Sunday, November 27, 2011

Merry Christmas from Camp Olmstead Field POWs

Camp Olmstead Field 

During WWII, Pennsylvania held 26 POW Camps and 1 Japanese internment camp. Camp Olmstead Field in Middletown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania held at least 281 German POWs. 

Relationship with POWs
It is clear that POW’s often bonded or developed relationships while being held as prisoners of war. Perhaps this was the result of the War’s re-education program of POW’s as described in RG 389, File Unit 255.
The records in this series document the attempted re-education of German prisoners of war (POWs) along more pro-democratic and pro-American lines, as well as the cultural and religious life of POWs interned in camps in the United States and Europe.”  The subjects included attitudes, haircuts, education, and even “planning and releasing of American motion pictures to specific POW audiences
During WWII, 1944-1945, Charles H. Koegel, an American mechanic, served in the Army Air Corps at Olmstead Field, Pennsylvania. According to his son, he did speak German, implying he may have been a rather recent German immigrant. During Koegel’s WWII service, six German (or Austrian) prisoners of war worked under his supervision as mechanics in the motor pool. These POWs  presented him with this Christmas card (front of card above). According to family, Koegel often wondered what ever became of these men. The family still cherishes this Christmas card.
"In memory of the POW Camp Olmsted Field"
Although Charles H. Koegel died in 1994, his family would like to hear from any of these men or their families.
Johann Pentenrieder
Jakob Schmitz
Willi Beinert
Willi Stekelbach
Rudolf Kirchhofs 
Anton Neumann
Write us a note ( if you are acquainted with any of these POW’s.

Olmstead Field POW Camp Research
A good place to start your Olmstead Field POW research is in the National Archive holdings.  Here are a few links from National Archives Record Group 389:

File 255, Provost Marshal Textural Records 1943-1946

Camps - General: Olmstead Field, Middletown, Pennsylvania

Detention Rosters: Olmstead Field, Middletown, PA.  1942-1946

Kathleen Brandt
accurate, accessible answers

Friday, November 25, 2011

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Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mayflower Research

Copy of Mayflower Compact as written by Wm. Bradford
in History of Plymouth Plantation; Original of Bradford's text is believed
 to be held at State Library of Massachusetts
What Happened in 1620?
Funny how easy some dates are so easy to remember: 1492? I know you are thinking “Columbus sailed the ocean blue!” What if I ask about the year 1620? Does that ring a bell?  It was 11 Nov 1620 that the passengers of the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Colony, Provincetown Harbor (now known as Massachusetts.)

Was My Ancestor on the Mayflower?
It is quite possible that you are one of the estimated 30 million descendants of the Mayflower.  (The General Society of Mayflower Descendants gives a more conservative figure of 10 million descendants.) The Mayflower interest is not a privilege restricted to New Englanders. You may be a descendent and live in North Carolina, or California, or Alaska. Listing and contact information of Mayflower State Societies can be found at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants website. 

Of course some have bragging rights of carrying the same surname as one of the original progenitors.  Oh we know a few names by heart: Alden, Bradford, Brewster, Cooke. But surname alone does not prove lineage, you still must have papers to prove it. (Ask the Mayflower Society!)

Where to Begin Your Research?
I suggest looking at the Society of Mayflower Descendants websites for General Application Instructions.The rules are simple: document your descent from one or more passengers on the Mayflower voyage of 1620.  A good bit of information to know is that some of the passengers left “proven descendants.” 

Family researchers would be remiss if they did not visit The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants Library's online inventory and holdings.

Who Were the Passengers?
Copy of Mayflower Compact with Signers [1]

The Mayflower Compact - the first governing document of Plymouth colony was signed as an agreement by all of the 41 adult male members /passengers. Salvaged copies of this document provides the researcher with the names of these passengers.

However, not all have 
proven lines of descent, and many that are spouted about on the internet are incorrect. A good article to review is “Researching Your Mayflower Ancestors: Part IV: Internet Research: Sorting the Good from the Bad by Alicia Crane Williams: ( (Feb 2006). Hereinafter cited as "Res. Your Mayflower Anc. Pt. IV.") . Actually this is a good 5 part series to read if you are attempting to do this lineage society research on your own.

Many contemporary celebrities, US Presidents, and notables are proven descendants of Mayflower passengers. Perhaps you have already traced your lineage to one of these distant cousins. 

5 Valuable References
  1. The Mayflower Descendant Volumes; Mayflower Society Silver book is also known as The Five Generations Project books that are final volumes of completed works by the Mayflower Society.
  2. Mayflower Families in Progress (also known as the Pink books) are “Silver books in the making.” Not yet completed volumes these works in progress are soft bound and available for the researcher.  
  3. Silver and Pink books may be purchased at various websites, such as Pilgrim Hall Museum's as well as at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants website.
  4. Mayflower A website penned by Caleb Johnson is a great one-stop must have for any Mayflower researcher.  Great links and information are in one place. 
  5. The Women of the Mayflower Project, according to Heather Wilkinson Rojo, is a General Society of the Mayflower Descendant project with the goal of identifying the maiden names and families of the wives on the Mayflower. To learn more, visit Nutfield Genealogy, Women of the Mayflower Project written by Heather Wilkinson Rojo  (19 Sept. 2011).
[1] The Mayflower Compact And Its Signers with Facsimiles And a List of The Mayflower Passengers 1620-1920 by George Ernest Bowman, Editor of The Mayflower Descendant, Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Boston MA, 1920; pg. 19-20 holds a copy of the original "entire fifteenth and sixteenth pages of Morton's New Englands memorial"; online access 19 Nov 2011
However, the origin of this photo/poster has not been identified. A copy is held in author's file, but may very well be a poster as that sold on the Plimouth Plantation website:
Note:  a3Genealogy's family tree and document research for clients may be used for lineage society applications. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Lakes Passenger Lists Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880

They Didn’t All Come Through Ellis Island
There were so many ways to enter America at any given time. Most researchers rely on Ellis Island records, but, so many of our ancestors did not come through Ellis Island. There were entry ports from the east, south, west , north – as in Canada and the Great Lakes. Researchers often venture out to the other major 19th and 20th century U. S. arrival ports for immigration: Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans. But what about the Great Lakes?

Dutch through the Great Lakes
It is true that immigrants can be traced in ethnic clusters and their early American settlements.  This focus should begin with being acquainted with the purpose of emigration and the most popular routes taken.

Currently, I’m tracing a group from Dutch (Holland) that settled in the Great Lakes. Whereas other ethnic groups may have emigrated due to religious persecution, wars. political preferences, etc., a primary reason for Dutch immigration was to increase land and financial status.

Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880
The Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880 database “contains information on over 56,000 Dutch immigrants who came to America between 1820 and 1880. The information was extracted from the National Archives passenger lists of ships arriving at various Atlantic and Gulf ports. The list includes vessels disembarking at Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and other smaller ports.”

Further Research
Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan 
A good idea when researching passenger list is to also learn of the many ships that did not survive the passage. Many Great Lake researchers have already heard of the sinking of Lady Elgin, 8 Sep 1860. Over 300 passengers, mostly Milwaukee’s Third Ward Irish went down with her. If not, you may wish to reference Lost on the Lady Elgin by Valerie van Heest. 

Another good book to have handy: Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan, by Ted St. Mane. 

And, let’s not forget the Great Lake passengers who crossed through Canada. Although not a complete list, a good resource of Great Lake port crossings is the St. Alban's Border Crossings This collection is not limited to St. Alban, VT crossings, but holds records along the Northern border with Canada. Researchers may wish to become familiar with this collection through the New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestor’s page,
 St. Albans Passenger Arrival Records by Michael J. Leclerc  

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Favorite WWI Veteran

Veteran Day – Corporal George Strader
11-11-11 (Nov. 11, 2011)
George Strader was a WWI Corporal for the 805th Pioneer Infantry, AEF. He was born in Glendale Kentucky, 27 September 1894 and the son of James Nelson and Mary (Gaddie) Strader. He married Blanche Blanton around 1921 after serving in Europe and returning home. Strader, a disabled veteran was from Lyons, Rice County, Kansas. He enlisted 19 Jul 1918, died in Denver, Colorado 28 Mar 1954 and buried in the Ft. Logan National Cemetery. 

Strader was a part of Company D, and served in France. 

The story of Strader'sWWI helmet: read WWI Chandelier.

Kathleen Strader Brandt
accurate, accessible answers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Great Lakes Research - Through Wisconsin?

Cofrin Library Genealogy and Archives
It’s not the first time I  have touted the benefits and treasures to be found in University Archives or Special Collections. But why not highlight the Cofrin Library  at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. 

But any researcher who has tried to narrow Great Lake immigrants knows the difficulty in narrowing repositories that may hold ancestors’ documents: vital records, court records, and especially Citizenship Records to include Naturalization records.  So gathering an arsenal of possible repositories is key. The Cofrin Library home page clearly invites the researcher to visit their Local History & Genealogy or their University Archives.

What a sigh of relief when I found my Norwegian immigrant “Houdini” (and he was good at the disappearing act) at this repository.

Local History & Genealogy
At the Cofrin Library Local History &Genealogy page the researcher can search online indexes for nine counties for dates spanning from 1829-1963. An online Citizenship Records index covers several counties (years vary):
       Brown County
       Outagamie County
       Kewaunee County
       Manitowoc County

Various court record indexes are available for Shawano County.  An 1875 Plat Map and even various Will Book(s) index are available online for Brown County; Probate Case File index for Outagamie County.

Where to Begin?
Try the Online Index Search first.   Citizenship listings are even searchable by county. Be sure to llok at their Digital Collections

But Don’t Stop There?
As you peruse this website, you will see that many records are not indexed or online. However, you can request for a search and copies by using the Research Requests and Services (lefthand side).   I used this service to obtain copies of Declaration of Intention, Petition and Naturalization papers of my “subject”. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family Secrets Hidden in Your Shoebox?

Did you know 1000memories will be at the Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC), 19 Nov to feature their Shoebox App? 1000 Memories is offering a free scanning session at the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri, on November 19, 2011. The event starts with a class entitled, “Genealogy Clues In Your Family Shoebox” at 1:00 pm, followed by a tutorial on how to use the 1000 Memories website (a free password-protected website for sharing your genealogy) at 1:45 pm. Finally, you can scan your photos and documents from 2-4 p.m. with unlimited scanning.

The Goal
This “Memory-Sharing Platform [will] help Missouri families digitize photo and video collections for the holidays.

This free event includes unlimited scanning of photos and videos, a "show & tell" of great old photographs, and a short class on vintage photography.

Launching the week before Thanksgiving, Shoeboxology will show MGC participants how they can make family photo sharing a big part of their holiday. “It’s a time when families are together with the people who remember the stories and people behind the photographs” says Mike Katchen, director of business development at 1000memories. “That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of holidays to share these stories and save them for future generations”. It is open to the public.  Don’t miss out on this free opportunity! RSVP at

For More Information
Visit and the Press Release.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Don’t forget to RSVP at

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Sunday, November 6, 2011

African American Research in Society Journals

Are Your Ancestor’s In Plain Sight?
Are you receiving society journals to assist you in your research? There are County genealogy quarterly journals, like that of Itawamba Settlers, Itawamba County, Mississippi. There are State genealogy journals; like the Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal; and even town genealogical newsletters. The advantage to receiving and reading these journals is that they often publish transcribed newspaper articles, publish local an index of a local cemetery records book , or highlight land and legal (deeds, wills, etc) papers. But are you a subscriber? Have you missed an opportunity to research your ancestor? 
Society memberships usually carry a nominal fee, but I find the journals (sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly) to be extremely valuable. They are very helpful, when I’m researching a religious group or ethnic group.

I find it particularly helpful in African American research. Why? Sometimes family researchers stumble over fascinating things; often out of place and of no value to their own family research, but perhaps revealing of their local area research. They may decide to publish their findings in a local Journal as have John M. Abney and Carole Meltzer Goggin, who have published articles in the Missouri Genealogical Society (MoSGA) Journal.  In just one Journal, XXXI, No 3, 2011, published recently, several articles on slave and African American research were highlighted.  And although I’m featuring the MoSGA Journal here, these types of articles printed in genealogical journals are the norm not an exception. The key is to be a subscriber, and I must admit, I join these Societies for the Journals. But, there are other benefits of being a member. 

From One Journal
Life of Henry Valle (Colored)
John M. Abney highlighted the Life of Henry Valle (colored) known as Uncle Guito.  Henry M. Valle travelled to California and returned to Missouri with his master and purchased his freedom. He later returned to California to amass enough money to purchase his wife’s freedom. He also was one of 50-84 African Americans who helped defend Fort Davidson, Pilot Knob, Mo, from Confederate attacks Sept 1864.   This article held the transcription of Valle’s obituary printed in the Iron County Register, 27 March 1910.

African American Civil War Draft Registrations
Abney also extracted and compiled the African Americans Appearing on Civil War Draft Registration Registers for Missouri’s Third Congressional District. is the source of these extracted records, but Abney, has concentrated his MoSGA journal article for African Americans in the 3rd Congressional District to include county of residence, name and age.  Personally I was surprised there were almost 300 entries listed in this rural Missouri Congressional district.

Manumission Records at Jefferson County, MO.
Carole Meltzer Goggin in her article of A Few Jefferson County Marriages That Were Recorded At the County Seat – Herculaneum not only prints an index of marriages (not African American), but inserts a paragraph to inform the researchers that scattered in early Land Record Books of Jefferson County, Mo, were manumission records.
Why were manumission transactions recorded in Land Record Books? This was common practice in rural areas where there may have only been one place to record property acquisitions and transactions.  And slaves were property.  Keep this is mind when researching for manumission records in any county.

Colored Marriages, Jefferson County, MO
Goggin also provides us with a name index of almost 100 “colored” marriages extracted from the a book dated 1818-1847. However, she warns us that contrary to the dates on the book, the actual marriages recorded are from 1867-1879. 

Slave Extractions in Government Records
“Isam Williams appeared in Court and acknowledged bill of sale to RACHEL BANFORD, thereby manumitting and setting her free.”
This is just one of the entries Goggin extracted in her article Slave Extractions from Jefferson County Missouri Government Records.  The extractions included a free colored who “Emanumits” his wife, sale of slaves, and a slave who was indicted for manslaughter.  

Reasons to Join the Society 
I’m not sure you need more reasons to join the society that prints and publishes on the area of your interests and research.  I have stumbled over more than a few articles that have catapulted my research. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Berkeley Bancroft Library

Land Cases in California
If you are doing genealogical work in California and you haven’t perused the Bancroft Library collections, you are not panning for gold. There are original map surveys of the Ranchos, special collections, historical documents, and early maps of many counties. 

Ranchos ResearchOriginal Rancho papers and agreements are held at the Bancroft papers.  My favorite collection has become the Land Case Files circa 1852-1892  and the Land Case Maps, 1840 –ca. 1892

These Land Case files and maps are part of the private land claim cases. Land stealing and bickering led to the Act to Ascertain and settle Private Land Claims in the State of California in 1851.  “All holders of Spanish and Mexican land grants [had to] present their title for confirmation before the Board of California Land Commissioners,” or risk losing their land to public domain. There are 857 total cases that involved sometimes generations in families.  Since the average claim took 17 years to settle, you may find your ancestor buried in the paperwork as a witness, an opposing neighbor or in another legal capacity. This is also a great place to begin your early Mexican Californians (Californios) research.

Where Did They Live?The Bancroft Land Case File and Map collection (diseños) should not be overlooked if you are tracing your ancestor’s land plats. Using Google Earth Overlay functions I was able to pinpoint today’s landmarks on the historical diseños.  Many of the Land Case Maps are online.  With a quick Google Earth tutorial by Jenna Mills of Seeking SurnamesI was armed with the tools to overlay the historical map.

Keep in mind that the Bancroft Library has an extensive digitized collection. Many of the Finding Aid to Documents, Pertaining to the Adjudication of Private Land Claims in California and the Finding Aid to the Maps of Private land Grant Cases of California are available at the Online Archives California link.

Kathleen Brandt