Wednesday, January 25, 2023

4 Tips to Tracing Ships: Mail , Slave, or Immigrant Ships

: How do you determine where a  ship originated? 
The same basics apply on all ships:
mail ship: was your ancestor on a route
immigrant ship: the manifest proffers names. The names tells the story
indentured servant: where are the ship Captain's records. Newspapers offer quite a bit of background
slave ships: who paid passage and for what destination.

Remember the basics are the same. Let's use Anna's example of her ancestor on a slave ship. 
  1. Analyze and take Inventory or Information from Document
    - Slave Manifest. Gather slave name and approximate age with description: Moses, 38 years old, 6 feet, copper skin.
    - Ship information. ship name: SS Louisian, ship captain, date of transport, shipper.
  2. Research ship Capt. and and route

    W. H. Talbot, NOLA was a Captain of the SS Louisiana, a Texas U. S. Mail Line. Newspaper search will provide a lot of contemporary information on the Capt. and Steamship Louisiana. This Texas Mail line circled from Indianola Texas, to Galveston to New Orleans.
    Resource: Local Newspapers: Portal to Texas History
  3. Research the Shipper
    Be sure to note all names on ship manifests, but be very deliberate with all information on the shipper. Who is the person named on ship manifest, from where (may not be the same as the ship).
    Obituaries and Local News
    Resources: Newspapers, genealogy databases, county histories
  4. Understand the waterways. This will answer why this ship? Mississippi River from New Orleans to Louisiana, to the Pearl River of Mississippi.
    Resource: Take a tour to experience. Relavant to this Episode: consider the Pearl River Swamp Tour. Pearl River Swamp is not only known for runaway slaves, but you can learn how it impacted your confederate soldier.
    Operations of slave ship.
Keep in mind this article is written for Moses, the slave on the SS Louisiana. Therefore the resources provided are directly tied to Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen: Ep: 02 Manifest, Ships and Camels! Oh My!
And the Camels?
(You have to listen to the Episode to understand this reference. 
Jump on board. I invite you!)
Remember Indianola TX. It was the on the stop between SS Louisiana mail route between New Orleans and Galveston. Well, did you know the U. S. Army transported camels through the port in Indianola, TX from 1856 to 1866. The US Army had a Camel Corps two shiploads of camels (total of camels landed at Indianola,Texas. The actual headquarters for the U.S. Army Camel Corps was in Camp Verde, AZ. Be sure to read: The sinister reason why camels were brought to the American West. National Geographic.

If you are interested in sharing your family brickwall with Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen (HTB) be sure to complete the submission form here.

Friday, January 20, 2023

2023 Added / Updated Genealogy Presentations

For Your Conference
Yes, most are now finalizing their 2nd and 3rd quarter 2023 conference schedules. Here are a few new titles with or updated cases and resources. Of course, be sure to look at our 2022 Speaker Series and earlier listing also. Remember, each presentation is tailored to your conference to align with your theme, and your needs.  

We don't recycle,
unless, of course, you ask for it!. 

I also do presentations for corporations, university/colleges, and private associations. These presentations are part of our MarketingYou Are a Pioneer Series that includes integrating genealogy, DNA, forensic genealogy and health. That's why I am the expert at customizing presentations for you and your organization (or family). Our recent clients have been bankers, heirship specialists, attorneys and shhhh....our favorite Napa Valley vintner. 

If you haven't heard...

I can directly tie genealogy to 

every facet of life!

 Research Methodology

  • The Changing Surname: How to Trace It
  • The Midwest Gateway to Genealogical Resources
  • 10 Tips to Crumble Brickwalls

 Why Did They Disappear

  • The Orphan Trains
  • The Orphanages, Insane Asylums, Mother Homes, and Poor Houses

 Immigrant Research

  • Midwest Ethnic Settlements: Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestor To and Through the Midwest
  • When They Came to America, Where Did they Go? The Midwest Migrants
  • Tracing your Midwest Immigrant Ancestor: From Emigration to Immigration


  • Recreating Your Missing Military Files
  • Revolutionary War
  • War of 1812
  • Civil War Research
  • WWI and WWII
  • The Forgotten Military Treasures


  • NARA and Our Ancestors (National Archives and Records Administration)

 Fun After Lunch

  • All I Want is a Photo!
  • All Newspapers Databases are NOT the Same: Get off
Let Kathleen and the a3Genealogy Team help you shape your conference. 
Just ask for your topic.  This is not a complete list, but our 2023 "New and Updated" list. 

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Listen to Podcast Ep:01 The Mystery of Cornelia Grey

When a Missouri Rhineland Folklore Stumps You
Join Kathleen with Angela Rodesky, from Delaware for Podcast Episode: 01 The Mystery of Cornelia Grey. 

Cornelia is from one of the eleven counties of the  Rhineland (German) region of Missouri: Cape Girardeau.  Listen here to the Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen podcast Ep:01 and learn about the Missouri Rhineland region below. 

Counties of the Rhineland Region of Missouri

Plus, it's time to prove the family folklore, or bring down that brickwall! Yes, family folklore is just an ancestral distraction that our ancestors have perfected. 
Links Mentioned in this episode:
And don't forget: 
Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers  

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Congress.Gov, The Forgotten Resource

Historical Context of Family History Month
As researchers we often reference contemporary newspapers to understand our ancestors' social history. We see phrases like "October, Family History Month," and we ignore the implications. Who declared it? What was the Need? When did it happen? Where (to include which citizensis the impact of this law? How is it to be impact my family in the future? 

Most have never visited the website, but its contents impacted our ancestors choices and struggles and successes.  Our ancestors migrated, settled and resettled as they fought for and voted for representatives to create laws that reflected their values and could determine their family's fate. So when October was dedicated to Family History Month we turned to the 107th Congress, to understand how Family History Month became an October reality.

Purpose for this blogpost?
Our goal here is twofold:
  1. Encourage historical researchers, to include family historians, to peruse the website to put laws and our ancestors into perspective. 
  2. To celebrate October as Family History Month 
Why use website?

The a3genealogy love for early territorial records led us to the website as we researched the 1800, 6th Congress act for granting land to the inhabitants and settlers at Vincennes and the Illinois country, in the Territory North-West of the Ohio, and for conforming them in their possessions.''  Our brickwall was destroyed by understanding the law, beginning with 1800. Our client was looking for a full land trace a particular ancestor that led us directly to Vincennes. The ancestor died in 1837.

Of course, this was the same 6th Congress that established the system of Bankruptcy throughout the United States. Understanding this bill and its implementation and impact to our early Broome County, NY timber/lumber Dutch family, helped explained the descendants move to Portland, OR area.  
“trouble with lumber,” and greed from the Broome County Bank and their lawyers. “They sued me and father Vosbury, and Levi , and all my in dorsers [endorsers], and made costs upon costs till they broke me all up.”
But our first hurdle was to understand the impact of the law on these early Dutch settlers. allows the family researcher to peruse all of the Bills, Acts & Laws from 1799 -present day. So when requested to provide historical research  on Family History Month celebrated in October, again we turned to S.Res.160 - A resolution designating the month of October 2001, as "Family History Month".  This historical research for the publication of an academic article.

There are other government records for researchers to analyze. At a3Genealogy, we often turn to the Legislation & Records of the US Senate

What a wonder treasure trove these records are when working on our ancestors and understanding the national (and regional) influences of their choices. Plus, for us, in more cases than one, this understanding has led us to bringing down brickwalls. 

The 46 volumes of Congressional Globe contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-1873). 

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers  

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Santa Claus Did, Too, Exist...Here's Historical Proof

School mates say there's no Santa? Ugh

Doubt Not!
You aren't the first to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. So we are taking charge of telling you there was and always has been Santa Claus Deniers, Doubters and Skeptics! 

But, Santa and Mrs Claus, Minnie, of course were married in Saline County, MO and resided in Marshall County, MO. 

Santa was a minister and he did his civic duty to register in "old man draft" of WWII. 

Santa and  Mrs Claus had seven children! Wondering if each were responsible for the elves. One a day!
Sounds about right. 

1930 Marshall, Saline County, MO

When did he find the time to answer all the letters and the money to mail them? 
 KCStar, 2 Dec 1936

I will not cover the demise of Santa or Mrs. Claus.  It's Christmas Day  after all!

Merry Christmas

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically
Accurate Accessible Answers

Friday, December 23, 2022

Our Ancestors Knew When the Holiday Season Began

Sears Roebuck Catalog, 1898
The Sears Catalog, Our Ancestors - America's History
1972 Sears Fall Winter Catalog, pg7
I was asked this week what were my favorite memories of Christmas and the holiday season. I got all giddy remembering the Sears Catalog.  When you live in 1960's Kansas, and your parents were on a teachers budget, your connection to the world was EASILY the Sears Winter Catalog.  Not about buying clothes for me, I could sew. but I needed to know the styles. Yep, 1972 plaid? Loved it, made the skirt and dress, asked for the sweater. 

The catalog closed generational gaps. 
Oh yeah, supposed to be talking about ancestors! Nothing else to talk about with the grandparents? We'd just ask them about the catalog. Grandma, with a spoon in one hand stirring slop in her hot-in-December, Lyons, KS kitchen, would tell us, by memory the page number of what she had saved for. I called it her seasonal "bragging rights." Grandpa, well the new coat which he only wore when he went to the "cities."  Yep that usually meant Great Bend or Hutchinson.  That's as far as you go in the Kansas winters. 

1968 Sears, Fall Winter Catalog, p469

Wars, Great Depression. and Disasters, Presidential Elections
How this catalog recorded and included the current events was quite creative, but all included! Even the 1899 Alaskan Goldrush via the Klondike shoes and the San Francisco 1906 earthquake. 
Fall 1908, pg770

Where to Find Catalogs Digitized?

Was your ancestor memorialized with a Sears, Roebuck Tombstone or Monument?
1908, pg560

Article: The Modesto Bee, 1 Mar 1977, pg 65; newspaperscom

Note from Author:
Please know that we are aware Sears' [had a]complicated history with black customers. I have posted this link should others wish to have more information on the topic. 

Sears, Roebuck catalog did allow African Americans to shop circumventing Jim Crow racists practices and laws. However, the catalog and stores' inventories and practices created had a rather rocky relationship with black-America. Sears was active in the consumerization of stereotypes (i.e. Chicken Snatcher, Jockey man, Minstrel figures, etc.) and treated employees and shoppers with the same segregation practices as other stores. 

Still, this mail order catalog brought cheer to the season for many, and connects us once again to our ancestors.

Happy Holidays!

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Monday, December 19, 2022

Researching Indentured Servants? (Not Just Virginia)

Many descendants hit a brick wall when researching their colonial ancestors. Since Virginia was the had the largest population of American colonies, and we just finished a 2 year project on indentured servants, the a3Genealogy Research Team wanted to share a few quick hints to successful research. Although we highlight Virginia here, know that these tips should be considered when researching indentured servants in all of the colonies. 

Let's say post Revolutionary War records proved your ancestors to claim VA as their earlier resident state. Many of these ancestors fought in, or supplied to, the Revolutionary War. As they migrated south to the Carolinas, Tennessee and settled in KY, they were landowners, some were skilled.  But, finding the family units in Colonial VA, pre-Revolutionary War can be a mystery.  

Do Not Overlook
Since eighty percent (80%) of immigrants to 17th century Chesapeake were indentured servants, it will behoove the researcher to consider this possibility.(1)  Most of our ancestors were indentured servants, slaves, or bound in some way as laborers!  It is said that up to 75% of all individuals who came off the transatlantic ships, settling in all colonies, in the 17th century were indentured servants. (2). 

(1) 17th Century Chesapeake, Bill Warder, 2015: "Of the 200,000 emigrants to English North America in the 17TH- century, about 110,000 came into Virginia and Maryland primarily between 1630-1680, with about 80% of those emigrants arriving as indentured servants. ( None More Important Than People: CTW12015-2). 

(2) The all colonies estimate given by Natural History estimates for that timeframe: "up to 75 percent of all the individuals who came off the transatlantic ships in the 17th century were indentured servants." Source: Conditions in the Early Colonies, Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of Natural History,  

Types of Indentured Servants

Indentured servants were contractually bound to work in order to compensate for their passage to America. There were 3 types of indentured servant agreements: redemptioners, voluntary, and involuntary.

  1. Voluntary or "free willers" willingly signed a contract before departing England.
  2. Involuntary or "King's passengers" were also called "convict servants. These criminals were usually obliged to serve a term of seven to fourteen years which was based on their convicted crime. 
  3. Redemptioners were counting on settled family in the colonies to pay their passage, or secured a way to pay for there passage within two weeks of their arrival to the colonies. If they failed to pay their passage within those two weeks, the contractors' agreements were sold to the highest bidder by the sea captain to pay for their passage. 

Three Basic Guidelines to Begin Indentured Servant Research

One of the goals is to locate embarkment records from England. Embarkment  records may provide the "Master's Name" for whom they would be working, the ship name and sea captain, and the location for which they would be bound, i.e. Paris or  Jamaica.  The above image even has recorded a person bound to pay off passage for his return to Ireland. The reasons for taking the journey varied: to seek a better livelihood, to settle in business with a friend, and for pleasure 

1) Begin with a timeline. Based on your research, narrow the timeline for when your ancestors arrived in America.  This will allow you to apply the indentured servant laws that apply to your ancestor.
2) Review the practices for your location. Here is a link on Life in Early Virginia, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the colony of your ancestors. Each colony had different practices. A good review for Pennsylvania is the Redemptioners and Indentured Servants in the Colony and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
3) Familiarize yourself with the indentured servant laws of the time. Keep in mind that in many cases the laws for the Irish were slightly altered. A good place to start for thee Laws of VA is here in this searchable Collection by Wm. Waller Henning. 

a3Genealogy Research Recommendations to Finding Indentured Servant Records
If looking for your German indentured servant ancestors a good place to begin in with the digitized records of Record of indentures of individuals bound out as appretices, servants, ets., and of German and other redemptioners, 1771 Oct 3 - 1773 October 5. 

Newspapers. For Virginia, we love the Colonial Williamsburg Virginia Gazette which has an index that includes surnames and images to the page of appearance. 

State Libraries and Archives.  

Library of Virginia: The online Virginia Land Patents and Grants is a great source for uncovering your Virginia indentured servant. Indentured servants in Virginia were most often registered by the colonists in order to secure headright grants. The index for the Land Patents and Grants does not include the names of people claimed as headrights. In lieu of an index reference Cavaliers and Pioneers available at Ancestry or online book format.

Maryland State Archives.

As indices and extracts may lead us to copies of the originals, we often turn to Dr. Louis Green Carr's Biographical files of the 17th & 18th Century Marylanders to uncover indentured servants in that state. 

The New Early Settlers of Maryland, by Dr. Carson Gibb.

This is a great source when looking for early ancestors who may have been indentures in Maryland. Although some when say it is a long shot to resolving a VA indentured servant brickwall, we say HOGWASH! This source has led the a3Genealogy Research Team to solving not one but two brickwalls in 2022. Both were indentured servants in VA. 

 Petersrow Publications. 

This resource is not just of indentured servants, but of many indentures (contracts) to include indentures for free blacks. Yet, we have been able to solve brickwall indentured cases by scouring these records. The best part, is it's name based index, where you can enter your surname, and the publication, timeline, and place for the indenture is included.  This one will keep us busy for Jan 2023.

Cyndi's List. We would be remiss if this site was overlooked. Be sure to look here for German Immigrant Servant Databases

Additional Reading