Thursday, May 9, 2019

Exhausting Irish Resources


Prepping for the 2019 Irish Fest 
The 2019 Kansas City Irish Fest (KCIF) will be held 30 Aug - 1 Sep.  This year the Irish Fest will be hosting a four session genealogy workshop.  Tickets will go on sale 1 Jun.  So in preparation, I will be posting interesting tidbits on researching your Irish ancestors. For information on the workshop, contact kcirishfest.com.

Was Your Irish Ancestor in a Benevolent Society?
On 19 Sept 1872 the KC times reported on the first St. Patrick's Day parade in Kansas City.  "At 10:00 am, the procession formed at the hall of the Irish Benevolent Society. The order of  march was as follows: Grand Marshal and aids, Band of Music, Irish Benevolent Society, St. Vitus Benevolent Association (German), The St. Joseph Benevolent Association." [1]

Who, What, When, Where? My Irish Ancestors!
There are more than 250,000 in the Kansas City region who claim Irish heritage and as many ancestors who have participated in the Irish Day Parades beginning in 1872.

Any Irish ancestry researcher would be remiss if they chose to ignore the information this small blurb gives us. A few questions to consider: 1) Where were my ancestor's on that day? 2) Did they participate in the parade? 3) Did they belong to these organizations/societies? 4) Were they involved in the Irish community, church, politics or other labor unions? 5) What was their "pecking" order in the parade? 6) Were there other Irish organizations/societies?

Was He a Miner or a Musician?
"Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians followed behind the priest and "marched like soldiers, justly proud of their appearance," observed the Times.  Behind the Hibernians were members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Children of Mary and the St. Aloysius Band, marching with a huge portrait of their favored saint, the Patron of Youth, followed by the Irish benevolent societies.  The McGee Hook & Ladder Company rolled along behind department co-founder and Irish immigrant, Joe McArdle, with firemen pluming and strutting for the admiring crowds gathered on porches and sidewalks along the winding route." (Displayed at Kansas City Irish Fest; August 2011).

Just by knowing the origin of each group, you may be guided in the right direction. This is enough information to keep an Irish family researcher busy. Contemporary local books may give your research a jump start.  Newspaper articles, obituaries, journals, diaries, church records and court cases may also give the researcher a bit more information about the members of these organizations. 
Irish Parade Line Up, Kansas City Times
From the Missouri Irish: Kansas City, St. Louis & Trails West
Extract: pg. 141-142 O'Laughlin,  Michael C.
America’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization founded concurrently in the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania and New York City in May, 1836.  Early Hibernians are linked to mining for gold (Yreka, CA), copper and silver (Butte & Anaconda, MT), iron ore in Escanaba, MI (St Patrick’s) and Mt Pleasant, PA (St Joseph’s), hard rock mining (St Peter’s, Rutland, VT) and coal in Schuylkill CO, PA. (where the infamous Molly Maguire trials were held.)
   
Molly Maguires
M
embers of an Irish-American secret society.  Members, mainly coal miners were associated with Pennsylvania anthracite coal fields in the Civil War era. The trials and arrests were from 1876−1878.

St. Aloysius Band

Formed from the St. John's society 75-100 'juveniles" of West Kansas City.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Founded in 1833 by six university students in Paris under the patronage of St. Vincent de Paul. This primarily Irish society was introduced in Chicago during the economic depression of 1857. The Society's purpose was to provide direct aid to the suffering parishioners.
From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City, O'Neill, Pat

Reprinted from 16 Sep 2011
Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com

Friday, May 3, 2019

French and Spanish Settlers in Pre-Statehood Missouri

Early American Survey using Arpents (Fr)
Missouri - The Midwest Gateway
Before Missouri became a state (1821), before the Anglo-Americans moved West, and before the railroads, steamboats and wagon trains traversed Missouri, there were the French and Spanish Settlers.
Missouri was initially part of the Louisiana Territory.  Known as “Upper Louisiana,” the territory was settled first by the French Canadians as they moved west from Illinois about 1750, establishing St. Genevieve.  Then St. Louis was founded by the French migrating up the Mississippi River from New Orleans in 1767. Although the French had first settled this area, Spain had control from 1762 to 1800, when Spain ceded control to France in a treaty.
With the Louisiana Purchase (1803) from France, America agreed to honor all previous land purchases and claims from the French and Spanish by the settlers.  While noble in theory, it was rather difficult to execute in practice for several reasons.
  • Very few (about 1%) of the original patents (title/deed) of the early settlers were perfected (the paperwork complete)
  • The lots were typically organized in long strips emanating from the town or river and not the standard grid (rectangular survey system) now in place for all Public Lands.
  • The land was measured in French “arpents” not acres as we’re accustomed.  A square arpent is about .84 acre.
  • Often lands not occupied or abandoned by the settler often reverted back to government (French or Spanish) ownership.
Nonetheless, Congress decided to let the settlers complete the patent process, register them with the United States, and retain ownership of their claims. A Board of Commissioners was established in 1808 to sit and hear claims of the settlers as to the proper ownership of their land.  The Board remained in operation through 1812 and gave certificates confirming 1,342 land claims.  New statutes, new boards, and more certificates were granted in 1816 and 1834 certifying 1,754 and 90 more claims respectively.

The Records
[Yes, when Louisiana became a State in 1812, the documents and records were housed in the Missouri Territory until abt. 1821.]

The good news for genealogists is that the records of the Board of Commissioners have been published in several books, segmented by Congressional Session, which fall along a chronological timeline.  Generally these read like court hearings with the land described then witness testimony supplied.
Here we go!
    • 1813: Land claims in the Missouri Territory : records of the 12th Congress, second session, Mountain Press
    • 1834: Private land claims in Missouri, 1834 : United States: House of Representatives document 1178, Twenty-third Congress – First session (full text on Hathi Trust)  by Elijah Hayward, Mountain Press
    • 1835:  Missouri Land Claims published by Polyanthos (1976). The portion selected are the 90 claims approved in the 1834 Commission meeting and the 152 claims rejected by the 1834 Commission . Every name index. [The last claim rejected, #152, says the claimant requested 500,000 arpents.  That’s a lot of land!!  I can see why he was rejected.]
    • 1835: Land claims in Missouri : House of Representatives 24th Congress, First session – document numbered 1538
    • 1835: Final adjustments of private land claims in Missouri, 1832 : House of Representatives document 1340, 24th Congress – First session, 1835 by Ethan Allen Brown, Mountain Press
As an alternative to the original documents, you can try checking out a three volume series by Frances Terry Ingmire, Citizens of Missouri Territory, Mountain Press, 1984.  He has abstracted the Congressional Record and included an every name index.
Finally, if you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed now and are wondering how to navigate a fist full of Congressional hearing records, don’t worry. There’s help. Several finding aids have been published to aid in your research.
Finding Aids
  • Index to Minutes of the First and Second Board of Land Commission Meetings 1805-1812, 1832-1835. by the St. Louis Genealogical Society
  • Early settlers of Missouri as taken from land claims in the Missouri Territory by Walter Lowrie, Southern Historical Press, 1986
  • Index of purchasers : United States land sales in Missouri by Ozarks Genealogical Society, 1985
  • Index to French and Spanish land grants recorded in registers of land titles in Missouri: Books A, B, C, D, E by Betty Harvey Williams, self-published, 1977
If your ancestor staked a claim in Pre-Statehood Missouri, you have an impressive story to tell. It’s well worth your time to find the documents to shape the story to share with the next generation.

Article reprint from "Genealogy Decoded" with permission by:
Beth Foulk
About the Author
Research Relationship with a3Genealogy since 2008
Beth Foulk has turned a lifetime genealogy passion into an opportunity to share what she’s
learned with genealogists across the country. She has documented her Civil War, War of 1812, 
and Revolutionary War ancestors.  She has mapped the migration of her Kansas and 
Missouri pioneers.  And researched the arrival of her many Massachusetts Colonial settlers. 
Each ancestor and each story quickly become a “teaching moment” for her classes.
“The only thing more fun than a genealogy find, is sharing what I’ve learned to help other
genealogists.”

Foulk has been “spreading the genealogy gospel” since 2008 when she first taught as a
volunteer at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri.