Friday, November 26, 2010

Searching for Delaware Native Indians

Where Did They Go?

Algonquians of the East Coast
The Delaware Indians derived from the Delaware River, and originally occupied the state of New Jersey. In general the Delaware Indians moved from New Jersey to Ohio and then they were pushed west of the Mississippi in the 1820’s.

Many Delawares renounced their Native American citizenship as early as 1795.  They, (and other Ohio native American tribes), surrendered most of their Ohio lands with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville in 1795; and the remaining lands in 1829 when the United States forced the Delawares to relinquish all lands in Ohio and move west of the Mississippi River.

Using Census Records
1860 - The 1860 federal decennial census did not enumerate Native Americans, unless the families renounced their “tribal rule.”  If families were enumerated that would indicate that they were taxed in that community and not a part of a tribal life at the time of the census enumeration. 

Native Americans not living on a reservation or on designated Indian lands in 1860 were identified, often as white, for tax purposes on the census record.

1870 - On the 1870 census there was a specific indicator used to designate American Indians. 

The Delaware Indians were absorbed by the Cherokees (one of the Five Civilized Tribes). Others Delaware Indians who lived in the Cherokee territory may have participated in the “open land runs” or staked and purchased land, or married an Indian Citizen.

1880 - The Dawes Severalty Act, 5 October 1894, provided 160 acres to be given individually to each Native American family, and to slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes.  Many of the Delaware/Cherokee Natives claimed this land, since persons who were authenticated in the 1880 Cherokee Nation citizenship, or earlier, were eligible for these benefits.

It May Be Unlikely
It was unlikely for Native Americans of the Delaware tribe to:
  • not claim their land and government rights as they merged with other Native Americans to include the Cherokee Indians
  • be a part of the Ohio Militia or Iowa Militia, as these groups were formed to fight the American Indians
  • be enumerated as white citizens in the census prior to 1880.  According to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) website “few American Indians were included in the Federal census.” This resulted in them not being identified or enumerated between 1790 and 1840. [1]  
However, all of these sources, although unlikely, should still be checked closely, as well as the Native American rolls listed below.

1.      Dawes Final Roll
2.      Drennen Roll
3.      Reservation Roll (Arkansas Lands)
4.      1896 Census Application
5.      1880 Cherokee Census
6.      Guion Miller Roll
7.      Baker Roll
8.      Kern Clifton Rolls

Accurate, Accessible Answers

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Trends, Tehcniques, Technologies and Touching Visuals!

The Greatest of These: Touching Visuals!
FamilySearch Website
A true Professional Genealogists is in a constant learning state: newest trends, techniques and technologies.  But we also practice the forth T – touching! At any given conference you are thrust into workshops highlighting the new trends – emerging fields of interest like medical genealogy; and introductions to the newest and greatest societies, associations, and text; as well as peer-work.  New techniques to include researching references and updates to professional citing are plenty.  And of course “clouds” of technologies swarm the conference halls.  But with all the black and white, where is the grey?  The grey that lights up our sense of “touching” – making genealogy so real and personal - is that emphasized?  The grey of the past that makes it today’s reality?

The “Celebration of Family History” videos were overwhelmingly touching.  Matter of fact, I venture to say, that these videos reminded each present that our work as family historians and genealogists is not just of trends, techniques and technologies, but of a past that has made a bit of our present shadowed with the grey of the past.

The following videos are reminders to thread your family tapestry from the past to the present.  
Woven Generations
Woven Generations so dearly gives us the emotional ties that our immigrant ancestors had left behind. Connecting us through their voyage “from there to here.”

Letters from Estonia
Letters from Estonia gives us the taste of a forced separation of loved ones due to wars, and conflicts.  But, the touching story also allows us seek a healing bond by reuniting with the fragile family ties of the past.

Finding Emma

Finding Emma is not just another story of leprosy and a leprosy colony. It’s about the suffering of those who were afflicted, the heart break that affected generations, the unanswered questions that fell on the Kalaupapa (Hawaii) colony, probably not unlike others, but quite personal to the researcher who finds exile stories in their past.

Clan McCloud

Clan McCloud gives us the power of how learning and knowledge of our ancestors can bring the family together.  And this blessing was hailed and promoted through a child’s interest in the Great Highland Bagpipe.

Each of these videos somehow had a direct relation to my endless searches for clients and my research on my own family. It didn’t matter that my ancestors were not from Estonia neither did they have to suffer in an exiled colony. And in spite of the gratitude I feel towards my brothers for never picking up the bagpipe (we endured enough family damage with brother Todd’s clarinet lessons and brother Rhett’s constant drumming- and believe me basement music rooms are not far enough buried underground),  our family was united through music and performances.  Of course, early immigrant ancestors have united our family through reunions, and new friendships, even though I envision their travels to be far different from that depicted in Woven Generation.

The common thread in each of these stories is how our “ancestral learnings” connect each of us to the past in a rather peculiar, unique and precious way, each event making up a bit of our present self. 
Giving thanks to FamilySearch for making these videos available.

Accurate, Accessible Answers

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Medical Genealogy

When Genealogists and Geneticists Meet! 
Staying abreast of the trends in genealogy can be daunting, but is definitely necessary for the serious family historian or professional genealogist.  I attended a wonderful informative seminar Red Flags in Your Medical Family History,” hosted at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, MO.  The presenters, Debra Collins, MS, CGC and Julie Broski were from the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City. 

Although I have a rudimentary understanding of the topic, I walked away with a few vital pointers.

Why Now?
The Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies, has launched the Surgeon General's Family History Initiative to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history.  Thanksgiving has been declared National Family History Day, allowing for updates and information to be shared at an annual family gathering.

What is Medical Genealogy?
Medical Genealogy, Genetics for Genealogists, and Family Health History are all names we hear when referencing tracing and documenting one’s family medical patterns.  It is  not just the application of genetics applied to traditional genealogy; therefore, I prefer the term “Medical Genealogy” as I believe this keeps the family historian focused.  (How many geneticists do you know who are genealogists or family historians?).”

“Medical Genealogy is the practice of tracing and recording family health patterns that are unique to your family (hopefully to include three generations) in order for the family practitioner to analyze.
Defined by Kathleen Brandt - a3Genealogy,
 Not an official definition. 

Although genealogists and family historians are quite talented, we don’t want to cross the lines of diagnosing based on family history, or predicting life spans or early deaths based on information and patterns.  No excuses…even if the evidence points to this, doesn’t mean you will be memorializing Uncle Charlie on his 58th birthday. Our job is to recognize patterns and document them.

As a community, we can begin by gathering family data and creating a helpful family health tree. 

What is a Family Health Tree?
The Surgeon General website has provided Access the My Family Health Portrait Web Tool, that “helps users organize family history information and then print it out for presentation to their family doctor.” 
However, I prefer an At-a-Glance Medical Tree.  Once you’ve gathered your data/information, by following the symbols that are defined (or add some of your own), this tree can be a breeze, and useful to the entire family.
Where to Find Data/Information? 
  • The Information needed to complete a “family health tree” is probably in your files.  Take a close look at the cause of death on death certificates or obituaries.
  • Review medical records - we often get a copy of veteran medical records.
  • Take note of patterns: premature deaths, infertility patterns in women, birth defect patterns (I have seen some noted on census records), sibling patterns of illnesses, etc. 
The Goal
In the end you should have a tree completed like the one above.  I personally think it will be a work in progress, but it can be useful and your family and doctor will appreciate the work. 

Happy National Family History Day!

Kathleen Brandt

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Five Steps Closer to Your Greek Ancestor

Looking Hellenic

Looking for your Greek ancestors may be a challenge due to religious persecutions, migrations, wars, and more wars.  Oh, and let’s not leave out the name changing thing that happens on the long voyage from the homeland to America.  Although the voyage seems to encourage this bit of creativity, sometimes the American soil empowers our ancestors to live as pull-a-name-out-of-the-hat kind of people; making it practically impossible to trace them.  But don’t give up until you have looked in every crevice for hints and records. 

Basic Records Needed
Let’s pick up after you have gone back as far as you are willing to research and you have the “basic records” in hand.    Basics would include: census records, obituaries, death certificates, military records, birth, baptism, and death records of children Now, it’s time to start your Hellenic Dig. 

Remember the 1920 and 1930 census records give you hints on immigration and naturalization.  Please note I didn’t say they were accurate, but let’s start there for our excavating of Hellenic records.   

Why Hellenic and not Greek?
Hellenic - pertaining to, or characteristic of the ancient Greeks or their language, culture, thought, etc., esp. before the time of Alexander the Great.  Of course after Alexander the Great things changed, but the old culture is still considered Hellenic (purist!).  Keep in mind that you are searching all things Greek/Hellenic.

Next Steps

1.  Immigration -  Passenger Ship Records
The Ellis Island Foundation online database (free) is a great place to start.  But don’t limit yourself.  Be sure to widen your search to include Greek neighbors that may have traveled with your ancestors (census records may hold a clue).  And, be certain to use spelling variations.  Don’t forget the Castle of Gardens passenger records also. 

2.  Naturalization Papers
The ideal thing would be to find passenger records, and go straight to the Declaration of Intent and Naturalization records.  Voila, you have all the information you need on your ancestor’s Hellenic background. Final naturalization papers may also hold the Oath of Allegiance with their legal name change, along with family and birth information.  Then off to Greece you go. 

Back to reality. Your ancestor may have never been naturalized, they may have assumed a new last name using the pull-a-name-out-of-the-hat method, or they may have traveled under an alias name for some unknown reason.

Your ancestor may have recorded as having a Turkey, Asia Minor, or Serbian birth, even though they were Greek.  (This is another blog on history of the region).  They may have adopted their baptism date as a birth date; and then again, they may not have known their birth date, so it varied with the stages if the moon.  Cynical yes, but you get the point.  So in our realistic world, you may need to complete a few more steps before coming back to this one. 

3.  Social Security Application
Social security applications may or may not help.  But if nothing else, these applications often can verify parents names, birth places (a big key), and even an address which may guide you to parishioners information or local Hellenic Society for further assistance.  There are so many hints buried in this forgotten genealogical treasure.

4.  Voters Registration Application
I often hear that pulling voter’s registration applications are a waste of time and sometimes money.  But actually, this may be of more assistance than you think when looking for an immigrant. 

Know that if your ancestor was a registered voter, he was also a citizen of the USA.  Often their immigration and naturalization information is embedded on the application.  This may be necessary, to get to the actual Naturalization petition. 

5.  Passport Applications
It used to be easier to get copies of passport applications, but with all of the heighten security, the USCIS (formerly INS) takes a while to fulfill requests.  But it’s worth the wait, if your ancestor ever applied for a passport.

Passport applications may be the link to the naturalization number of your ancestor, or state restrictions, if an alien.  Be sure to scour every line and entry of this form.  It may be the key to #2-Naturalization Papers. 

For more Information

Happy Hellenic Searching!
Kathleen Brandt

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“But, It Doesn’t Follow Logic!”

Reviewing the Laws
1819 Virginia Laws/Codes
When an ancestor doesn’t do the expected, or it appears that at best they made a decision that seems truly insane, perhaps a look at the laws for this time period is a good idea.  The answers to some of the insanity may be buried in legislation books. 

Genealogists and family historians should never complete the story without the facts.  And a few minutes reviewing the laws of the time, especially in America history from the Colonial Period up to the Reconstruction era may explain it all. 

Did You Know In Colonial…?
  • 1683 Pennsylvania: a law united Pennsylvania with the lower counties (Delaware) and allowed for naturalizing the Swedes. All freemen were made citizens and all Christians were freemen, except servants and convicts. A similar law was repealed in Virginia and baptism no longer exempted you from slavery.
  • 1670 North Carolina: marriages were few before 1670, so our ancestors may not be in the church records.  Why? Only ministers of the Church of England were entitled to perform the rite of marriage before 1670, and few visited or settled in Carolina.  As a result, An Act Concerning Marriages (1669) was ratified by the Assembly of Albemarle to perform marriage ceremonies.
  • 1700 Massachusetts: June a law passed ordering Roman Catholic priests to leave the colony within three months, upon penalty of life imprisonment or execution. New York passed a similar law.
 Can’t Find Naturalization Records
  • Between 1855 and 1922 the law stated that an alien woman became a citizen automatically if she married a native-born or naturalized citizen. 
  • After 1922, a married woman alien had to obtain naturalization on her own. 
  •  Former black slaves were made citizens by the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868.
  • Expedited naturalization proceedings have been available to aliens who are Army veterans, since 1862; Navy veterans, since 1894; and wartime enlistees, since 1918.
  • Statutes during World War I and the permitted naturalization proceedings to take place abroad.  This law was also instated during the Korean War.   
Free-Colored (Creole) Ancestor Missing
Free coloreds were not created equal in the Gulf South.  Free Coloreds classified as Creoles were granted more privileges and rights than other free coloreds in the south.  This encouraged fair skinned coloreds (not all mulattoes) with an aire of an “uppity” class to blend in and migrate to Alabama and Florida.  However, these rights were soon ripped and your free-colored ancestors may have been on the move again.
  • 1833 Alabama recognized “Creoles of Color” and granted them advantages not otherwise afforded by “free coloreds.” This could explain why a free-colored ancestor would have migrated to Alabama.  One advantage was education privileges that “colored children” were not granted. Free Creoles' rights were stripped beginning in 1840, and enforced by 1850.
  • 1857 Pensacola Florida Free Creoles voluntarily exiled to Tampico due to local legislation that stripped them of their “civil” rights."
Can’t Find Your Native American Ancestors in Virginia 
  • 1850 Amherst County Native Americans were classified as “black free inhabitants” or “white” based on the racial community where they lived.  This also led to interracial family units for subsequent generations, no longer “Indian.”
  • 1880 to 1900 the Native Americans in Amherst County were forced by law in 1705 to be called "mulatto" and then called "black" in 1900, erasing records of “Indian”