Friday, December 30, 2016

How to Research Pre-Revolutionary War Ancestors

Was Your Ancestor a Criminal?
If your ancestor was an early sailor pirate, or convict, you may be able to find them in the Admiralty Records of England or the Vice-Admiralty Records of Maryland (1694), New York (which included Connecticut and New Jersey) and South Carolina (1697), Pennsylvania (which included Delaware) and Virginia (1697/8) which included early North Carolina), Massachusetts (1699), New Hampshire (1704), Rhode Island (1716), North Carolina (1729), and Georgia (1754).
What are Admiralty Courts?
If your ancestor was a convict laborer, you may find records in the USA Vice-Admiralty courts and be able to trace the related court cases to the High Admiralty courts. The High Court of Admiralty in England created vice-admiralty courts in the colonies. In the colonial era, Vice-admiralty Courts were juryless courts that addressed criminal and noncriminal maritime issues. Your ancestor may have been a British Convict that was sent to America as a convict laborer in lieu of serving in overly-crowded British prisons. 

Inexpensive convict laborers are rarely spoken of in the USA.  However, between 1718 and 1775 there were approximately 52,200 convicts who sailed for the American colonies as allowed by the Transportation Act of 1718.  At a3Genealogy we particularly favor these court cases when seeking southern ensconced colonial-ancestors. We have found cases covering petty sailor salary issues to severe piracy court cases. 

Look in Virginia for early North Carolina Ancestors
Virginia, alone, hosted more than 20,000 convicts - many worked in the tobacco fields. Commonly, British felons served for seven years (up to fourteen), however unlike indentured servants, they did not receive payment at the end of their service.

The Vice-admiralty Court of Virginia had jurisdiction also over North Carolina. However be sure to also scour the Vice-Admiralty Court of Royal NC 1729-1759.
6 Tips to Uncovering Pre-Revolutionary Convict Ancestors
Often genealogists become interested in this research when they have traced ancestors to the colonies by the Revolutionary War.  Yet, not much is known pre-Revolutionary war. The question is “from whence did they come?” So let’s first just see if we can find them as a convict, and don't forget the women!  

We know women were also sent to the colonies as convicts. Well known female pirate Mary Harvey was sent to North Carolina for piracy. Her records can be located in Virginia. Other females were sent to American colonies for being lewd or late street walking (after ten).  

Here are tips to begin your research:
1)     Convict Transportation Contracts / Records. has digitized the Middlesex, England, Convict Transportation Contracts, 1682-1787; and Dorset, England, Convict Transportation Records, 1724-1791. Researchers will find their ancestor’s names, crime and the punishment for their crime.  These records may also specify where they were placed in America (or British Colony in Africa).
2)     Review State Archives for early court records.  The salvaged Maryland colonial courts records may be located at the Hall of Records at Annapolis (see the Maryland Historical Society Archives of Maryland).
3)      Extant Colonial Records:
·         New Hampshire's Secretary Waldron saved seven featherbeds and most of the records when his house burned in 1736.
·         Massachusetts fire in 1747 destroyed a portion of that colony's records
·         Rhode Island part of the town records of Newport and Providence had been burned
·         New York suffered two fires that destroyed public records during the colonial period.
·         New Jersey had an archival fire that took place in 1686
·         North Carolina reported no loss of records when its State House burned in 1831
·         South Carolina acknowledged loss of records in the secretary's office fire of 1698
·         Georgia reported only the Yazoo Act destroyed by fire
·         Virginia's archives were partially burned during the Revolution while stored, at Benedict Arnold's order, in a Westham public building containing war material.
·         Maryland see the Historical Society Archives of Maryland
4)     Vice Admiralty Court Records: These may be a little harder to uncover. For Virginia and North Carolina review the Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia.  
5)      Academic Papers and Dissertations and Books:  If your convict was a pirate, a woman, or infamous, many have been researched and cited in academic papers.
6)     Newspapers.  Although they usually lack details, newspaper notices provide hints. The Virginia Gazette published notices of trials and advertisements of sales by the vice-admiralty court decrees.

Linking British Records

If your ancestor was sent to America, there must have been a court reason in Britain.  Be sure to review the High Court Admiralty (HCA) records held at the UK National Archives. 
  • Proceedings of Vice-Admiralty courts in North America, the West Indies and Africa  are held in HCA 1/99. Included are proceedings from courts in New York, 1724, Rhode Island, 1725, Williamsburg, 1727, 1729, Philadelphia, 1731, South Carolina, 1733-1734, the Bahamas, 1722, Barbados, 1734, Jamaica, 1738-1739, India (Fort St George and Bombay), 1725, 1730, and Africa, 1722, 1734, 1737. 
  • Earlier in New York, 1777 to 1783: the High Court of Admiralty: Vice -Admiralty Courts proceedings can be found in HCA 49.  This collection also is the repository for various colonies in Africa.
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Saturday, December 24, 2016

7 Steps to Begin Your Jewish Genealogical Research

Related image
Holocaust, Rodoh Info
Unexpected Jewish DNA Results?
You’ve been waiting for your DNA results.  You know your family is German, Irish (Catholic Irish at that).  You were pretty sure there was Mediterranean heritage and really, hmmm, you weren’t expecting any surprises.  Well, maybe a few new cousins.

Here are your DNA results:
Well, now you must find answers about your Jewish Ancestry. 

7 Steps to Begin Your Jewish Research
1)    Create a family tree.  You will need this to properly connect with your Jewish cousin matches. And don’t expect the name to sound Jewish.  Until 5 minutes ago, you didn’t even know you were Jewish.  Our a3Genealogy client was overcome with laughter when he realized that both Uncle Harry Morris was Jewish and Aunt Mollie Bell – she was Jewish too!
2)     Pull as many death records as possible.  Especially on the lines that match with Jewish cousins.  The key is cemetery names, informants, and information as to where the body went after death. Be sure to visit the Jewish Gen Online Worldwide Burial Registry
Uncle Harry was buried at the Golden Hill Cemetery, in Colorado according to his death certificate.  Let’s research that cemetery:
Golden Hill Cemetery was established over 100 years ago on West Colfax Avenue for the Jewish population. It is a historic location listed on the National Register of Historic Places. -

3)    Get an image of the tombstone and know the endonyms. Well what do you say…Uncle Harry, who was born abt. 1890,  has a Star of David right on his tombstone. Wonder why the family never mentioned that? (Image from JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry.)
4)     Pull marriage records.  You are now looking for a Rabbi and Temple name.  Remember we are still just in the gathering phase of your research.
5)     Analyze the census.  Much information is in plain sight on the census records. This is always an overlooked strategy for researchers, but the town and neighborhood histories can offer a treasure trove of hints and tips.  One client’s family was rooted in Bastrop Louisiana.  Here’s a bit of its history:
Bastrop had a small Jewish community that blossomed around 1892. “By the turn of the twentieth century, Jews in Bastrop had formed a congregation, erected a synagogue, and operated some of the most successful businesses in Morehouse Parish.“…between ten and twelve families still resided in Bastrop after the end of the Second World War. They had all joined B’nai Israel in Monroe, but they also organized an informal Sunday school and held an occasional Friday night service either at their homes or in the Bastrop courthouse. Charles Snyder and Ferdinand Wolff cared for the cemetery, now a handsome and verdant two-acre property with approximately fifty burials. -
6)     The website must not be ignored.  Be sure to visit community repositories also.
7)     Seek out online and local collections. In tracing a Hungarian Jewish family from Ohio to Kansas City my research landed me with the Western Reserve Historical Society at the Cleveland Jewish Archive. 

Other Resources


Not every Jewish DNA result will lead you to Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.  
  • Sephardic Jewish Research: You may have just joined a large global community that has recently uncovered that they too have Sephardic Jewish ancestry. Be sure to visit Here is a listing of a few Sephardic Surnames.
  • A recent a3Genealogy client was traced to the Basque region and matched in the
    J2 Haplogroup TV with the Eastern Jews of Iran/Iraq (Mizrahim) and Turkey and Middle East.  We have found that patience will be the key as additional DNA testing is needed in these areas. 
Happy Hanukkah
From the a3Genealogy Staff and Research Team

Friday, December 9, 2016

2017 - Need a Speaker for Your Conference?

One Motivated Mama Inspirational "Where you are going" Canvas by Ana Brandt.  #inspiration #motivation #knowwhereyouaregoing #whereyoucamefrom #canvas #wallart #motivatedmama:
Visit Ana Brandt's Site
These are just a few titles offered by Kathleen Brandt as a conference Keynote Speaker or seminar Presenter. All are tailored to your conference theme or celebration. If you don't see what you want here, know I offer custom designed presentations and workshops. Know that all of the presentations are chocked full of actual images and many have real life short case studies. 

I am now scheduling for 2017.  But remember, I am often called upon as a last minute substitute, because we can never plan for those unplanned "life" events

Be sure to review the Experience/Qualifications page. 

Kathleen Brandt
Keynote Speaker/Presenter

Presentation Titles for Your Conference

Revolutionary War
·         Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
·         7 Best Revolutionary War Resources
·         Your Blacksheep: Courts-martial and Courts of inquiry records
War of 1812
·         War of 1812 Records: 10 Places to Research
·         Researching Your War of 1812 Impressed Seamen
Revolutionary War and War of 1812
·         African Americans Served Too – Finding Records
Civil War
·         10 Best Bets for Civil War Research 
·         7 Tips to Researching Slaves and Slaveholders
·         Finding Your Elusive Civil War Veteran
·         Claim It!  Southern Claims Commission Records and Slave Claims Commission Records
·         Researching Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and other Association Records
·         Civil War POW Records
Modern Wars (WWI - WWII
·         Military Records Were Destroyed? What to Do?
·         7 Easy Tips to WWI and WWII Research
·         Forgotten Records -  WWI and WWII

Research Methodology
·         Leaping Over Brickwalls
·         The Changing Surname - How to Trace It?

·         DNA: Spit or Swab?  (Beginner)
·         DNA for Genealogists: Who? What?, When? Where? (Intermediate)
·         From History to Present: DNA Research (Case Studies)

Research Tools
·         Tech Toys for Genealogists: It’s All Portable
·         Oral and Family History: Sharing Our Ancestors
·         The Cloud: Looking Forward to Backing Up
·         Technology Toolbox for Genealogists

African American Research
·         7 Tips to Researching Slaves and Slaveholders (with MO. Case Study)
·         Researching the Road to Freedom (Prior to the Civil War)
·         7 Resources to Researching Missouri Ex-Slaves and Free-Coloreds.
·         Using Ship Manifests for Slave Research
·         African Americans Served Too: Finding Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Records

International: Emigration - Immigration
·         When They Came to America Where Did They Go?
·         Blackbirding: Sugar, Cotton, and Slaves! Researching South Pacific Island Laborers
·         Did Your Ancestor Become a US Citizen? Where to find Records and Documents

Local Topics and Custom Designed Presentations
Have a unique topic?  Due to our vast client base and experience, presentation just for your local group can be customized. Of course actual images of documents and relevant research tips are shared and often accompanied by a case study.
·         “Delegation of Colored Men” 7 Resources to Researching Western-North Carolina Ex-Slaves and Free-Coloreds.
·         Pioneer Trail From Missouri to California: How to Trace Them?
·         Tracing My State Militia Records
·         Tracing Huguenots – From There to Here

·         Your Pioneer Ancestor and You!  How Our Ancestors Did It?
·         The Invisible Staircase: How Missouri Did It!

Entrepreneur You
·         Make Money: Your Genealogy Empire

Midwest and Missouri Specific
Image result for midwest map
Midwest German Settlers
·         Researching Germans from Russia Ancestors
·         8 Tips to Researching Your Missouri Rhineland Ancestors

Missouri Irish
·         Tips to Tracing Your MO. Irish Ancestor - From Immigration to Emigration

Bohemian Settlements
·         5 Research Tips to MO. Bohemian Ancestors

Friday, November 18, 2016

Furthering Danish Ancestry Research

Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants
You’ve reached a brickwall in your Danish research, because the names are so similar. This is where genealogy becomes hard. What were our ancestors thinking? Sarcasm: Did our Denmark ancestors have only a limited pool of names to choose from?   

How can you determine which “Cathrine [aka Catharina] Nielsen” is yours?  You have an approximate birthdate, and maybe even a place of origin or immigration date from various sources - census records, death record, children’s death records, etc.  But, there are too many Cathrine Nielsen options on the shipping manifests.  What to do next?

Have you tried the Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants?

What are Copenhagen Police Records of Emigrants?
The Copenhagen Chief of Police approved and monitored all emigration agents in Denmark and authorized all overseas tickets for Denmark passengers traveling directly from Copenhagen to the United States or indirectly via another European harbor for destinations overseas. These records are stored in the Dansk Data Arkiv.

Emigration lists were compiled by the Copenhagen Police from 1869 to 1940. The lists resulted in 394,000 emigrants being recorded and give the name, last residence, age, year of emigration and first destination of the emigrant from Denmark during those years. So gather all the information you can from the USA records, and now it’s time to be patient and begin collaborating data.

Step 1 Denmark, Emigration Index
Begin with Denmark, Emigration Index, 1868-1908. This third party database abstracts data from the Dansk Demografisk Database . You can find this information also in Dutch on the Data Arkiv Emigration Database

Nielsen, Cathrine
Contract no.:
Registration date:
Birth place:
Birth place:
Last res. parish:
Last res. county:
Last residence:
Destination country:
Destination city:
New York City
Destination state:
New York State
Name of ship:

Tips: Check parish information, occupation, age above.  Our example only mentions occupation as Jomfru (“virgin/single woman”), but it does provide us with her age allowing us to estimate her year of birth, and last resident. Often researchers will find a birth place that will lead us to easily verifying the correct person.

It is possible you don’t have the birth place, but you may have verified a residence in the US records.  Either way, the next step is to find out ship information.  
Step 2 Ship Research
Each traveler recorded has the name of the ship. You will want to extract all possible ship records. This Catherine Nielsen travelled 17 Jul 1889 on the Thingvalla, Norway Heritage Ship Lines.  This ship most often began voyage from Copenhagen. Ship information can be found on the Norway Heritage website.  

Step 3 Contract Number and Ledger
With a list of ancestors that meet your qualifications, it’s time to work.  I gathered 4 Cathrine Nielsen’s that were possible candidates. Again, in this case, I needed two research questions answered.  My abbreviated research questions were 1) Who were the relatives of  my Cathrine Nielsen? 2) From which parish can I find more information for my Cathrine Nielsen.

The key to confirming my Cathrine Nielsen was via identifying her travelling companions.  Who travelled with her helped identify her USA family group and determine their first point of entry. The Danish parish allowed me to narrow additional archives available for research.

So you will want to take special note of the Contract Number specified on the Denmark, Emigration Index, 1868-1908. Often it leads you to the birth place or at least the last parish/residence. Plus, the Contract Number and the ID Code will lead the clerk at the Police Archives to the original copies.

Contract no.:

Researchers can contact the Dansk Data Arkiv and request an original copy of the ledger: Write to:

More Information: Dansk Demografisk Database
For more information, visit Using the Danish Demographic Database for an overview (in English) of other databases that may assist you with your Danish research.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Courts-Martial and Courts of Inquiry Records

1816 Wm. Crawford, LOC
Navy Records 1799 - 1867
As family researchers we love that non-conformist ancestor.  The one soldier that pushes the rules and regulations, perhaps failing to behave “gentlemanly,” or even just opinionated and outspoken enough to result in a superior’s reprimand. These reprimands may have resulted in an inquiry or courts martial giving us a peek at our veteran’s military service. 

Most researchers understandably are quite familiar with the Army courts-martial records.  So let’s take a look at Navy records today. 

Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy)
The Records of the Office of the (Navy) Judge Advocate General  records are held at the National Archives (NARA) Washington DC and are part of Record Group (RG) 125. The extensive collection includes personnel records, correspondence, claims, and more. 

The courts-martial and courts of inquiry transcripts are located in RG 125.2.2 Personnel Records (microfilm: M273).  The transcripts of proceedings of general courts- martial and courts of inquiry, 1799-1867 cases have been microfilmed on abt. 180 reels.  And, in addition to the collection held at the NARA, the Family History Library has a copy of this collection as well as other libraries (check WorldCat).

Indexed Records
The best news is this collection is indexed by name.  We suggest you begin with the index for another reason, it gives you the exact date and case number making this research relatively quick especially for the return of knowing more about your pre-Civil War Navy veteran. Additionally, the index gives you a summary of your veteran’s offenses. For some researchers, this may be all you need, but the case transcripts are descriptive and should not be overlooked. Note: We have not shown actual cases in this post, only index images. 

What to Expect
Cases may be 2 pages or 200 pages of testimonies, court records, and minutes/notes. Through these records we have solved the following cases:
  1. Explanation of name changes
  2. Tracing Jewish ancestry from 1816
  3. Cause of death (see below)
  4. Birthplace
  5. Rank and Service dates of veteran
Marine Research
Researchers may also find information on their marine.  Little, a Sargent in the Marines, was found guilty of theft and “unsoldierlike” conduct, and contempt of superior officer.  Like many of those recorded in the courts-martial records he was demoted. 

Another popular Sentence of the Court was to be publicly reprimanded. 

Cause of death
Have you had that ancestor just vanish during military service never to return to his family?

Although many sailors were found not guilty and charges dismissed, others were put to death during service. The above John and Peter Black and Matthew Biddy were ordered “to be hung by the neck until death. On 9 Oct 1849.”  This was due to the following infractions:
1) meeting with intent to kill. 
2) desertion with an attempt to kill and running away with a boat the property of the US.

Of course desertion, a serious offense, could result in as many as 150 lashes or a call for the soldiers’ death by being shot to death.  This was not uncommon in 1817. 

Be sure to add this collection to you research plan.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible, answers

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Confederate Soldier Records - Another Resource

James William Calhoun Blizzard,
Confederacy, 3rd Regiment, Missouri Infantry
Missouri and other Confederate States
Whereas the Union had the U.S. Adjutant General’s Office, the Confederate Army had the Office of the Adjutant and Inspector General.  Both offices were diligent in enumerating their soldiers and tracking their military strength. After each engagement the Confederate units submitted names of those “killed, wounded and missing, with narrative reports of the action.”  These confederate records were recovered by U.S. Adjutant General’s Office according to the Confederate Army Regulations.

State Confederate Records

Robert B. Davis, Missouri Confederacy, 3rd Infantry
In addition to the familiar Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, researchers may find additional confederate records locally that may add to ancestors’ stories. As part of Confederate accounting, documents of the Missouri Confederate States (CSA) of America Final Statements can be located at the Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, or the Midwest Genealogy Center, Kansas City, Mo.  For transcribed information on the Civil War in Missouri, be sure to review the reference materials of Kenneth E. Weant that may be found at Gone West Publications.  All Final Statements in this post were provided by Weant. 

These records include the final pay for the 1st Cavalry Volunteers, Calvary 2nd Battalion, Jackson and St. Louis County; 3rd Battalion Cavalry, 1st Infantry; 2nd Infantry; 3rd Infantry (no index) located on microfilm roll S929.

On microfilm roll S930 Missouri researchers will find 3rd Infantry (cont’d); 4th Infantry; 5th Infantry; CSA Veteran Register, Joplin, CSA Missouri State Guard Register, 1861-1865 with index; CSA Missouri State Guard Registers and others, 1861. 

Compiled Service Records (CSR) of Confederate Soldiers
Daniel Faulkner, Missouri Final Statement
Confederacy, 3rd Infantry
Be sure to review the compiled service records of Confederate soldiers.  And for additional information on your veteran check the National Park Service Soldiers / Sailors. This database may provide hints to middle names and the film number of the Compiled Service Record

Daniel Faulkner, CSR
NPS Soldiers / Sailors Database
Note: CSR MO Index microfilm:  M380, Roll 5
Where are Confederate CSR Records?
The Confederate States Army Casualties: Lists and Narrative Reports, 1861-1865  records, part of the War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109 are housed at National Archives I, Washington, D. C.  

Researchers will also find some records digitized on
The Compiled Service Records (CSR) are indexed and arranged by states:
Alabama: M311, index M374
Territory of Arizona: M318, index M375
Arkansas: M317, index M376
Florida: M251, index M225
Georgia: M266, index M226
Kentucky: M319, index M377
Louisiana: M320, index M378
Maryland: M321, index M379
Mississippi: M269, index M232
Missouri: M322, index M380
North Carolina: M270, index M230
South Carolina: M267, index M381
Tennessee: M268, index M231
Texas M323, index M227
Virginia: M324, index M382

Other Microfilms
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations Raised by the Confederate Government - M258
  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers and Non-regimental Enlisted Men - M331
The index to both M258 and M331 are on microfilm:M818. Note: Microfilm M253 is the Consolidated Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers