts, owned both time and money, ads were placed in various newspapers for their capture.   Ads were placed in theall of the mid-Atlantic states to include Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

Runaways in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796, provided over 6000 runaway ads.  Copies of these advertisements are available on thanks to Farley Grubb’s 1992 publication of “Runaway Servants, Convicts and Apprentices.”

This collection may offer the family researcher the runaway’s origin, occupation, and physical features. Often a date of immigration is provided. 

Runaways in Virginia
Virginia historians easily spout that over 75% (3/4) of the white colonial immigrants arrived in bondage in the 1700’s. Wiki shares that these immigrants were French, German and Scots.  

The Colonial Williamsburg website offers an  index of the Virgina Gazetter 1736-1780.  Be sure to also “Explore Advertisements” on The Geography of Slavery in Virginia website.  . This project offers transcriptions and images of runaways.

Runaway Maryland Servants 1728-1775
As genealogists we rely on early news accounts of history, and The Dunlop’s Maryland Gazette, the Maryland Gazette and the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser do not disappoint. The C. Ashley and Beverly B. Ellefson Collection (MSA SC 5931) at the Maryland State Archives holds an index of Runaway Servants from 1728 -1775 by name.

According to the Collection Description, this 4 box compilation of index cards donated by scholars C. Ashley and Beverly B. Ellefson contains records of convicts imported to Maryland from England, 1716-1774, records of runaway servants, 1728-1775, and runaway convict servants, 1734-1775.

I have reprinted descriptions (or abstracts) from the Maryland State Archives website for each Box in the collection. Be sure to visit the indexed lists of the Inventory.
Box 1, ‘Imported Convicts” A-L and Box 2, “Imported Convicts” M-Z:

  • Records list convicts imported to Maryland from England, 1716-1774:
  • Lists or entries in the Baltimore County Record of Convicts, 1770-1774,
  • 1783 Kent County Bonds, Indentures, etc.;
  • Several volumes of the Provincial Court Land Records;
  • Frank F. White's list of imported convicts in the Maryland Historical Magazine, XLII, March 1948, pp. 57-59 (list at that time in Maryland Historical Society); 

Box 3, "Runaway Servants"
Index cards with records of runaway servants, 1728-1775 taken from advertisements in the Maryland Gazette, Dunlop’s Maryland Gazette, Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser.

Index cards with records and runaway convict servants, 1734-1775, taken from advertisements in Maryland Gazette, Dunlop’s Maryland Gazette, and Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser.

Enjoy Chasing Your Runaways!

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogy
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Obtain Italian Dual Citizenship

Reclaiming Ancestor's Italian Heritage 
For the past 4 years (2008-2012) a3Genealogy has assisted many clients in meeting the requirements to become Italian Citizens. So, we thought reprinting this useful guide will be helpful for you to obtain your dual citizenship.

The process is not for the faint of heart or for the impatient type.  We are finding that collating a complete paperwork package takes between 4-6 months. If your ancestor's surname was changed, or there are apparent errors on certified certificates expect a little longer. And remember, full proof of your genealogical lineage must be shown through the various documents. Once the paperwork is submitted and accepted by the consulate, then you wait.

As an Italian citizen you can secure an Italian Passport and live and work in any European Union (EU) country. You can take advantage of the free public health care and you can pass the citizenship to your children and take advantage of the Italian free education. These are just a few of the benefits of having a dual citizenship. If approved as an Italian citizen, your spouse and children (under eighteen) are also eligible for dual citizenship.

Documentation Needed
But to qualify for an Italian dual citizenship you need to do a lot of legwork to meet all the regulations in proving “jure sanguinis” (your birthright) through lineage to an Italian citizen who did not renounce their right to Italian citizenship. You will need to gather or hire a researcher to gather your materials. This is an overview of what is needed:
  • your direct line ancestor, grandfather, grandmother, great-grandfather, etc, emigrated after 1861 and was an Italian citizen..
  • your immigrant ancestor did not become an American citizen before his descendent (your direct line) was born. So if the lineage is from you, your father, and grandfather, your father would have been born prior to your grandfather’s USA naturalization date for you to be eligible.
  • Proof of naturalization date or proof that your immigrant ancestor never was naturalized.
  • Translated Birth certificates for you and your direct line to the immigrant ancestor and spouses as well as your children*
  • Translated Marriage certificates (into Italian) for all mentioned above
Eligibility Determination - From You to Italian Ancestor
Meeting the requirements of Items 1-3 (above) normally are the reasons an Italian descendent is determined ineligible. Therefore, the best thing to do is hire a genealogist that specializes in lineage research to verify these basic eligibility requirements prior to translating marriage and death certificates and searching for Italian birth certificates.

There are other ways to obtain Italian citizenship, but a3Genealogy only works with those obtaining it through “jure sanguinis.”

Buona giornata!

Kathleen Brandt

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Researching the Lives of Minnesota Slaves

Dred and Harriet Robinson Scott, MN Slaves
Slave Research
Elizabeth posted on LinkedIn that she was “tracing the slaves…brought to MN. She further explained: I’m trying to find where they came from prior to coming to MN and what happened to them after they left. A subsequent post gave us a bit more information: I'm investigating the slaves that were brought to the St. Cloud area in the 1850's and 1860's trying to find documentation of their lives before and after St. Cloud, MN.

Having an interest in upper northern slaves and slave-owners, I thought I’d offer a few main tips.

Learn the history
Follow the slave owners
Research Military Activity

Early Minnesota
As early as 1826 slaves were recorded in Minnesota, mostly around Ft. Snelling and frequently related to the fur-trade. Officers brought their slaves and often bound them to neighboring officers to complete special chores: fur industry and household chores. It is stated in Minnesota history, that few slaves were bought and sold.

Major Lawrence Taliaferro, an Indian Agent, was both a large slave-owner and he “rented” slaves prior to emancipating his lot that valued “between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars.” The most famous of his slaves was Harriet Robinson who married Dred Scott at Ft. Snelling. Dred Scott’s master, Dr. John Emerson, was the Ft. Snelling medical officer. Emerson later acquired Harriet Robinson also.
Slave Research Tips:
  • Check Minnesota State Archive for diaries/manuscripts
  • University Special Collections also include manuscripts and slave accounts
  • Analyze Census Records. Not all African Americans were slaves. 1849 Minnesota Territorial Census there were 40 free-African, mostly from seven families residing in St. Paul. In 1863 over 500 free colored arrived by steamboat from St Louis to St. Paul (May 1863).

Dred Scott Effect in St. Cloud
The Missouri Compromise and Northwest Ordinance, that prohibited slavery, were ignored especially after the Dred Scott decision in 1857. The Dred Scott case protected the slave owners even in non-slave states. Due to the Dred Scott decision, researchers tracing a slave’s life must also follow the master’s path.

St Cloud was an ideal vacationing spot for wealthy slave owners from the deep south or neighboring territories, like Missouri. It was common for these vacationers to carry along their slaves. In St. Cloud, there are a few famous stories but mostly told through the life of the Lowry family. Slaves are documented in St. Cloud as early as 1854.
Slave Research Tips: 

Underground Railroad
Contrary to the fact that Minnesota was considered an anti-abolitionist state, abolitionists still assisted slaves in running away to Canada. Many free-coloreds, also settled in nearby Canada (Blegen, pg. 237). Notices of fugitive slaves were often placed in newspapers and in accounts of abolitionists after the war.
Slave Research Tips:

Civil War
African Americans were often promised freedom or fought for freedom during the Civil War. In Minnesota, Ft. Snelling more than 100 black soldiers volunteered for the USCT.
Slave Research Tips:
  • Provost Marshall Records; NARA RG 110, be sure to check MO.
  • Civil War Pension Records
  • Research should be conducted for  USCT 18th, and USCT 68th regiments records holdings.
  • Also 1st Iowa African Infantry Regiment

For More Information and Slave Histories by Name
St. Cloud professor unearths history of slavery in Minnesota
"Minnesota: A History of the State", MPR News Theodore Christian Blegen
The Information Bureau
Slavery at Fort Snelling” Historic Fort Snelling

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers