Monday, January 18, 2021

Did Martin Luther King Learn from the Ancestors?

Presentation: You Are A Pioneer, a3Genealogy

The Invisible Staircase 
In Jan 2011 I began my College and University circuit as a speaker. I have always, since 1984 spoken as a corporate speaker, but this was new. The issue was I was being asked to speak at private schools, university business schools, to entrepreneurs, women organizations, and marketing and executive departments of corporations. These invitations extended to celebration events that honored Martin Luther King. With these events, I was being asked to meld genealogy while inspiring future graduates or corporate execs. Great! That posed an ideal conundrum! I can plop genealogy and our ancestors into any conversation seamlessly. Challenge accepted!

Stephens College, Columbia, MO. 2014

Be A Pioneer
Let it be known that as an ex-executive in corporate America, my interest in Martin Luther King was not so much his “I Had A Dream” speech, but was engulfed on his use of the “Invisible Staircase.” It is here that I stress a basic mantra: the problem is people confuse what is hard with what is impossible. I can’t count the times I have had to bat down perceived obstacles, to remind the listener it really is possible to change your "business from routine" as usual to "NEW."  Our ancestors did it! "Be a Pioneer," I would say.

Presentation: You Are A Pioneer, a3Genealogy

The Invisible Staircase MLK Quote?

Presentation: The Invisible Staircase, a3Genealogy

When asked to speak for MLK Day or Black History month, or even to share a motivational speech, I usually turn to the MLK quote: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” It is from the resistance for change that The Invisible Staircase: Know Thyself” presentation was created. Maybe if we make it personal, peek at our ancestor’s invisible staircase that we may draw courage. 

What does this have to do with genealogy? Oh, so much! Our paths today share the same struggles, fears and triumphs of our ancestors.  Through every struggle it is through that “first step” without the assurance of the results that we move the needle while experiencing our life, our businesses, our new endeavors take shape.  

And, yes, I purposely weave The Invisible Staircase: Know Thyself presentation with examples of Martin Luther King’s quotes and the courage of our ancestors. 

  • Did they willingly leave family and friends behind in a country across great waters?
  • Did your ancestor leave the cotton fields to explore the industrial northeast or Midwest?
  • Did your ancestor choose to fight for a country in hopes for freedom? Or, naturalization? Or, to defend a country that questioned their ability of constitutional rights, or the legality of their right to citizenship?
  • Did your ancestors follow a path to settle unexplored lands in the west of a vast country?

The list is endless.  My own ancestors, sold their land in North Carolina and Tennessee to settle in the middle of Kansas on unimproved lands.  A new start, leaving family and friends behind in hopes of the American Dream. They traveled with a group of 52 members of their extended family. But, the uncertainty of what western Kansas would offer them in the 1880’s? This had to be a leap of faith…just take the first step - MLK would say decades later.  I mean, most Kansas don’t know where Comanche and Harper counties lie even now! 

Ancestors Who Worked Outside of the Box
This is the working outside of the box theory in Corporate America. It is the spirit of the USA entrepreneur; the newly settled immigrant; the uncomfortable change of a political party every four or eight years; the acceptance of a new job, a new location, or evaluating if “old comforts” still serve their purpose.

Regardless of the circumstance, like our ancestors, we must walk boldly toward new endeavors, or through uninvited experiences. And, Martin Luther King gave us the first step in the quote itself: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

Like our ancestors, we must forge along through the steps of a winding staircase before us.  For me it’s simple. Where faith begins, the staircase holds at least the following components:

Presentation: The Invisible Staircase, a3Genealogy

Remembering Martin Luther King my way, is how seven years later from my first The Invisible Staircase presentation, that I wish to share his teachings. 

Happy Birthday, and Thanks Dr. Martin Luther King! 

Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

8 Tips - Researching Midwest German Ancestors

1870 German Population Map

Midwestern German Ancestors - Where To Begin?
Researching early German settlers who helped establish Jamestown, the Dutch colony of New York, the  New Amsterdam, and the northeastern Quakers supports why Pennsylvania German settlements are so prevalent that family historians may come to believe that German ancestors populated these northeastern states and leaving only a smattering of German ancestors to settle in other regions - like the Midwest.  Nothing could be further from the truth! Historical documents, newspapers, and local histories tell us otherwise. Surely researchers are familiar with German Amish and Minnonites. (As a 6 generation of western Kansans, boy, do I know their story). But what about the German settlements in the Midwest? 

 German Settlements in Kansas

In Kansas researchers will find Russian - German settlements that were either Mennonites or Volga Germans. Read more at the Kansas Historical Society. 

The state of Kansas, (where I was born and raised and my mother’s family attended the Mennonite based school of Buhler High), has plenty of German ancestral resources that need to be unearthed. Ellis County, known as the “German Capital” was established in the 1870’s. Just to name a few known communities: Catherine, Herzog, Pfeifer, Liebenthal, Munjor, and Schoenchen. 

The Mennonite college archives of Tabor College must be researched. The Center for Mennonite Brethern Studies at Tabor College has a wealth of information on congregational and family records.  These records include church records, church histories, local histories and genealogies. 

In addition to the Mennonites,  let’s not forget the Bukovina region (historically Austria) of Europe immigrants who settled in Kansas in around 1886.  The Bukovina Society in Ellis Kansas offers a quaint museum for tracing Bukovia ancestors.  We can’t under estimate the need of comprehensive research of German-Ancestors in USA before tracing place of origin. The Bukovina ancestral research will lead you to the Eastern bloc as Bukovina is now part of Romania and Ukraine. Be sure to review the Bukovina Society of the Americas. 

Another great repository to visit for this research is at the Fort Hays (Ks) University’s Forsyth Library.

German Settlements in Missouri
Figure 1 Ozark Watch website
In Missouri, the early settlers of the “Rhineland” region covers 11 counties.

These settlers put grave interest in preserving their culture - language, food customs. The Missouri State Historical Society in MO collections can keep the attention of researchers in this midwestern state busy for an indefinite period of time.  



German Settlements in Indiana

We must not forget German settlements in Indiana, like the New Harmony German Settlement[1]  German researchers for Indiana will benefit by starting their research at the Indiana State Library.  Although not exclusively Indiana resources, this listing of resources compiled by The Indiana Chapter of Palatines to America is held on the Indiana State Library website.

Early German settlers of Indiana migrated to the larger cities or to German speaking communities (usually Swiss) after about 1825. Due to this early melding with other ethnic groups, I suggest German researchers in Indiana begin their search with the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

Researching Germans in Iowa

 
To begin German ancestors in Iowa it would behoove the researcher to start with the resources at the 

However, one of the a3Genealogy favorite online references is the Foundation for Eastern European Family History Studies. It is here that we located the Oldest Germans of Iowa List - 1895

Summary: 8 Great Resources
Clearly one blogpost cannot cover all of the midwestern states, but if you are looking for other midwestern state resources to move your German Ancestors here are 8 resource / repository tips: 

1. Historical Books

5. Society Journals

2. HathiTrust

6. Church Records

3. University Special Collections

7. Newspapers

4. History Museums

8. State Historical Societies

One last favorite share is  Don Yoder’s book entitled Rhineland emigrants: lists of German settlers in colonial America. This reference book can often be found local libraries in your community.

Happy German Ancestor Researching

Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com




[1] https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t69314v0h&view=1up&seq=20

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Using Freedmen's Pension Bill to Uncover Slave Ancestor

National Archives

Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files 1892 - 1922
In an effort to share overlooked research records that may assist in slave ancestry research, here is a small collection, but yet powerful, if your ancestor is named. The “Freedmen’s Pension Bill” was led by a Nebraska white newspaper editor but was championed by the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty and Pension Association (MRB&PA). It is often referred to as "the first mass reparations movement led by African Americans."

What was the Freedmen’s Pension Bill?”


The purpose was to obtain pensions for former slaves from the Federal government as compensation and reparations for unpaid labor and suffering. These records are held at the federal level in the Law Division, Bureau of Pensions, in Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs - Case Files Concerning Ex-Slaves (digitized) and M2110  but some digitized records  and add postings may be found on ancestry.com : Washington DC., Ex-Slave Pension Correspondence and Case Files,
1892 - 1922.
Information from Alabama to Colorado, etc. are represented in these case files.


Research Note: the effort did not yield the expected membership and was "shut down" by seemingly unsubstantiated fraud charges against leader Callie House. However, we often find that one town or county may have quite of few of his African American residents as members (i.e. Columbia, Boone County, MO).

Membership  Dues and Cards

Membership cost was just cents a month (ten cents to .twenty five depending on the year.. But for the genealogists, ex-slave ancestors name, age at time of membership, and place of residence. Often both husband and wife joined; carrying separate memberships which left genealogists with two membership applications, sometimes two case files.  

Learn More:

Note for SLIG participants: This topic was designed as supplement for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) Show Me Missouri:  Uniquely Missouri  - African American Research, presentation 13 Jan 2021. Keep checking back and follow blog, facebook page or linkedin to get updated postings (see below buttons). 

Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com




Friday, January 8, 2021

Locating Ancestor's Commonplace Book

Charles Lamb, Chronically America (LOC)

Let’s begin with What is a Commonplace Book?

Those who study history know that commonplace collections were not unique. It was a book that held tidbits: quotes, observations, information or points from literature or poems; a collection of knowledge for future references. I liken it to this blog. Although it’s questionable if one could call it commonplacing (yes, that’s the verb), it does not rely on my opinion, or hindsight thoughts, it's a collection of knowledge that can be used at anytime in the future (for the most part).  As I learn terms, research places, historical quotes, etc. I want to capture it in an loosely organized, but findable fashion as a reference.  Like a commonplace book, the idea is to capture these tidbits in a central, easily accessible holding place - a "commonplace.".  Whereas some of our ancestors used commonplace books to meet this objective, others used index cards.  Again the idea was the same.

In genealogy we use it most to understand the social impact and confines of one's ancestor; educational level, literary, philosophical, spiritual, and preferences relating to the arts. We learn of the people that influenced our ancestors.

But, let’s be sure not to confuse a commonplace book with that of a journal.  A commonplace book is a collection of other’s works, quotes, passages, etc.  A journal is a collection or capturing of ones’ own thoughts and are introspective and chronological.   

John Locke's Commonplace Book 
 Library of Congress

Researchers may find the mention of a commonplace book in Special Collections, University Libraries, Local Archives or amongst family files.  In the University of North Carolina Collections, the researcher will find a series of Memoranda, Commonplace books and Scrapbooks of Charles Fisher between 1821 – 1845. 

Commonplace books were quite popular in the early 18th century.  Think about the founding fathers.  It is through the commonplace books of Jefferson that we learn most about his daily life and endeavors in law. Jefferson’s Commonplace Book is digitized from 1762-1767 on the Library of Congress website.  But commonplace books were not just for the known and famous, your ancestor may have had one. The Library of Congress website is a great place to begin your research; however. 

Manhood, John Locke Commonplace Book

One actually can find commonplace books back to the 14th century - Renaissance Era - as they were common in Scotland and France and a preferred method of teaching and mentoring young scholars.  Many of the historical tutors required them for the learned. Early commonplace books appear to be filled with quotes and memorized or copied passages of literature. It is in these books that we can follow our ancestors’ interests, their biases in philosophies, and their preferences in the arts. 

Writers have historically maintained commonplace books. It’s great way to capture a quote once stumbled upon, but can retrieve for one’s writing in the future. 

Emerson: Newspapers across America, Sep 1912

A familiar author of a Commonplace Book was the clergy in early America. The a3Genealogy team located Joshua Bowles’1737 commonplace book at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEGHS) in Massachusetts. But they have everything we love!!

And yes, the priority of the family was to educate the men, giving women the basics to accompany domestic duties.  But women, too, had Commonplace books.  We found one useful one penned by Emeline A. Adens at the Kenneth Spence Researcher Library, on the University of Kansas Library. It was most of poems, but it leads descendants to learn more about Emeline and her scholastic learnings. 

Index of Kate Chopin

In the Missouri Historical Society the 214 pages of the 1867-1870 Commonplace book of Kate Chopin, is digitized. It is appeared she used the Locke method, based on her indexing style.

Entry from Kate Chopin

 Know that commonplacing is popular again. Not that it ever went out of style, but the practice has gathered steam in recent years especially among writers. 

May you have a commonplacing 2021.

Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com 



Thursday, January 7, 2021

5 tips to Researching Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Records


Was your Civil War ancestor one of the 400,000 Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) members? Finding these G. A. R. records and other state-held Civil War Union Veterans’ Association records can be challenging. Here are few tips, strategies, and resources to ferret out your Civil War soldiers’ post-war memberships to the GAR and other popular veteran associations. These records may include parents’ names, dates of births and deaths, and “new” military information. 

Finding G.A.R Posts Names and Locations
There are some resources that you want to protect. What if it disappears from the internet? When I found this G. A. R. posts name list with information on both the honored person name, remarks on the posts and references named I panicked. 

The a3Genealogy researchers as we find these lists across American states, we capture and save.  Why is this so important? Because it is through the names and locations of posts that we can chase our ancestors from one state to another.  


This Coffeyville, KS Post No 153 record located in the online Kansas Memory website allowed us to learn that one resident of Coffeyville, a member of the Post,  was actually born in OH.  As you review this book, you will note that none of these veterans were actually born in Kansas.  Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Alabama Civil War vets were found in Coffeyville, MO as members of this USCT post. In addition to finding birthplace, these records can lead me to their military service term and troop; the age leads us to otherwise hidden ages. 

Other Places to Research
1. Local Newspapers


2. The National Tribune
Did you know the newspaper "The National Tribune" pinpointed and detailed the activities of the GAR between 1877 - 1917? This newspaper can be found on the Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
The National Tribune

3. Library of Congress
The Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Societies provides the researcher with many resources.  Visit: Library of Congress onsite for more information. 

Library of Congress - G. A. R. by State

As mentioned earlier, the issue is that researchers need to not only the location of the post, the naming of the post and the members of the post are more difficult to find.  But this state list of G. A. R. posts does provide us with the post name and the location when known.   
4.  Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - G.A.R. Records Program
The depth of information compiled at the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - G. A. R. Program is a treasure trove. That is why a3Genealogy researchers rushed to print the full copy. It is here that researchers can explore the GAR posts by state.  


5. African American G. A. R. Comrades
Africans Americans too served in the Civil War, Union Troops. These U. S. Colored Troops (USCT) veterans were allowed to join their white Comrades across America. Others established colored posts in their small and large towns across America.  
Integrated G.A.R. Post

How to Research for African American GAR Comrades
Here are a few tips to aiding your research for African American Civil War veteran ancestors through G.A.R. records:
  • Identify the "black" posts : Search the GAR Records by State on the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War website.  
  • Find (ctrl + F) the word "African" "colored" and/or "black" within the listing to narrow your search to your African American Ancestors
  • Remember encampments: As mentioned earlier, African Americans may joined their white Comrades across America in integrated (or at minimum "open" posts.) But to narrow your search be sure to check newspapers for encampment lists of attendees.

Researchers may also note veterans / GAR black members listed in newspapers.  In the example above of newspaper searches, we were researching a Willis Cox, USCT.  There were other Willis Cox - which one was ours? Our brickwall was solved through GAR records when we learned one joined the military under the name of "Willis Mills." Military records further explained his name change in his pension files.  





For more information read the Introduction to the G.A.R. 

May 2021 find you healthy and in good cheer!
Kathleen Brandt
a3genealogy@gmail.com


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Married by Indenture - What is This?


What Is Indenture / Indentured?
An indenture is a legal contract between two or more parties which reflects an obligation or covenant between those parties. An indenture may also be called a "secured contract." We see them in Europe, Africa, and the Americas repositories when researching our ancestors. Here are a few common types of indentures that we may come across in our genealogy research.  (https://blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/tag/deeds/):

  • leases
  • bonds
  • apprenticeship agreements
  • marriage agreements

Indenture is not race based.  It is a legal binding contract.  So the term "indentured servants" which we are so familiar worth as it is commonly used in genealogy must be dissected. In this case we are talking about the legal work contract of servants. Note: slavery is not equivalent to indentured servitude, as it is not voluntary; thus not an agreement at all! 

"of his own free Will and Accord..."

I am not going to review indentured servant in the 17th and 18th centuries; but to again emphasize all indenture references do not imply "indentured servant" or labor contracts. In this case an indentured servant is contracted to labor for multi-years in exchange for passage or expenses of room and board. If the researcher is working in Colonial Courts contracts of indentured servants contracts were particularly harshly enforced. But, to summarize an indentured servant is essentially bound by a rather detailed labor contract. Again, race or nationality may be noted, but this was for the purpose of distinguishing physical, or personal detail.  

Indentures and Bonds
Other indentures are as common in our historical and in present day practices. Like the agreement of an indentured servant, these indentures may be tied to a bond contract with specifications outlined. Researchers will note that references of indenture often is associated with an issued "bond." A legal binding indenture governs all of the terms of a bond before a bond is issued. An indenture may include an obligated fee (or not).  It is a contracted agreement between a bond issuer and the bond holders or at minimum a court recognized contract. 
Irish Indenture 1766

What is most interesting is that many genealogists only appear to recognize the term "Indentured Servant." But, let's take a look at "married by indenture." Again, I want the genealogists to recognize that the word indenture is used in present day courts even in USA. And, it has nothing to do with servants, but again contractual agreements recognized by the courts. Take a look at this 1994 reference of "married by Indenture" in Burlington County, New Jersey (public notice: new Jersey Press Association: //www.publicnoticeads.com/)


How does a Marriage Indenture Benefit?

British indenture, 1831

In today's world we know quite a bit about a pre-nuptial agreement. Yet, marriage by indenture has terminology is not as common in daily language. But, it too is a contract - financially or not - tied to the marital property or the marriage itself.  It is always a pleasure when a widow's assets does not translate to a "payment for marriage," as that described above in the British 1831 case. An indenture of marriage can assist the "wife."  Read on about Alice Thaw and her indenture of marriage that protected her dower (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/66849492/fort-worth-star-telegram/): 


Readers of the a3Genealogy blog know that topics explored are most often reader generated. A question initiated by a facebook post led a reader to write for clarification of what does "married by indenture" mean? As I am not a lawyer, I can only share with you the genealogical application of this topic (I did reference the a3G office's copy of Blacks Law Dictionary). For a legal explanation, consult an attorney. 

Happy 2021
Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy@gmail.com



Sunday, December 20, 2020

Accessing Passenger List on New Netherland Institute Voyages

 

This is the cover page of New Netherland Institute - Be sure to Donate! (click here)

Where Are the Passengers' Names?
This tool is rather comprehensive for what it has captured. Reaching the passenger lists however, is not intuitive.  So you have to be ready to explore. 

Of course, the passenger list can be accessed if you already know the ship name AND the year that it arrived.  My Vosburg family were in New Netherlands before 1660 and I have no idea on which ship. So, off to a3Genealogy digging. 

This is a quick tutorial in 6 Steps. 

Step 1: Link to the Database: Voyages of new Netherland or https://airtable.com/shrMDlcIOR4lhG2hh

Opening View

Step 2: Find the “Hidden Fields” on the second line of the table. Here it says 108 Hidden Fields.  That has to hold great information! Click on “Hidden Fields” and you will get a drop window.  Choose “Hide All”, and all the green options will lose their green highlight.

Play with Hidden Fields. Toggle Off fields if not needed.

Step 3: Choose options to view from Hidden Fields. I choose the least options as possible since I have no idea of the ship name or the crew, and all I know is the ancestor’s surname.  Therefore, I activate the fields for Departure Years and for all 7 of the Passengers Recorded.  (I can choose crew, soldiers, also, but I’m searching for occurrences of ancestral surnames; and I find it easiest if I do this is small steps. Yes!!! There are 7 options of Passengers Recorded, so I scroll and click all seven if needed. I have no idea how or why this is divided as such but I noticed only Passengers Recorded_1 through Passengers Recorded_3 are populated (not 4-7).

Note: Your view is partially blocked as you chose this options, but you can see your screen being populated in the background. Click on the populated screen (to the right anywhere and the dropdown menu will disappear.  In the end you will get this view. Note there are passengers!

See Departure Years and SOME names that can be viewed under Passengers Recorded

At the bottom of this screen (not shown here) a note informs me that the database holds 248 records with Passengers Recorded, but I only care about the records before 1660. So let’s take a look at line 129,  Voyage ID v_152in 1651.  (Alternately you can ctrl+find on the full Grid View and search for your surname, and the entire Passengers Recorded listing is searched, but what if your spelling is one letter off?)

Step 4: Expand the Passengers Recorded field. 
When you click PassengersRecorded_1, on line 129 (see below) expand the view with the small blue arrow. 

Expand to see full passenger list

Or you can just chose the Voyage (v_152) and line number I want (129). Either way, the passengers are listed.  

Passenger Names
a3Genealogy and I have no association with the Institute; just a happy user.
Happy New Netherland Ancestor searching!
Kathleen Brandt