Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Connected by Letters- Wiley, David and Sarah Morris

From Kansas to California
Sometimes it's just fun to find old letters that piece together the family photos, the family bible, death certificates, and obituaries.  We know that Wiley J, 1807 and Louisa Morris, 1817 had five children. Three of these offsprings, Wiley (Tobe) 1838, sister Adelade (married Willis Cox), and youngest brother David Morris, 1850 settled in Kansas. One son of Tobe's and many of David's offsprings to include his daughters Addie, Hoolie, April and Lou [Louise] went to California. But this railroad family (many of the husbands worked the railroad), travelled between Kansas and California to visit first cousins. They also wrote, confirming their close-knit family and relations.  Today cousins from these three Morris branches still celebrate in the Wiley J. Morris Reunion.  For 2015, it will be held in Omaha, Nebraska.

The following two 1954 letters are between all 3 cousin "groups" with the following mentions:
         Pearl (Morris) Simpson, daughter of Tobe, nicknamed "Duck"
         Jessie (Jess), Granddaughter of Wiley (Tobe) Morris
         Addie Belle Tucker, daughter of David, nicknamed "Sister"
         Hoolie (looks like Ollie), daughter of David
         Louise, daughter of David, seamstress in CA. (Often called "Big Sister")
         Cleave, son of David, lived in Kansas but visited California
Sarah Adelade
         Myrtle and Pauline, granddaughter of Sarah Adelade (Morris) Cox
         Mattie Cox, daughter of Sarah Adelade Morris Cox (mother of Myrtle and Pauline)

Letter 1 from Addie Tucker, CA to cousin Pearl Simpson, KS 28 Sept 1954

Hello, well I don’t know what to say_______this is I am so glad to rite you.  This is your cussin Addie, your uncle Dave Addie they called me Sister.  Duck I wish I could see you. Can you come to see me. I would come to see you but I am sick all the time with hi-blood pressure [pressure] & haven’t seen you in a long time. I got  a chance to see Jessie last night but I were [was] so glad she gave me your address. I have thought aboutyou so much thinking I would never here [hear] from you. But thank God for this blessing.  Send me your picture so I can see you.  Well all of us is about dead so I sure do want to see you cousin. Mat [Mattie Cox] girls live out here. Mirtle [ Myrtle] and Pauline. I have Pinks picture taken with me when I was 17 years old and have 2 sister out here April and Lue. Borther Cleave did last month. Excuse Bad spelling. All so [?} and don’t see to good. But I am ok and I do thank God for my youth. Well answer at once. I sure do want to see you all [and] hear from my you and family. So goodbye. Hope to hear from you. Your cousin Addie Tucker 631 E 52nd St, Ph ad4-1056, Los Angeles, CA. 

 Letter 2 to Pearl (Morris) Simpson, Great Bend Kansas from Jessie and Myrtle

Dear Aunt Pearl

Here I am at Myrtle’s and we both have said how we wished you were here. I told her yesterday I could all most see you laughing at us fussing. Myrtle is just as fast as ever. Last night she had a beautiful party for me. Alright in the morning before the party she went out to her club. I went sight seeing. Se got home about 4:30. She fixed a wonderful dinner. Had her party food already and was yelling at John and I to come to dinner at about 6. And she did have love party food.  Some gal. Her house is beautiful I will tell you about it when I see you in Omaha.  But I have found nothing more beautiful in L. A. I surely have gone to many one [ size] with ever convenience. She sill has some body coming and going all day. [  ] He has a nice job with the telephone company. I had a visit with [Hoolie]. She is fine. Today Myrtle and I going out to day to a place they call Farmers Market and to Lane Bryants store. Then on & on into the nte. Well also todayI am going to see Sister Addie. I can’t tell her last name. But will later. She keeps saying how she would love to see  “Duck” when , well Aunt Pearl there was 25 all together 1-3-3- cousins that goes to 7 [?] that was a party. Mattie Earl’s family and Uncle Dave’s kids. Oh I will tell you later. But fun O yes Ollie [Hoolie] had a nice [  ] down town for me. Will see you later. Love Jessie. 

Hi Simpson sorry I didn’t get to see you again. We went on [stopped] every place and finally got to NY and we sure did our number there. Great to have Jess. [?] meddled with her business to my own[?]. Smile. Love Myrtle. 

Where possible or needed for understanding we made spelling/grammar adjustments. Due to the difficulty in writing and numerous spelling errors, an actual transcript was not included. If this is needed, order via a3Genealogy  The highlighted sentence 'Aunt Pearl there was 25 all together 1-3-3- cousins that goes to 7 [?] that was a party. Mattie Earl’s family and Uncle Dave’s kids" tightly links all three families and verifies their recognized kinship. The family bible also confirms kinships as do many newspaper articles and other family records. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, May 24, 2015

1-2-3 Researching Revolutionary War Veteran - Virginia / Kentucky

Celebrating Memorial Day - Early Veterans
For Memorial Day, we have decided to highlight land patent research for VA-KY Revolutionary War Veterans.  Land patent and bounty research of our ancestors is a great way to show their contribution and war service.  

Kentucky,separated from VA, was admitted as the 15th state, 1 Jun 1792. So early researchers may find their VA - KY Revolutionary War ancestor’s land warrants on the Kentucky Secretary of State website: Revolutionary War Warrants Database. 
“Patents issued for service in the Revolutionary War are filed with the Virginia Patent Series (VA), Old Kentucky Patent Series (OK) and the West of the Tennessee River Military Patent Series (WTRM).”

Step 1. Where to begin?
Visit the Kentucky Secretary of State website. We have had wonderful success on the Virginia and Old Kentucky Patent Series, where researchers can access patent images using a “name” database.  There’s also the Index forVirginia Surveys and Grants posted by the Kentucky Historical Society online. 

Step 2: Tracing Deeds.
Tracing the deeds may be possible using online databases as that in Edmonson County, KY where images of the deeds are available. At a3Genealogy, if needed we use Deed Mapper to help us identify and track land descriptions. But even with metes and bounds and the lack of official surveys and platted land maps, you can uncover the general area of your war veteran and ancestors’ Kentucky early settlements. Visit here for Metes and Bounds Primer for Genealogists

Step 3: Ready to Walk Ancestor’s Land?
Once researchers have traced the early land patent to the current owners, we have found that the local Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) office is the best resource to mapping current day location. In Edmonson County, KY the Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) office aerial maps were used for outlining the original land patent of a recent client. However, for a “forensic genealogy” case in the same area, we used a property title search company / attorney with a surveyor to verify our findings and certify land boundaries for a court case. This however, is an expensive solution for genealogical research.  
Edmonson County Aerial Map - Ancestor Land Identified
There is also an online tool for ancestral researchers who wish to do the current-day mapping work themselves. After you have traced your 18th century patent to today’s current owner researchers may wish to visit If map aficionados and “deed tracers” haven’t used this tool, you are missing a genealogical treat! It is available in many counties across America and is such a life-saver when working with metes/bound land descriptions from Napa, California to Kentucky.

Top 3 Roadblocks
1)      Deeds may not be readily available on line. More than once we have had to use our a3Genealogy Kentucky deed experts to ferret original patents and trace the deeds.  However, our Revolutionary War patent projects have thus far been 100%. To trace these patents to current day, however, requires research in wills, probates and minute books.
2)      You may wish to not have an aerial map (birds-eye) view.  For these clients we use Google Maps, but in some rural areas, exact locations may not be discernable on the map. Yet, an overlay from historical maps using Google Maps is an acceptable tool.
3)      From the original patent to current day the watercourses have shifted and the descriptions vary from one owner to the next. It’s not exact. Be sure to widen your deed trace to include neighbors. Few have paid for official surveys. However, this is changing due to boundary disputes.

As we celebrate our war veterans, have a safe Memorial Day. And let’s not forget our Revolutionary War soldiers laid to rest in the most remote locations.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Monday, May 18, 2015

Slave Death Records Before the Civil War?

Where Might They Be Hiding?
Sometimes, there's a record collection that elicits "pause!" A grouping of records that shatters a truth so ingrained in the slave researchers' psyche, that even the slightest hope of uncovering the pre-Civil War slave ancestors is dismissed. Sure there are Civil War records, pension records being one of the favorites. There are Civil marriage records as early as 1865, slave master personal records, probates and wills that may give us a hint of a slave's name and even age. But what about death records? Are you bypassing death records, because you consider finding death facts on your slave ancestor to yield a low success rate?

Names Slave and "Name of the Owner of Slave"
Try It Anyway
There are two main questions needing to be answered when doing slave research: 1) Names of parents?  2) Who was the slavemaster(s)? Researchers most often give up too early to really ferrett the answers to these questions.  This was the case in a recent Virginia / West Virginia slave research project. Yet, both questions were answered. Perhaps a quick peak at county death records will surprise you.  In this West Virginia slave research project, an "ah shucks...let's just check" attitude yielded a hosts of slave names, their slavemasters, death circumstances and even parent's names (as known by the informant). The results were numerous and outlined not for one, two, or three slaves, but for many.

Names Parents and Birthplace

Where to Look and Tips
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History holds the death record database and images. But, to recreate this type of research conduct your keyword searches by the county using a first name search, not the expected surname. Keep identifying characteristics (age, location,etc.) in mind when conducting your search to pinpoint your ancestor.

Where to Go From Here?
First stop should be to slave master deeds and records. These deeds may explain how the slave was acquired, and name previously known slavemasters.  Through slaveholder lineage, wills and probates may name your slave ancestors also.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers