Monday, August 26, 2013

Genealogy Research

a3Genealogy researchers are able to draw upon years of experience in family history and genealogical research. Our research extends pass the online searches and delves into Federal, State, and local repositories. Our goal is to perform an exhaustive search to meet your objective. To learn more about a3Genealogy Services visit our website. Know that we would never "farm out" your job.
Kathleen Brandt, Genealogist 

a3Genealogy Researchers and Clients
Our researchers and clients are worldwide. They span from the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Africa. Yes…we cover the world! We have been featured on the History Channel, the popular TV show Who Do You Think You Are (NBC and TLC), and have researched for additional shows (i.e. Finding Your Roots, PBS).  We have translators for most languages.

Our researchers are of the elite class of professional genealogists around the world. Each are qualified and meet the high-standards of a3Genealogy. Many began with a3Genealogy through our "Intern" and "Mentee" programs. 

 1.      Document Retrieval and Genealogy Lookups
a3Genealogy is a premier research firm. We provide lookups of film, fiche, books, and magazines at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City and the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, MO as well as Presidential Libraries and the National Archives (St. Louis and Washington, DC area) and regional archives.  For a full listing visit Document Retrieval.  As our specialized researchers are nationwide and in various international repositories, we also provide lookups in other archives

Our document retrieval specialists are professional researchers approved by a3Genealogy. All records are scanned and forwarded to you by email.  Request may be submitted by email to or at our Request and Estimate website

2.      Coaching Through Brickwalls (CTB)
More and more we find that many wish to research their own family history. And, at a3Genealogy we encourage that effort. Nothing is more exhilarating than finding your own ancestor in records, documents and collections! Our CTB program allows the researcher to hire a coach and expert in the area of your brickwall: naturalization, immigration, African American or Native American research and Veteran research or DNA analysis. You may secure services by day, month or longer period of time. For more information visit: Consulting .

3.      Military Research
a3Gen researchers work closely with archivists and historians at the National Archives (NARA) and military museums worldwide. We specialize in reconstructing veterans' files lost in the Fire of 1973. Our clients, though, turn to us not just for veteran and troop information, but for photos, ship manifests, videos and military technologies. For more information visit our Military Research page.

4.      Investigative Research
Are you looking for your WWII father and his American family? This is just one example of looking for living relatives ("reverse genealogy"). We will assists in connecting you with your living relatives. As forensic genealogist we also research and analysis data and documentation for cases with legal implications. a3Genealogy clients include attorneys, law offices, governmental agencies, corporations and individuals seeking dual citizenship. Kathleen Brandt is a Licensed Private Investigator, MO - #2012006814. Visit Forensic and Investigative Research.

5.  a3Gen Research Group
a3Genealogy  maintains an educational blog ( If you do not find your answer, just drop us an email. Your question will be answered either in a blog - so everyone can learn from it (no names used), or in a return email. This is a free service via our Research Group.  

More About Us
If you are looking for more information about a3Genealogy, here are some vital links:
Kathleen Brandt

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

Kathleen Brandt, Genealogist
a3Genealogy clients, fans and friends know that Kathleen Brandt has been a researcher for at least four of the Who Do You Think You Are? episodes: Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Ashley Judd, and most recently Chris O'Donnell on TLC (Aug 2013). She's quick to remind us that as you see on TV, there are several researchers and repositories involved. This episode featured one of her favorites: The Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center with Associate Archivist Dennis Northcott.

"I look forward to researching future episodes. Watching the final production is so rewarding."
Kathleen Brandt

Friday, August 23, 2013

Irish Family Research

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)  
Update: PRONI has gone digital

What Is PRONI?
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is one of the favored repositories for genealogy and family research for No. Ireland. (Of course the National Archives Of Ireland is another.)  But, what's interesting, is that although PRONI'S emphasis is in Northern. Ireland, you may find your Republic of Ireland or British ancestors hiding in these records.

Many historians already know of the civil "war" of 1922* (see comments) which resulted in a fire destroying historical records and archives held at Four Courts, Dublin.  Of course many vital records were lost.  However, with a bit of digging, researchers can recreate their ancestors past by substituting records and compiling other resources.  Even where the originals have been destroyed, indexes can give you a clue to your ancestor's whereabouts. 

Where To Start
At minimum feel free to conduct a name search using the online index.  The Name Search Index
includes ancestral names pulled from the following:
  • index to pre-1858 wills
  • limited diocesan will indexes
  • surviving fragments of the 1740 and the 1766 religious census returns
  • 1775 dissenters petitions
  • pre-1910 coroners' inquest papers
Lost Records and Their Substitutes
Few census returns from 1821 to 1851 survived the fire of 1922.  However, extracts from the 1841 and 1851 census are in the Old Age Pension books held at the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).  These archives can be used to prove  age (from baptisms).  The Old Age Pension was introduced in Ireland in 1908.

Under the auspices of "confidentiality," census returns between 1861-1891 were destroyed  in compliance with a Government order.  For more information visit Census Records 19th Century

Wills and Bonds 
The original pre-1858 original wills, administration bonds and marriage "licence" bonds were destroyed.  However, indexes survived, and can be used as viable reference tool.  There are over 15,500 entries in this index.  The researcher will also want to search the Privately Deposited Archives for copies of wills. 

Indexes to Diocesan administration bonds (admons)
For many researchers we would love to review the original diocesan administration bonds  which were some of the oldest records of interest for the genealogists. However, these original bonds dating between the 1600 and 1857, were destroyed.  Although not a direct substitute for the information that could have been extracted from originals, the salvaged indexes can be used a reference tool.
  • Dromore diocesan administration bonds, 1742 -1857
  • Armagh diocesan administration bonds, 1600 - 1858
  • Derry diocesan administration bonds, 1698/9 -1857
  • Down diocesan administration bonds, 1641-1857
Parish Records
The 1922 fire also was responsible for the destruction of 1,006 Church of Ireland parishes records. You will want to check the microfilm holdings at PRONI to research the preserved parish records.  Additional parish records can be found at the National Archives of Ireland. in Dublin.

Pre-1910 Coroners' Inquest Papers
In total, 5911 files and papers relating to Coroners’ Inquests, 1872-1909 can be searched using the Name Search.  Although these records, dated from 1872 to 1997, are held at PRONI, most of the recent inquest papers are closed to the public. Not every inquest record created by coroners are cataloged, (but they most likely exist), so it is suggested that you contact PRONI, if you have a negative name search result.  For more information  visit Coroners' Inquest Papers - What's Available? 

Other Records  
The following records are not held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but can be found in other repositories within Ireland and will assist with your efforts to piece-meal your ancestor's past:
  • Births, Death and Marriage Certificates (Civil Registration)
  • 1911 Census
  • Records of the British Armed Forces
  • Adoption records
  • Land Registers of Northern Ireland
For location of these records, visit Records Not Held in PRONI. 

*Note: The PRONI website uses the controversial term "civil disturbances" which was originally used in this blog posts.  However, after further research and reader communication we have chosen to use the more accurate term "civil war."  See comments for reader communication.   

Kathleen Brandt

Thursday, August 1, 2013

5 Tips to Proving Family Folklore

Historical Atlas Clay County Mo (circa 1865)
Land Records, Deeds, and Historical Maps

At a3Genealogy we often receive requests to verify Grandpa’s story that he lived next door to Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, a variety of Big Band Leaders or another famous or infamous figure. But the question is “What is the process to research - prove or disprove - these stories?”

Where to Begin
To verify these stories several resources must be consulted:

  1. Basic Genealogy Research.  Both your ancestor and that of the “celebrity” must have a multi-generational genealogical research conducted based on the timeframe of the celebrity’s life. Several recent cases proved the family of the celebrity lived in close proximity of Grandpa’s family. But, Grandpa was not yet born. Our suggestion is to first review the celebrity’s history, it has probably already been research “ad nauseum” (but check for accuracy).
    Translation: Often family stories are retold using the incorrect generation.
  2. Census Analysis. Your Basic Genealogy Research will produce several US Federal and/or State Census for the timeframe.  These must be analyzed with a keen eye. We suggest the analysis include several pages of an Enumeration District research.
    Translation: Researchers should be familiar with Census Instructions.
  3. Land Deeds and Tax Records. Whereas Census Records may place your ancestor in the correct District, an accurate picture of land/house location can be found in land deeds. The descriptions of land - metes/bounds or the easier to follow Public Land Survey System - allows the researcher to accurately define land location. This analysis covers not only census years, but those years between the census.
    Translation: The Census Record only gives us a snapshot of where your ancestor resided on the date of enumeration.
  4. Historical Atlas, Gazetteers and Plat Maps. Plat Maps and Genealogy Research go hand-in-hand. Using the land descriptions of deeds, the researchers can accurately pinpoint Grandpa’s proximity to the celebrity’s family.  Be sure to reference Town Gazetteers. But our favorite at a3Genealogy, are detailed County Historical Atlases often noting landowner names or indexed by ownership.
    Translation: Families want to know how close Grandpa lived to the Celebrity. So if not next door, then where?
  5. Wills and Probates. Researchers would think census records, land deeds, and the town plat maps would provide enough information, but really…it doesn’t. Land ownership not noted in these resources may be referenced in Wills. The best part is land inherited and mentioned in Wills is often (not always) specified by its legal description, allowing the researcher to once again accurately plot the land.
    Translation: Be sure to conduct a “reasonable exhaustive search.”

Many of the articles on the a3Gen blog are in response to client or fellow-researcher questions. Hoping this gets you started on the road to proving (or disproving) your family folklore.

Kathleen Brandt