Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Genealogy and Corporate Acquisition Records

Following Pilsen Brewery Records
As family researchers we know that employee records can be helpful in bringing down brick walls. Personnel records hold contact information, injury notes, occupation details and sometimes company newsletters hold biographies or employee announcements that may include information on our ancestors. But what if you can’t find the employee records? Did you research the company history to uncover acquisitions, corporate name changes or change in corporate ownership and culture?  A good example is a recent research I conducted on the makers of Pilsen Beer of Costa Rica

History of Pilsen Beer
Although the Pilsen beer is currently being manufactured as one of the 8 beers of Cerveceria de Costa Ricathis company (the Cerveceria de Costa Rica) is a subsidiary of the Florida Ice and Farm Company.

German, Dutch, Jamaican Proprietors
Jamaican brothers, Lindo Morales opened the Florida Ice and Farm Co in 1908 in La Florida de Siquirres Costa Rica to make ice for banana boats coming to Limon.  This explains the name “Florida Ice and Farm Company. To expand their business to include beverages, the Lindo Morales entrepreneurs acquired Traube Brewery in 1912. Jose Traube, a Dutchman, had established Traube Brewery in 1888 on the Torres River after having purchased Leona Brewery from German Guillermo Hege, who started his brewery in 1875.

Where to Locate Records
So from German, to Dutch, to Jamaican owners the Pilsen Beers makers have maintained the brewery in Costa Rica. Of course various towns and provinces have been home to the brewery and its headquarters.  For the researcher looking for their beer-making ancestors, employee records may be held within repositories of any of the brewery locations based on timeframes. Records may be located in the proprietor’s personal papers; or even within diaries and accounts of employees.  Deeds should be reviewed for land and company acquisition agreements.

Knowledge of corporate changes may explain our ancestor’s migrations to new towns in order to follow an industry or company.  A search of a town’s region may lead the researcher to discovering an ancestor’s employee. Don’t forget to peruse tax records also.

For more information on the Pilsen History with Florida Ice and Farm Co review the website. 

Offering a Toast to your Ancestor Research.

Kathleen Brandt
accurate, accessible answers

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