Sunday, April 30, 2023

Missing Ancestor's Land Record?

Map of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Engineer divisions and districts

Check Out Government Land Leases
In April 2023 a research project led the a3Genealogy to the Tulsa area - homeplace of the Tulsa District of the Corps of Engineers (COE) in the Southwestern Division. Well, what actually triggered it was crossing Tahlequah and settling in Cherokee County, OK on one of the beautiful Corps of Engineers Lakes, but I digress. 

A highlight of this road trip was an intriguing reminder of long term land leases along coveted Corps of Engineers' managed lakeside waters. The Corps of Engineers division (like other govt divisions) set aside land sector reserved for  US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) personnel and retired Corps of Engineers employees use. This land is technically not privately owned, but your ancestor may have:
1) worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers or 
2) was savvy enough to secure a 10 to 100 year lease along the Corps of Engineers public lands. 
(These practices continues today).

The federal government owns public lake and lakefront land managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Army established the Corps of Engineers as a separate, permanent branch on March 16, 1802. Their land portfolio is an impressive 12.4 million acres of public lands and waters across the USA.[1] This property includes campsites, over 425 recreational areas and trails, and wetlands to include grazing land. 

Grazing Land (vs Recreational)
Marietta Monitor, OK, 23 Dec 1949
Although public land used for camping and recreational activities, properties may have corporate leases or were perhaps developed by the Corps of Engineers, grazing leases is where we most often find ancestral land leases. These leases may have been passed to heirs. Note: not all of public land leases allowed for transfers to heirs.

Your ancestors may have secured a grazing lease by responding to a bid or negotiated with a land office sans bidding process. The General Land Office (GLO) responsible for managing public lands in the western U.S. was established in 1812, and later became the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

It was in the later 1800's that the GLO began issuing permits for grazing on public lands. Although not for perpetuity, these land leases offered by different government agencies may have been for up to 100 years to government retirees. Most however are for 5-20 years, often renewable.

5 Places to Uncover Ancestors' Government Land Lease 
Many early settlers migrating westward preferred the tax free -no to low cost - leases. The family researcher may need to delve into several record groups though to uncover the lease and ancestral information. Researchers may learn a lot about their ancestors through these records.  Not unlike government issued early patents, we suggest researchers begin with the BLM-GLO website, however, we usually have to correspond directly with the following agencies: 
1. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM maintains records of grazing permits and leases issued for public lands under their management. You can search for records online using the BLM's or you can contact your local BLM office for assistance.
2. U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The USFS also issues grazing permits and leases for public lands under their management. You can search for records online using the USFS's special uses database, or you can contact your local USFS office for assistance
3. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The NARA is the official repository for records of the U.S. government. If you are looking for historical records related to grazing land leases, you may want to search the NARA's online catalog or contact one of their regional archives for assistance.
4. State and local government offices. Depending on where the grazing land is located, you may need to contact state or local government offices to obtain records related to grazing land leases.
5. National Park Service or Wildlife Refuge land offices. If the land is located within a national park or wildlife refuge, you may need to contact the park or refuge office for assistance.
[1] U.S. Government Accountability Office; online access 29 Apr 2023:

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Sunday, April 16, 2023

The Compensated Emancipation Act & Patriot's Day, Influence Tax Day


Compensated Emancipation Act
Keeping it Straight
Last time it happened, 18 April 2016. The blog post written 18 Apr 2016, entitled
Thank D.C. Emancipation Holiday for 2016 Tax Date has been updated for 2023Same Rules apply, but here's a refresher for those who missed the 2016 post, with a few updates relevant to 2023 (in red):

April 15 is synonymous with tax day, until it interferes with the Compensated Emancipation Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln 16 April 1862. This holiday is observed annually in Washington D. C. as Emancipation Day (only observed in the District of Columbia). It is a legal holiday in D. C., but affects all Americans when it is celebrated on Tax Day.  Yet, it still is fuzzy. Why was tax day moved from Saturday April 15 to April 18. when the D. C. Compensated Emancipation Act became law was 16  April?

Well…the practice is the 16 April Washington D. C. Emancipation day is celebrated on the closest weekday, (thusly, Monday 17 Apr 2023). Click here to see the tax code for a more confusing explanation.

Know that this date change only affects Federal Taxes, not local taxes such as KCMO Individual Earned Tax which was due 15 April.

Research D. C. Slave Owner and Emancipated Slave Records
Slave Record
D. C. slaves were emancipated on 16 April 1862, abolishing slavery 8.5 months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued 1 Jan 1863. 

Thanks to the Compensated Emancipation Act, slave and slaveholder information was detailed leaving a money trail to follow for the researcher.
This new act permitted slave owners to file petitions for compensation promising loyal Unionist masters up to $300 for each slave as well as voluntary colonization for former slaves outside the United States. An initial 966 petitioners filed claims for 3,100 slaves and another 161 persons submitted claims after the July 12 supplementary act including former slaves whose owners had not filed petitions. These are the records contained in this database.(
Records on the compensation leads DC slave and slaveholder researchers with useful documentations that most often shares names and ages of emancipated slaves, the names of their parents, and how these slaves were acquired.  
Slaveholder Petition
Combining the slaveholder petitions and statements of the emancipated slave paints a larger picture for researchers.  The Washington, D.C. Slave Owner Petitions, 1862-1863 records may also be found on
Minutes of Meetings
Be sure to also review the Minutes of Meetings, April 28, 1862 -  January 14, 1863 and the summary List of Awards to Slave Owners which have been digitized on for a final amount awarded to the slaveholder and the number of “servants” allowed per slaveholder claim. Researchers will also find digitized Slave Emancipation Records 1851-1863 for Washington, D. C. on

Tax Day on the 19th For Others
Maine and Massachusetts Holiday Moves Tax Day To 19th April. Because being an American and Tax Day is intertwined, we can’t forget the Revolutionary War patriots and their impact on tax day causing Maine and Massachusetts to have a different tax day in 2023 than the rest of the Union. 
Maine and Massachusetts traditionally celebrate Patriot’s Day on the 3rd Monday of April, so those tax payers have until Tuesday, 19 April. As expected, the tax code explains why Maine and Massachusetts do not have to file taxes until the 19th of April (note I did not say “pay”, but “file. I’m not an accountant).” Again, see tax code for a complete ‘confusing’ clarification.

What is Patriots’ / Patriot’s Day?
Patriots Day - a holiday never celebrated in my birth state of Kansas or adopted state of Missouri - commemorates the first battles of the American Revolutionary War - 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord. From what I can gather, this holiday is most celebrated by the Boston Marathon. I’m sure there’s a link to the Greek Battle of Marathon, but that’s out of my pay grade.  

Don’t let me misguide you.  Patriots’ Day is a HUUGGEE day in New England - even to include the New Hampshire Minute Men. Check out Nutfield Genealogy blog entitled Patriot’s Day! Answering the Lexington Alarm from Hudson, New Hampshire. In this entire region there are reenactments and celebrations of patriotism.

Why Maine?
In Maine, like Massachusetts, Patriot's Day is an official holiday.“Why Maine?” is a common question in our email in-box.  And with a little understanding it makes sense. A simplified explanation is Maine, a former province of Massachusetts is 30,000 square miles of land carved out of Massachusetts – Massachusetts Bay Colony. Maine gained statehood in 1820 but that stretch of land and its citizens must be remembered for their quick response to serve in the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

To show their independence from Massachusetts, Maine celebrates “Patriot’s Day” whereas Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day.  (Please let us know at a3Genealogy if you know the real history of the name distinction).

Thanking Your ME, MA Ancestor for Extra Tax Preparation Day?
I checked and none of my ancestors were brave enough to join the minutemen of 19 April 1775 (or not free to do so).
Lexington Minute Man Memorial
For the rest of the U.S.A. we can pick up this conversation in June, but for now, hoping you are either wrapping up your tax forms or filing an extension!

Happy Tax Day!

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Looking for Her Maiden Name?

Women and Surnames
We know that in 1866 there was an article on Keeping Their Maiden Names in Addition to the Husbands Surname. 

Wow! Our ancestors were progressive.  You did it, didn't you? You just googled what actresses in 1866?  Then you realized, oh....stage!  

If you haven't yet listened to EP:06 of Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen, you will want to, especially if you are
  1.  researching for a female maiden name ANYWHERE 
  2. conducting research in the Indian Territory y
  3.  need more on the following ten tips
Our goal here was to identify documents and record groups that often provide a mother’s maiden name or family name.
Obituaries should be scoured

10 Steps to Success
1. Organize. Separate family units (i.e. children from first and second husbands, and grandchildren, etc.)
2. Local Records. School census and enrollment documents will provide birthdates and parentage hints, and possible extended families. Review school records for all  children.
3. Church Records. Marriage records often name parents, and family members as witnesses. Local preachers may have kept records. You may uncover your female ancestor through her family connections.
4. Vital Records.
Muskogee Times Democrat, 28 Apr 1906, pg2

Birth certificates, delayed birth certificates, and death certificates may name mother’s maiden name. These may also assist with #1: separating family units.
5. Social Security Application ($$). This may not be fruitful as the children may not have known their mother’s maiden name. But, be sure to re-evaluate the cost/risk benefit.
6. Marriage Records. Marriage applications often name mother’s maiden name. Review the marriage records for all children.
7. Midwife Records / Family Bibles.
Muskogee Times-Democrat, 28 Apr 1906, Pg2

Midwives typically know the community families and may have recorded a maiden name. Don’t forget to research the area midwife(s). And remember, the family's midwife may have been a relative.
8. Newspapers (Local and Online). Obituaries and even the court recorder's published announcements may proffer names and relationships. 
9. Land Records.

Did they own land. How did they acquire it? Land deeds may provide hints to the female's family, parents, or names of a  first husband, if applicable.
10. Native American Records / Applications (NARA). Don’t forget the rejected Native American applications also.

Interested in participating in an future episode? Submit this Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen Form.

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Tracing Missing Ancestors?

Turn to the Penal System
We didn't realize how many a3genealogy client brickwalls had been crushed through the penal system, until we reviewed the keywords "penitentiary" and "prison" on the a3Genealogy blog. Our brickwall cases for disappearing family members, the black sheep of the family, runaways, and white collar crime runaway have included two celebrity TV research projects; an imprisoned woman; and several blackship cases that drove us to researching Federal and State prison records.  This includes our Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen #Ep 05, All About the Benjamin! (Listen here, freepodcast)

Where to Begin

Note: We purposely excluded below the half dozen blog posts that guide researchers to tracing Prisoners of War (POW) during the Civil War.
At this point we are only writing about U S. A. ancestors but if you are looking of Irish or English or another ancestor, just use the catalog keywords for your location.

When historians and genealogists write on topics, it can sometimes be quite specific.  On page 109 of the Kentucky Genealogists a page is dedicated to just "Inmates of Indiana State penitentiary, Born in Kentucky." Actually, this was quite useful to the a3Genealogy team a few years back. 

Indiana Penitentiary, Kentucky Born, pg. 109
Did you know has some free index and free access to some records? Check to see if your state has free prison and penitentiary records or use your local library to peruse the following: 

Arizona, U.S., State Prison Records, 1875-1929

Iowa, U.S., Consecutive Registers of Convicts, 1867-1970

Tulare County, California, U.S., Sheriff's Office and Jail Records, 1874-1963

NY, Governor's Registers of Commitment to Prisons, 1842-1908

California, U.S., Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934-1963

Kansas, U.S., U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworth, Name Index to Inmate Case Files, 1895-1936

 Chester County, Pennsylvania, U.S., Criminal and Prison Record Indexes, 1681-1911

For the subscriber of additional records can be found in the catalog under U. S. Penitentiary Records, 1875 - 1963

6 Resources to Tracing the Black Sheep Ancestor
Here is a helpful listing of how to trace the missing black sheep of the family who may have ended in the penal system:  

1. US Federal Penitentiary Case Files: Inmate Case Files 1895-1952
2. Court and Prison Records for Narcotics and Liquor: As seen with Ginnifer Goodwin
3. Penitentiary Records: Part I- 12 State Prison Research Treasures
4. Penitentiary Records: Part II Researching State Inmates
5. Penitentiary Records: Women in Prison: As Seen with Cynthia Nixon
6. Prison Records and Genealogy: San Benito County Jail and San Quentin State Prison
Governor Pardon: Liberty Tribune, 1855

Penal records are replete with the following:

  • Governor pardon records
  • prison inspector records
  • warden records and notes; and 
  • prisoner physician records. 
Be sure to see how we recommend records in the podcast All About the BenjaminEnjoy, and be sure to leave comments and feedback.

 Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers  

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Ancestor Was A Prohibition Era Pharmacists, Druggists, or Doctors?

Ancestors Distributing Legal Alcohol?
When speaking of the Prohibition Era, we often overlook our ancestors who legally distributed alcohol-based 
medicine. However buried amongst the Tempest Movement, the bootleggers, and speakeasies, were doctors, pharmacists, druggists, and patent medicine vendors legally distributing alcohol within this dry nation. Although under close tight regulations, they were allowed to distribute elixirs, tonics, bitters, and other herbal and fermented concoctions under the auspices of "medicine.” 

Alcohol was the leading medicine for many diseases to include cholera. The Temperance movement protested the use of alcohol in medicines. To be fair, most of these patent medicine elixirs were grossly laced with alcohol; using high percentages of its content (up to 40%).

In Ep:05 of Hittin’ the Bricks with Kathleen caller Karen Fuller’s brickwall was complicated by the occupation of “Dr. Fuller,” a patent medicine vendor. In truth, these elixirs weren’t patented at all – just vegetable extracts laced with “ample’ doses of alcohol. 

But for genealogists and family researchers the papertrail leads us to the possible legal aspects of the profession which produced federal and state registrations, permits, and licenses  And, as the illegal bootleggers were reaping an impressive financial gain, the occupation of patent medicine vendor, druggist, or pharmacists, or self- identified “Doctor,” often included prison, court cases, and corruption activity reviews. So many resources to tracing our ancestors!

Listen here: Music

Legal or Bootleggers
Remember hearing the song Save A Little Dram for Me?  Well, The Volstead Act, aka National Prohibition Act, also allowed clergymen to use wine for sacramental services. Be sure to review the lyrics and catchy tune Save a Little Dram For Me.  Farmers, too, could possess up to 200 gallons of preserved fruit which fermented was a solid base for alcohol.

Financial Gain
A law this big did require Prohibition Commissioner. Perhaps your ancestor worked on the reporting end of the Volstead Act. During the prohibition, in 1920’s alone, physicians wrote approximately 11 million prescriptions annually. One Prohibition Commissioner, John F. Kramer, reportedly cited a doctor who wrote 475 prescriptions for whiskey in one day. Kramer was one of 1500 prohibition agents.

Not only was prohibition profitable for physicians, but our neighborhood Walgreen’s founder, Charles R. Walgreen, expanded from 20 stores to 525 during the 1920’s. Although Walgreen attributed their expansion to the introduction of milkshakes, they became a pharmaceutical empire.

There was one way to obtain alcoholic beverages legally during the prohibition years: through a physician's prescription, purchasing the liquor from a pharmacy. Physicians could prescribe distilled spirits--usually whiskey or brandy--on government prescription forms. 

In the United States from 1920 to 1933, a nationwide constitutional law prohibited the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933.

Denatured Alcohol
In college (even in the 1970’s), I was warned not to drink out of the sinks because kool-aid and grain alcohol could kill. Or make one go blind, as it did with the cousin of our cousin Pete Tumbleson. Growing up the name of the cousin of cousin Pete was etched in my head. Visit the Mob Museum for a full story denatured and unregulated alcohol formulas.

As mentioned, the National Prohibition Act required licenses, registrations, and approvals. This allowed for legal write up of prescriptions and scripts for medicinal booze. In other words, a way for a family historian to trace and learn more of their law abiding ancestors. Our law-abiding ancestors applied for licenses that gave them the right to issue scripts for medicinal booze.

Records for both the legal distributors of alcohol and the bootleggers, should be retrieved. In addition to uncovering newspaper searches, local court records and dockets, and local /state prison records, the following should be reviewed:

3 Resources to Begin Researching Your Legal / Not-So Legal Prohibition Era Ancestor    

  1. NARA Records of the Bureau of Prohibition, NARA - Seattle, WA
    Responsible for tracking bootleggers and organized crime leaders
  2. State Records: Prohibition Commission, ie. Records of the Virginia Prohibition Commission, 1916-1934
  3. NARA: US Penitentiary (i.e.Ft. Leavenworth), Prohibition Act

Additional Resources

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Friday, February 24, 2023

Following Hittin' the Bricks With Kathleen?

Using DNA to Unscramble Biological Family?

If you listened to podcast episode (#4), Adoption, Door-Knocking, DNA & (Family) Reunions, you learned that Charlotte used her adoption paper to uncover the neighborhood of her biological parents.  No names were provided to her in advance, but the tight community neighborhood, of course knew all the gossip.  So, she began knocking on doors, you will recall. 

She also connected with a  DNA first cousin, "Jimmy. His story is entwined and they joined forces on this journey. Charlotte knocking on doors, he, suppor"ting her!

Kathleen offered tips for Charlotte to have closure to her genealogical question: Is my first cousin, "Jimmy" related to me through both my mother and my father? Truly, Charlotte and first cousin, Jimmy, also an adoptee, were able to identify how they were first cousins on their maternal side. But, the question as to how Charlotte's paternal 2nd to third cousins were Jimmy's 4th -5th cousins remained. Even John wanted to know! How is this possible?

Untangling Unknown Biological Family
Kathleen offered Charlotte tips. Of course this applies to all who are looking for biological families (adopted or not): 
Step 1: Analyze ethnicity and haplogroups. In this case begin with Jimmy's Y-DNA test results.
Step 2: Familiarize and Understand DNA shared centimorgan expectations.  Reminder, it's not set in stone, but using the online tool, of, Blaine Bettinger,  DNA painter, you are able to eliminate the less than plausible relationships. 

Step 3: Obtain original birth certificates, if able, from state. 
Step 4: Access a copy of  Jimmy's father's birth certificate if possible.  Don't forget church records. 
Step 5: .  Identify the DNA cousin matches that may assist in pinpointing Jimmies grandmother's family line. You will want to understand a) triangulation b) shared chromosomes. It looks more daunting than it is. 

Step 6: Flesh out family trees to uncover your great grandparents trees and the grandparents and ancestors of Jimmy. You may have to build out other family trees also.

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Saturday, February 18, 2023

My Veteran: National Guard or Army / Navy Reserve: How to Research?

President Day 
Did you know 31 of the 46 American Presidents served in the Military? Many served in the state militia. Those records are held at the state level so researchers will want to reach out to their State Archives or Secretary of State archival records. 

Few of our American presidents served in the National Guard, or Army Reserve. Although like Millard Fillmore, the 13th U.S. President, born in 1800, served in units that melded into the National Guard or Army Reserve. Too old to fight, but seasoned enough, Fillmore commanded the Buffalo (NY) Union Continentals, a "corps of male home guards" over the age of 45. Did your ancestors join Fillmore's efforts in the Civil War? 

Perhaps your ancestor, like the following Presidents served in the National Guard: 
George W. Bush, Texas Air National Guard. 

President Truman served in both the Missouri National Guard and received his commission as a Major in the Officers’ Reserve Corps (1920), Colonel: Field Artillery Reserve (1953). 

Or did your ancestor served in the US Reserve, as did the following U. S. Presidents?
  1. Harry S. Truman, Colonel, US Army Reserve
  2. John F. Kennedy, Lieutenant, US Navy Reserve
  3. Lyndon B. Johnson, Commander, US Navy Reserve
  4. Richard Nixon, Commander, US Navy Reserve
  5. Gerald Ford, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy Reserve
  6. Ronald Reagan, Captain, US Navy Reserve
  7. George H. Bush, Lieutenant, US Navy Reserve
Finding your veteran's US Navy/Army Reserve and National Guard records, starts with understanding the history of both. 

Where Are the Records?
Learning the record group and it's history, can help the family historian uncover their ancestors' national guard and army reserve records.

The Army National Guard was established 13 Dec 1636.  The oldest Army National Guard was established in Massachusetts from militia regiments. The Massachusetts Army National Guard. 

As you already know, the National Archives - St Louis, commonly referred to as the National Personnel Record Center (NPRC) houses the records of our  ancestors called into active Federal military service post Civil War.  It is here that you will use the SF-180 form to uncover your veteran's active Federal military service.

However, if they were not called into active Federal military service, your veterans' records are held at the State level.  Each state has an Adjutant General. These state records include both the Army and Air National Guard units not on active duty. 

For these state records, we suggest starting with the State Historical Society or Secretary of State websites. Following are both examples: 

Kansas National Guard Records

We have found it best to just use a search engine for "adjutant general" plus the state in your search bar. Many will be listed on the Secretary of State website or a State Historical: 

Missouri State Guard Records by Unit, 1812 -  WWI

New Jersey is an example where early guard units merged with state's militia. Again, these records, with the finding aids, are mentioned on the NJ State Department. 
New Jersey National Guard records

If all else fails, contact the Adjutant Generals' office. They can guide researchers to the archived records.   

The Army Reserve began 23 Apr 1908 under the Congress' named auspices Medical Reserve Corps. These records are held in St. Louis.  Like other military records, use the SF180 form to obtain copies of your veteran's Army Reserve records.

The New York Times, New York, New York, 30 Nov 1908,

Here is a quick synopsis of the historical formation of present-day  Army Reserve. 

Initially, in 1908 Congress created the Medical Reserve Corps, the official predecessor of the Army Reserve. Subsequently, using its constitutional authority to “raise and support armies,” through the National Defense Act of 1916 and the sweeping changes to that law in the National Defense Act Amendments of 1920, the federal government created the Organized Reserve. Redesignated as the Organized Reserve Corps in 1948, the new force served into the 1950s to provide a peacetime pool of trained reserve officers and enlisted men for use in war. This manpower reserve existed as the officer cadre for as many as 27 reserve infantry divisions and 6 reserve cavalry divisions located across the nation. It also included the Officers’ Reserve Corps, Enlisted Reserve Corps, and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. (Army Reserve: A Concise History)

We know the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) presently are state -driven community based units. This is NOT the federal Organized Reserve Corps. However, the Medical Reserve Corps was a highly touted service organization.  Be sure to search the local newspapers for your ancestors' name. 

       The Burlington (VT) Free Press, 15 Dec 1917, pg 11

Looking for a More Robust History of the Army Reserve? 
Visit the US Army Reserve Official Website

Other Resources

Army Reserve: A Concise History

I Am the Guard: A History of the Army National Guard, 1636-2000

National Guard

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers