Saturday, November 21, 2015

6 New Genealogy Quick Look Resources

Free Indexed Collections - Midwest Genealogy Center 
Keeping the family researchers in mind, the Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC) has taken on a large indexing project entitled Quick Look.  The librarians and volunteers at MGC are once again helping genealogists everywhere to keep our promise: “leave no stone unturned.”  This time MGC has indexed, by name and by date, the following collections for easy online access. No library card needed, no fee, just a community service project that makes it easier for us to find “Great-Uncle Bob” or in my case Great-Aunt Mattie (see below).

What Is Indexed?
The following six collections have been indexed. For information on each collection visit the List the Collections page.
  1. Book Indexes to “some books” in MGC's reference collection.  This Book Index will take you directly to the MCPL Catalog entry for holdings and location of the book that holds your ancestor’s name.
  2. Independence Examiner Newspapers: 1900-1959
  3. Kansas City Social Registers Blue Books: 1924-1962
  4. Kansas City Star and Kansas City Times (newspapers): 1975-2006
    Be sure to review the List the Collections page for information.
  5. The Kansas City Call Newspaper: 1995-2001. This is a great resource for African American families. Know that African Americans across the Midwest reported deaths to “The Call”. In Kansas we have successfully located obituaries as far as Hutchinson.
  6. U. S. Railroad Retirement Board: 1936-2010. You can search the index to over 1.5 million pension records from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board for free online.  These pension files are held at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Atlanta. 
1-2-3 to Obtain Copies
The goal is to get a copy of whatever document is available - obituary, book page, RRB claim, etc. By providing the holding repository with the indexed information, they will be able to locate, copy and forward a digital or email copy of the information.  Note: RRB claims will be photocopied and mailed if available.  It's pretty simple, since you will just follow the screen prompts for your next steps. 

Mattie Singleton was my grandmother’s sister. I really knew little about her and have never seen her obituary. Would Quick Look have her obituary indexed?

  1. Search Index.

    Once a person of interest is located, researchers can request the actual document from the holding location.
  1. Analyze / Identify Options

    Her obituary was in The Call Newspaper
    Her birth date and death date were indexed
    Her burial place was provided
    Her parent’s and daughter’s names verified her to be the correct Mattie Singleton.  Note: This will only be entered if it was in the obituary.
  1. Submit Request

    If your request is for MGC, print copies are only 10 cents per page, but I prefer digital copies emailed to me - free!

    For a RRB Claims package, you will be directed to the National Archives at Atlanta website.  Here’s information on what will be needed to request a claim folder. But be sure to check the index first.  Plus you are guiding the NARA staff to the Record and Claim ID,  and Claim Location which usually results in a much quicker turn-around. 
Search Tips?
  • Researchers will want to visit the HomePage for Search Tips.  
  • Railroad Retirement Board Pension (RRB) Claims index will be most effective if you have a birth and/or death date for your ancestor as additional identifying information is not provided in the index. You will find only the surname followed by the first initial with a birthdate  to be indexed.
Although request retrievals are free (you only pay for copying), I suggest giving a donation - a token of appreciation - to MGC, a public library branch of Mid-Continent Public Library. Let them know we love their efforts and their support to our success.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Monday, November 9, 2015

Research University MO. Student Protests 1959-2015

Across America, Students joined in the efforts
“Injustice for One is Injustice for All.”
 Although University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. students may believe that the current protests are unprecedented, it is far from being so.  MU's student body and student athletes have historically fought against racism, and injustice on both the local and national level.  Columbia, MO., shadowed by St. Louis to the east and Kansas City, MO to the west, has historically been a popular location for racial change and protest against injustice. 

3 Places to Research Student Protests History - Columbia, MO
Accounts of student protests for racial change can be found as early as 1959  - five years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In The State Historical Society of Missouri historical researchers can locate papers of the Columbia Chapter of Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.).  C.O.R.E.’s philosophy was “nonviolence in the fight to end segregation and discrimination.” The Columbia MO. chapter, members predominately local students and faculties, was most active from 1959 - 1964, over fifty years ago. The student driven organization fought the issues of segregation, discrimination and on-campus racism through “pickets, boycotts, demonstrations, fastings, and sit-ins.”

Few realize that in Columbia, MO there are two other change-makers: Stephens College and Columbia College. And in the past, standing as a collective group, students from these three campuses fighting and protesting racial issues and injustice has proven effective.

  1. Collection C2508, The Congress of Racial Equality Papers, contains constitutions of the national and local C.O.R.E., minutes, membership lists, clippings, and correspondence. It is not comprehensive, but a great source for Missouri researchers.
  2. Stephens College Archives, Columbia MO.
  3. Newspaper Research
 For information on St. Louis CORE chapter visit Dagen, Margaret and Irvin History of St. Louis Core Collection, 1941 - 2000, collection S0661 at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Kansas City researchers may wish to begin by reading Leon Mercer Jordan, The Founder of Freedom, Inc. This manuscript can be located at the Missouri Valley Special Collections in the Missouri Public Library.

Student Fasting

Even students fasting for change, is not new in Columbia, MO.  There was a rather long and lengthy fasting movement involving the Stephens College women student body and the students from Mizzou in 1965, as well as their faculties. At that time the students were protesting U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, again under the banner of “injustice for one is injustice for all.”

Athlete Involvement
Even fifty years ago the athletes were pivotal participants in on-campus change.  One basketball player, self proclaimed “progressive white student” from south St. Louis, John Logsdon was the president of the Columbia, C.O.R.E. chapter, 1962 - 1963. Of course race relations has improved since Logsdon’s presidency of C.O.R.E.  In a reflective article written 13 Nov 2013, entitled Columbia’s Core, John speaks of the one black person, Malvin West (BS BA ’62) that was shunned in 1960: “No white student in the class would sit next to him.”  It was Malvin who invited Logsdon to his first C.O.R.E. meeting.

About Core
Logsdon’s account of the Columbia MO. C.O.R.E. chapter states that active students were “half black, half white; many of the white members were women from Stephens College.”  C.O.R.E was a national organization founded in 1942. Chapters of C.O.R.E worked and supported many other civil rights groups to desegregate public facilities, organized Freedom Rides, participate in the March on Washington, 1963, but in Columbia, MO, the local efforts concentrated on campus segregations at University of Missouri and student racism.   

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New 2016 Civil War Presentations

Southern Claims Commission's "Interrogatories" (partial)
Many are already planning for 2016 workshop schedules.  Here are two new presentations offered by Kathleen Brandt, a3Genealogy.  Workshops can be tailored to your interest (state interest, i.e. "What's available in Missouri? -any state or event, i.e. Black History Month, etc.)

Claim It!  - Civil War Treasures
Southern Claims Commission Records / Slave Claims Commission Records

Researching slave-holders in bordering states or your slave-ancestors? The Southern Claims Commission Records and Slave Claims Commission Records are rich in genealogical treasures (to include Missouri). These collections of property claims hold the names of claimants / slave owners, names of slaves and last slave owner, and accounts from witnesses that often tell family secrets. You may uncover family letters, Bibles, wills, personal accounts and more.

Audience:  Civil War Veteran Research
                   Slave Research

7 Tips and Hints to Post-War Research of Civil War Soldiers
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) & other Civil War Union Veterans’ Association Records

Was your Civil War ancestor one of the 400,000 plus G.A.R members? Finding these
G. A. R. records and other state-held Civil War Union Veterans’ Association records can be challenging.  Learn strategies and resources to ferret out your Civil War soldiers’ post-war memberships to the GAR (1886 - 1956) and other popular veteran associations. These records may include parent’s names, dates of births and deaths, and “new” military information. 

Audience:  Civil War Veteran Research
                   Slave Research - ancestors may have join integrated or segregated post.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Genetics and Genealogy

Can DNA Uncover Health Hints?
Staying abreast of the trends in genealogy can be daunting, but is definitely necessary for the serious family historian or professional genealogist.  

Why Now?
In 2004, the Surgeon General, in cooperation with other agencies, 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. There's even a "My Family Health Portrait Tool" to enter your family health history and learn about your risk for conditions that can run in families. But can genetics and genealogy really paired?  The answer is yes. 

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, 2010. 

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.  Our job is to recognize patterns and document them.

What Traits and Health Analysis Discovered via DNA?
As a community, we can begin by gathering family data and creating a helpful family health tree. You may also want to include the 23andMe limited health analysis approved by FDA standards, using DNA. Know that only 23andMe include the following reports:

Carrier Status: are you a carrier for an inherited condition? This includes cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, Hereditary Hearing Loss, Sj√∂gren-Larsson Syndrome and more. To see the list of possible reports from A - Z visit the All Carrier Status Reports. You may also find it interesting that some genes are most notable within ethnic groups. This is a great place to visit to learn about common diseases if you are of French Canadian , Ashkenazi Jewish, Danish, Finish of African heritage. 

Food Preference: Most would agree that DNA can affect lactose intolerance, and muscle composition. It's not far fetched to believe that DNA can affect alcohol flush reaction, but can DNA really affect caffeine consumption? According to 23andMe the answer is yes.  Learn more at Wellness Reports (scroll down linked page.)

Traits Report: Of course genetics play a part in your "likelihood of having certain characteristics" to include the color of your hair and facial features, but the list of 23andMe Traits reports include  whether an individual will have asparagus odor detection.  Yes, Asparagus Odor Detection! There are over 20 traits reports.  

Although interesting, much of this DNA scientific finding is not helpful unless you are digging into your medical genealogy.

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.” 
Using this tool, genetic genealogists may create 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 and can be reviewed by your geneticists if necessary.

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.  Your family and doctor will appreciate the family research. 

Happy National Family History Day!
(adapted from Medical Genealogy, Nov 2010)

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spanish-American War/Philippine Insurrection

6 More Places to Locate Records
So you’ve checked with the microfilm, M860, General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers, and M881, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. And, your ancestor is listed as having served in the Spanish American War (1898) or Philippine Insurrection (1899 - 1902).

So you filled out National Archives Trust Fund (NATF) Form 86 Military Service Records and the patented response of “No. We are unable to locate the file you requested above. No Payment is required” is in your mailbox. Why?  We know the compiled military service records and the carded medical records of volunteers for those who served in the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection should be in Washington, D.C Archives I.  (See An Overview of Records at the National Archives Relating to Military Service).  But, your ancestor’s files can’t be “located!”

Where Are The Records?
Many years have passed since the 1898 - 1902 era and this war…well… barely made the history books requiring the typical researcher to piece together disjointed service record information with troop information to recreate their ancestor’s military experience. We have found Spanish American War records in the most obscure places. Learn more about the Spanish American War (1898) and Philippine Insurrection (1899 - 1902) 

1. Adjutant General's Office
In many cases soldiers were called up from the National Guard to serve in this war. So you will want to begin with the Adjutant General’s records for the states of enlistment (and discharge if different state). Many of these records are no longer housed at the Adjutant General’s Office but one key to a successful search is knowing your ancestor’s specific infantry, regiment and company.
Four key searches:
  • Adjutant General records (not all states)
  • Hathi Trust collection which includes additional states.
  • National Archives RG 94.
  • Adjutant General’s Office for hints on archival locations. 
2. Troop Activities
It is possible your ancestor served under more than one troop. The key to following an ancestor’s movement within the military may be told by following the troop's activities. Be sure to keep an eye out of where did the troop go and where /when was unit discharged. You may wish to begin with RG 391: 

3. Pension Application Files
If your ancestor lived past 1922, a veteran, widow or dependent pension application file may be included. Review NARA, RG 15.7.3 Pension application files based upon service in the Civil War and Spanish-American War("Civil War and Later").

4. Bibliography Search for Record Keeping Hints
Here's a bit of information that may give you a lead. The Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection, 1898-1902 by Mark Barnes is our go-to book on this topic: Be sure to check the bibliography for hints to where author got information.  

5. State Archives
Certificate of Disability for Discharge
Some state archives hold volumes of textural (not microfilmed) Spanish American War records.  New Jersey State archives “has 122 volumes of Spanish-American War records.” For an easy access to these records, be sure to reference catalog for your ancestor’s state.  Where as Kansas Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection records may be found at the Kansas Historical Society.

6. Spanish American War Centennial Website
Have you reviewed the Spanish American War Centennial Website?  This site is great for battle reports and accounts, and gravesite recordings. The Unit Profiles, Rosters, and Photos have proven to lead researchers to bringing down brickwalls.

Kathleen Brandt

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rival Research Ohio vs Michigan

Library of Congress
The Toledo - Michigan Strip Records
When a war fails to produce even one casualty, and  the only shots fired were warning shots up in the air, not much is written on the conflict. Researchers are accustomed to finding an abundant of documents on wars but the Toledo War, also called the Toledo- Michigan War, or Michigan-Ohio War, 1835-1836, is mostly unknown.  This bloodless war stemmed from the pending ownership of the Toledo Strip.

Researcher Woes
Our ancestors may have settled in the Michigan Territory as early as 1805, with a large settlement encouraged by the 1812 War. But Michigan was not admitted to the Union until 1837. Of course Ohio had been admitted into the Union in 1803, two years before the establishment of the Michigan Territory. For information on the conflict read Settlement of Michigan Territory, George N. Fuller, written in The Mississippi Valley Historical Review.  Additional history can be found in ‘Governor In and Over the Territory Michigan,’ Michigan History Fall 1975, 153:170.

This conflict however has caused family researchers scrambling on both sides of the strips to find ancestral records. To add to the confusion, know that the settlers moved from one county to another and rarely stayed loyal to a community. 

A-B-Cs to Follow the Conflict

Toledo Blade, 26 Apr 2003
A.  Where's your Ancestor?
The first challenge is to locate your ancestors’ movements throughout the region. Starting with a full cluster of family unit names, we suggest you follow the Territorial Papers.  Territorial Papers were full of appeals, petitions and memorials to Congress where our pioneer ancestors signed their names for the records. 

B.  Who has Records / Documents?
Contact local, county and state repositories for possible deeds, wills and probates and land records. Know that they are rarely where you expect, and as usual counties shifted boundaries. 

C.  Star Record Group?
Many of the settlers served in the 1812 war. may have digitized your ancestors’ records.  Interestingly, the soldiers or widows petitions often include births and names of each child. It may also include full names of previous wives or subsequent husbands.  In one case we uncovered that both the husband and oldest son died in war.  These records were the key to unscrambling a pesky common surname research project. The same widow’s pension produced information on the marriage county and date, leading us to obtaining a copy of the original marriage record.

7 Key Research Suggestions

  1. The Territorial Papers of the United States, v.10. 11 and 12
  2. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections  vols. 36 and 37.  Other volumes may also be relevant.
  3. U. S. Serial Set. Petitions and memorials were uncovered in the files of the Senate and House of Representatives.
  4. Detroit Gazette. A nice collection for issues published between 1817 to 1827  has been digitized by Google News. There is also a splattering of 1828 issues.
  5. Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
  6. Western Michigan University Archives.
  7. Michigan- Toledo Strip Land Grants / Patents.  Using the “Michigan-Toledo Strip” Meridian for both Ohio and Michigan may give information on your ancestors’ residence and migratory path.
Expand Your Research
Nearby Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin repositories also proffered relevant documents.
Kathleen Brandt - A Wolverine!
Accurate Accessible Ancestors

Monday, July 27, 2015

Court and Prison Records for Narcotics and Liquor

Leonard McCray, Inmate Number 2541, at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, National Archives
Was Your Ancestor a Federal Inmate? ( Like Ginnifer Goodwin's)
We were all glued to our TV screen as Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) featured the family of Ginnifer Goodwin.  During the show, the questions poured in.  So here is the promised research blog of how to find records of your incarcerated federal prisoner. 

Opium, 1922
Most would believe that during the 1920’s prohibition violations would have populated the prison system.  However, in reality it was drug offenders: morphine and cocaine.  The KC NARA webpage states “Leavenworth had so many drug violators that they formed their own baseball teams. The "Morphines" and the "Cocaines" squared off in an annual contest to determine the best baseball-playing dope violators in the institution.” 

Palatka Florida News, 1921
However, narcotic records were not classified as archival, and were marked to be discarded after 30 years.  For example the Leavenworth Federal Narcotic records for prisoners held in the Leavenworth Federal Annex were destroyed.  But many of these inmates appear later with other offenses.  To ferret ancestor's prison records, be sure to review each regional branch of the National Archives (NARA).  We have found inmates convicted in Arkansas. sentenced to Leavenworth, but court records were archived in NARA-Atlanta.
Liquor Licenses
Federal Prohibition Agent
If your ancestor requested a liquor license, you may find his application in the records created by the Federal Alcohol Control Administration “Liquor Licenses,1920-1934".  You may also find earlier IRS license stamps in other local repositories.

Federal Court Records
U. S. District Court Records are located at all of the National Archives locations, with each holding the District Court records for the states in their region. However, the Federal Penitentiary Inmate Case Files are held only at the following NARA regions: Kansas City, Alcatraz, Atlanta and McNeil (state of Washington).*
(*Paragraph Correction Made: 7 Aug 2015)

 10 Hints in Federal Prison Records 
  1. Mug Shot - These pics are clear, and the person is definitely identified.
  2. Record Sheet -To include name, crime, violation (some surprisingly minor) and dates.
  3. Personal Data Sheet - Birth, education and religion. Often includes spouse and parent’s name.
  4. Fingerprints - These records include marks and scars.
  5. Daily Work Record -Reports our ancestors’ daily life in prison. 
  6. Hospital Record - Medical records are often difficult to obtain for ancestors, but prison records proffer the information without a fuss (up to 1952). 
  7. Correspondence Log -These records may hold the post office and state of correspondence. This kind of information may assist a researcher to a family’s whereabouts. 
  8. Personal Correspondence - Although letters were considered private property of inmates, they may have been confiscated and preserved due to a violation
  9. Trusty Prisoner’s Agreement - Perhaps your ancestor was remorseful and on the mends.  He may have been allowed to work outside the walls or in a low level job inside.  That might give a happy closure to those sleepless nights.
  10. Sentence of Court Case -We all have used court cases to further our research and you definitely wouldn’t want to disregard this one.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, July 26, 2015

a3Genealogy and Who Do You Think You Are?

Kathleen Brandt of a3Genealogy researched for 
Ginnifer Goodwin Episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, 
aired TLC, 26 Jul 2015. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

9 Resources for Researching Your Alaskan Veteran

Alaska Veterans from 1867 -- 
What You Should Know
To review the Military History in Alaska, 1867-2000 visit the Joint Base Timeline.

African American Army Engineers – WWII Alaska
Many know about the Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen, but few remember the African American Tuskegee (Alaska – Canada) Alcan Highway contributions during WWII. Be sure to read the history on American Experience. The completion of the Sikanni Chief River Bridge in Oct 1942 is credited as ending segregation, after a long fight, of the U. S. Military in 1948.

Women Veterans
By 1994, over 1500 Native American women and Native Alaskan women served in the military. At least 60 Native American women served in the Eskimo Scouts before 1980.  According to a 2013 Alaska Business article Ceremony Honoring Alaska’s Women Veterans at State Capitol over 8500 female veterans live in Alaska.  Be sure to read Native American Women Veterans.

Where to Begin Veteran Research
1.      Alaska History and Cultural Studies provides an overview of the importance of military forces in Alaska. 
2.      Federal Records may be located at the National Archives - Pacific Alaska Northwest Region in Seattle, WA.  This collection holds Alaska Military Post Returns (1867 – 1916) and is a great resource for officer research, as well as reviewing unit events.

WWI Selective Service System Draft Records, 1917-1918. 
3.      With Alaska having such a reputation for WWII, many researchers fail to review the Alaska WWI Selective Service System Draft Records, 1917-1918.  Over 16 thousand WWI draft registration cards can be located on the FamilySearch website.

Alaska State Archives – WWI
4.      WWI Service Personnel Information 1923 lists WWI soldiers, residence, branch of service, enlistment and discharge dates, and more for the Territory.
5.      Alaskans Military Deaths compilation provides death dates and cause of death along with branch and additional military information of service personnel. 

National Cemeteries
6.      Fort Richardson Cemetery archives in Anchorage, holds information on WWII military burial records. Although many veterans were re-interred in their home cemetery, many remained at the Ft. Richardson Cemetery.  Read  history of National Cemetery of Ft. Richardson. For a listing of Veteran Administration (VA) recorded burials visit the Ft. Richardson website or Find-A-Grave (6678 names provided).
7.      Sitka National Cemetery, 1868-1870 established in Sitka, AK is administered by Ft. Richardson National Cemetery. Review VA burial records at for Sitka National Cemetery. or (1317 names provided).

Alaska Veteran Museum
8.      The Alaska Veterans Museum, located in downtown Anchorage, opened April 2011. Read news article: Veteran Musuem Opens Downtown. Visit the Alaska Veterans Museum website for their oral history collection, documentaries, and other military artifacts.

Looking for Native American Veteran Research?

9.      Researchers of Alaskan Native Americans must not bypass information on the WWII (1942 – 1947) military reserve force Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG), often referred to as the “Eskimo Scouts.” Begin research efforts by reviewing Office of Veterans Affairs ATG.  An ATG roster may be found here.  Be sure to visit Searching for Veterans on Alaska’s Remote Edges.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Monday, July 13, 2015

Researching Alaskan Settlers, Railroad Workers & Gold Seekers

Anchorage Centennial Highlights Genealogy
Part I of Alaska Series
If you have ever attempted research on that adventurous ancestor who headed for Alaska, you have probably found a shortage of records.  But this is one region that you must periodically revisit to uncover newly found records. Alaska seems to be late bloomers in jumping on the genealogy train, but it is chug-chug-chugging along now. And, with Anchorage celebrating their centennial, my recent visit (Jun 2015) introduced us to some new finds that helped meet research goals.

Celebrating the Anchorage Centennial has forced many to take a strong look at the history of this “tent city” which exploded in 1915 thanks to the commitment to building the Alaskan railroad. Know that the city was not incorporated until 1920.  

5 Anchorage Resources  - Not to be Missed
Tent City. Anchorage Museum
  1. Land Auction Records: 10 Jul 1915 there was a Great Anchorage Lot Sale / Land Auction. Read about the 1915 land auction.  The Alaska Engineering Commission Record Book, salvaged from the trash, was noted in the Alaska Dispatch News on 14 Jun 2015. This is the earliest ledger book that bridges the tent city to land ownership in Anchorage.  This record book holds names of Japanese, Slavic and Scandinavian settlers of Anchorage. It “lists purchasers, sales prices and initial payments of townsite lots …between 1915-1917.” 
  2. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records:  this resource will confirm the land patent of your ancestor.  And, don’t forget in Anchorage the town was settled in 1915, but most land patents were about 1921. These records were vital in a study of the expansion of the Russian Greek (Eastern Catholic) Orthodox Church. For more information on the Russian Church and native Alaskan Culture visit the Library of Congress website.

    Although an image is not online, we were able to confirm the 1964 Alaska homestead of Mahala Ashley Dickerson, the “first black female attorney of Alabama” who homesteaded and practiced law in Alaska. For more information on M. Ashley Dickerson, read her autobiography Delayed Justice For Sale.

    Side Note: Many overlook the ex-slave and free-coloreds that settled in Alaska before the turn of the century. Here is an 1897 account of an ex-slave who made a handsome amount panning in the Klondike. He was returning to Georgia to save his late slavemaster's daughter.
  3. Black Gold Miner,  ex-slave St. John Atherton, 1897
  4. Consortium Library’s Archives and Special Collectionsthe University of Alaska Anchorage houses Alaska’s Archives and Special Collections. This holding includes historical manuscripts, photographs, audio, books, and exhibits. One of the favorites is George Harper’s Black in Alaska Exhibit, which included “Blacks in the Gold Rush.” For more information on Blacks in Alaska visit the Guide to George Harper’s Blacks in Alaska History Project.
  5. Cook Inlet Historical Society: a great place to start if your ancestor settled in Anchorage in the “early 20th Century.” Search the database list for Anchorage 1910-1935  Legends & Legacies for your ancestor’s name, or contribute facts on your ancestor for inclusion. Some settlers came for the gold rush, others for the Alaskan railroad. We also see Natives Americans who chose to settle  in Anchorage, miles away from their home community. We suggest the sources of the stories be confirmed, as some may be of undocumented oral history. 
  6. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA): located in Seattle, WA., researchers can access microfilm holdings of “censuses of Alaska Native villages; naturalizations; records of the Alaska Railroad, the Russian-American Company, and the district and territorial governor of Alaska, 1884 -1958; and townsite deeds and deed books.”
Other Great Resources
There are so many other outstanding places to research in Anchorage (and other cities in Alaska).  Before visiting Anchorage, be sure to visit the Familysearch website. We have found the Probate Collection to be a key to unlocking that adventurous ancestor.

If you are looking for the best Photograph Collection, visit the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson CenterThis collections houses more than a half a million photographs.  Be sure to review the Collection Guides.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Vancouver Genealogy Tips - European Immigrants, Chinese and African American Ancestry

Vancouver Public Library, visited 3-4 Jul, 2015
photo Safdie Architects
Where to Start in Vancouver, British Columbia?
Many a3Genealogy clients are seeking their American born ancestors that settled in Canada, or their immigrant ancestors who travelled through Canada to settle in the USA.  Either way, don’t forget the upper northwest early records to include Vancouver Canada.

If you doubt if researching ancestral histories from British Columbia can yield positive results, look no further than the Vancouver Public Library.  The periodic newsletters found on the website will give you a glimpse of the activities, efforts, and events to assist researchers in their genealogy pursuit.

Online Start
British Columbia Archives at the Royal BC Museum website has indexed births (1854-1930; deaths 1872 – 1993, colonial marriages (1859-1872 and baptisms (1836-1888). Additional Newspaper Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1911-190 may be found on

British Columbia Cemetery Finding Aid Database has over 344, 000 entries from 264 cemeteries. Be sure to check the Vancouver, Mountain View Cemetery Index, 1887-2007, online at

British Columbia Genealogy Records Online include an abundance of links. For example,  Sessional Papers of the Government of British Columbia, provide estate information. Extracts may be found on Roots Web as is for 1861-1863.

Asian Ancestor Search

Vancouver, British Columbia Passenger Lists records Chinese Arrivals, 1906-1912 and 1929-1941 on  Remember your ancestor may not have travelled directly from Asia to United States.  We were able to uncover a listing of Hong Kong born immigrants passing through Vancouver with their final destination as Chicago. 

Runaway Slaves in Vancouver?
Many researchers looking for their African American ancestors fail to realize that in the1850’s, about 800 free African Americans migrated from California to Vancouver.  These free coloreds were active in assisting ex-slave escapes.  One story well documented is Free Boy: A True Story of Slave and Master by Lorraine McConaghy. The underground railroad does not commonly include the upper north west of the USA or Vancouver.  However, there are newspaper accounts of escapes from slavery with the assistance of free-colored settlements in Vancouver. 

By the Civil War approximately thirty thousand runaway slaves found refuge in Canada. Many returned to the USA after the Civil War.  Review: Black Canadians on the Historica Canada website. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day and Pledge of Allegiance

From Kansas to You, History Written 1917
As a born Kansan (6 generations ), might I brag that the original Pledge of Allegiance came from Cherryvale, Montgomery County, Kansas, close to Coffeyville.
Transcription: The Denison Review, Denison Iowa,
Origin of This Sublime Salute to   the Stars and Stripes.


The Tribute Our School Children Pay to Old Glory Was Written by a Kansas Boy Who Was Inspired by the Patriotism of a Kansas Woman.

Half a hundred boys and girls, eyes  glistening and voices thrilling, chant  the flag pledge in unison, and at the  close half a hundred right arms are thrust forward and upward, the better  to wave a half a hundred little American flags. 
That Is the scene presented to the visitor in any public schoolroom in America on Washington's birthday or flag day or any other occasion of a patriotic program. 
America owes its flag pledge to Kansas.' It was written by a Kansas boy and inspired by a Kansas woman.  Here is the story: 
A little more than twenty years ago Mrs. Lillian A. Hendricks of Cherryvale, Kan., was an untiring worker in the Women's Relief corps, an auxiliary of the G. A. R., and held the office of patriotic instructor in the Cherryvale organization. The mother of two boys, she wanted them to grow up with the spirit of her ancestry, which led back to John Cary of Revolutionary war fame, and she entered- upon her duties as patriotic instructor with enthusiasm.  She followed the custom of her official predecessors in visiting the schools and talking to the pupils about the glories of the country and its traditions. But she went farther. She introduced the principal of the high school to set aside a recitation hour, during which the sixteen members of the class of 1896 wrote their ideas of their debt to their country and their duty to its government. 
One member of the class was Frank E. Bellamy. His tribute impressed Mrs.  Hendricks so much, when it was gathered up with the others and sent to her for inspection, that she preserved it. 
With 1898 came the Spanish-American war, and one of the first to volunteer his services to the country was Frank Bellamy, then twenty-one years old. He joined the Twentieth Kansas Infantry as a member of the regimental band and went to the Philippines, where he remained until the Kansas fighting force returned to the United States and was mustered out. 
But in the meantime, in 1899, with the fervor of patriotism which the war with Spain aroused, came the decision of a conference of representatives of the patriotic organizations of the country that a pledge of allegiance was necessary to inculcate a love of country in the generations to come. Throughout the states the submission of suitable sentiments was invited, and the W. R. C., through its state departments and through local corps like the one at Cherryvale, took it up. Mrs. Hendricks, whose love of the Stars and Stripes was something very much like worship, thought at once of the pledge of allegiance written by the high school boy who now was with Uncle Sam's fighting men across the Pacific, and she submitted it to the national committee which was to make the selection. Out of thousands upon thousands of manuscripts which reached the committee  and were read and passed on, the pledge of Frank Bellamy was chosen as the one expressing in fewest words and  strongest phrases the loyalty of an American to his flag and to the land of his 'birth or adoption. So it came to pass that the Kansas boy author of the "flag pledge" is numbered with Francis  Scott Key, author of "The Star Spangled  Banner, Joseph Rodman Drake, author of "The American Flag, Dr. S. S. Smith, author of "America," and others from whence pens have come undying expressions of loyalty to our country. 
Frank Bellamy returned from the Philippines shattered in health by his stay in the tropics. It is an interesting fact that he knew nothing of the adoption .of his pledge of allegiance by the patriotic societies of America until Mrs. Hendricks told him when he arrived in his home town.
"We are proud of you, Frank," she said "and the national W. R. C. has passed a resolution thanking you for writing it."  The boy flushed. "It didn't express half "what I tried to write," he said. 
The physicians who examined him on  his arrival home found that the white plague already had him In Its grip and ordered him to the mountains. He went to Colorado, and, since he could no longer follow music as a vocation, he took up art, for which he also had a talent, and, his own mother having died, he looked to Mrs. Hendricks for advice and corresponded with her throughout his residence in the west 
Mr. Bellamy never recovered his health, but his last days were made easy because of the fact that through Mrs. Hendricks' efforts he obtained a liberal pension as a Spanish-American war veteran. He died in Denver March 31, 1915. His body was taken to Cherryvale and rests in Fairview cemetery there, not far from the shaft which marks the grave of Mrs. Hendricks.—

Kansas City Star.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers