Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Speaker Titles for 2018

Happy New Year!  
Although I constantly add titles to our presentation lineup, know that I also will tailor all presentations to meet your conference needs.  When in Texas, make it Texans! 

Whether in Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, or Pennsylvania this past year, I have learned there is a thirst for DNA knowledge.  Sometimes it is just Why DNA?  Other times it's "What do I do with the results?"  Our DNA and genealogy research presentations are for the family historians and genealogists who are seeking hints about their ancestry, or are wishing to tackle a brickwall. It is also, and especially, for those who wish to connect to their biological families. This DNA series is designed to assist you with your family research needs.

You will also find below the course I use for our Professional or Inspiring Professional Genealogists.  As an entrepreneur coach, the You Are A Pioneer series has been tailored to our genealogy comrades.  Again, I have found that although we have a consulting package for the serious freelancer or small business genealogy company, sometimes a group session for discussion and sharing assist all of us to be accountable with setting goals, meeting objectives and fighting obstacles. the corporate and academia that title is part of the Brandt Motivation seminars: Setting Goals, Meeting Objectives & Fighting Obstacles.  

DNA Series

#1  DNA for Genealogists Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
This basic DNA Primer is designed for the genealogists or family historian and covers the basics of the following objectives:
  • Purpose of DNA for Genealogy
  • Understanding 3 types of DNA tests
  • Using DNA to bring down your genealogical brickwalls
  • Tips and tools to analyze your DNA results

 #2  Y-DNA and MtDNA - Making Sense of This
(Note: must be minimum of 90 minutes, or one topic for 60 minutes)
This presentation is designed to connect scientific terminology to the genealogist’s daily practices by 1) exploring vocabulary 2) answering common questions 3) following quick scenarios to discover the practicality of DNA to bring down brickwalls. 
  • Y-Haplogroups and SNPs: Why do I want this?
  • Genetic Distance: What does it mean?
  • Reading Your Report
  • Surname Projects
  • MtDNA Haplogroups: What’s the Meaning?
  • Reading MtDNA Results
  • Will Phylotree Meet Family Tree?
  • Bridging the Gap 

#3  What’s in Your DNA? Autosomal Analysis
All of the popular DNA testing companies use autosomal testing - ancestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, 23and Me, and MyHeritage - but what can these tests do for the family or professional genealogists?  The following topics are covered while discussing common brickwall scenarios, tools, and analysis.  This topic may be offered in a 60-90 minute lecture, or is often presented in workshop style (3 hours). Topics covered:

The Basics for Autosomal DNA Analysis
  • Autosomal DNA Limitations
  • Path to MRCA
  • SNPs and cMs
  • Chromosome Browser Tools
  • Organizing Data
  • DNA Analysis Techniques
Quantitative Analysis
  • Triangulation
  • X Chromosome
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Phasing
Entrepreneurial - You Are A PioneerTM
Becoming a Professional Genealogist
This motivational presentation walks the new or seasoned professional genealogist through seven essential steps to help ascend an invisible staircase to realize an ideal genealogical freelance or research business. The presentation also helps to identify the marketplace and industries that turn to genealogists for research services and will guide the professional genealogists to answer two basic questions
1) “What does an ideal business or freelance opportunity look like to me?” 
2) “How do I create it?”

Research Tips, Hints and Repositories
Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
Finding your Revolutionary War soldier among 200,000 plus participants can be daunting. Anyone sixteen to fifty-three years old during this time living in the original thirteen colonies, may have participated in the Revolutionary War in some capacity; albeit, not all for the American cause. This presentation provides 7 key resources to ferret out your Revolutionary War Soldier.

Kansas City - The Midwest Gateway to Genealogical Resources
From New York to California, Louisiana to the Plains, the Great Lakes to the Gold Rush, Virginia to Missouri’s Little Dixie counties, or Pennsylvania to the Missouri Rhineland, our ancestors historically migrated through Kansas City (KC) using the waterways, Overland Trails, the early railroad, or military convoys resulting in a wealth of original documents and manuscripts, diaries, and journals.  This presentation uncovers “must-visit” repositories that house original records, collections and manuscripts.  Researching within a 60 mile radius from the center of KC, researchers will have the answer to What Does Kansas City have to offer the professional genealogists?

And yes, if your group visits KC, the home base of a3Genealogy, we will happily get that Party Bus for Researchers, filled with pencil sharpeners, and take you on a tour!

Will see you in 2018!
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Happy Holidays! $50.00 Off Selected Genealogy Packages

Offer Expires 6 Jan 2018  
Need a Last Minute Gift Certificate? 
Every year we do it! We need a special gift for Mom, Dad, the Family and our brain goes blank. At a3Genealogy we recognize the panic in your voice, your emails and your facebook posts.  So again this year, we are offering our Holiday Special (code #80) off our 10 hour $80.00/hour packages. (A savings of $50.00.)

Special Holiday Promotion 
Code #80 extends a $50.00 discount on four of our most popular packages: 1) Basic Family Research Package  2) Consultant Package  3) Military Package 4) DNA Analysis Package. You must purchase research projects in 10 hour increments. Special Holiday Promotion Code #80 does not apply to other Packages to include Heirship Research Packages, Media Packages, Dual Citizenship Packages, or Adoption Packages. Promotion Code #80 expires 6 Jan 2018.  

Popular Packages Plus More

10 Hour Basic Family Research Package:  This family research package typically includes two surname lines. Know that our research is not just an or internet searches but may include researching for military, naturalization documents, court records, and records held at Federal, State and County repositories. USA only.

10 Hour Consultant Package:  This package is designed for the aspiring genealogist, but genealogy professionals often request it. Are you a family historian or genealogist and need help with your brickwall?  You do the research, but we will be your partner and guide you via conference calls, emails and local meetings.  We have experts across the USA and many overseas that can also coach you through local issues. We often assist in your document retrieval needs.  

10 Hour Military Package:  For your Revolutionary War soldier WWII veteran, and all those in between, we can design a research project to honor your ancestor.

10 Hour DNA Analysis Package: Your results are in, but what does this all mean?  We can use DNA Analysis Package, to assist in solving a brick wall, planning a trip overseas, or even connecting you to your biological family. This is not a comprehensive Adoption Package, but this might be just the package you need.

  • Be sure to visit our webiste:
  • a3Genealogy Gift Certificates can be applied to any research project. Gift certificates are activated upon payment.
  • Contact us for more information, or make your holiday purchase here: Gift Certificate #80. Happy Holidays!
  • Projects for Promotion Code #80 must be scheduled by 1 April 2018. 
  • All gift certificates are activated upon payments. Clients will receive an expiration and ID code to confirm activation. 
  • For phone purchase, contact Kathleen Brandt at 816-729-5995. 
Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Researching Institutionalized Ancestor Records

Boston Almshouse
 Asylums and Almshouse Records
Family researchers will inevitably uncover an institutionalized ancestor battling insanity, feeble-mindedness, mentally disabled children, or other mental illnesses.. Although there were twenty United States mental asylums in existence in 1850,[1]  it was most common for almshouses to care for those with mental and physical disabilities as well as for the aging.  Almshouses, often referenced as “poor houses,” notably boarded old, distressed, ill, and insane citizens prior to 1880. By 1890 there were 162 mental hospitals.

Accessing Institutionalized Records
Welfare Island, Insane Asylum, NY
built betw. 1834-1839
Every state has statues specifying the distribution, and release of records of the institutionalized and mentally ill.  Prior to State Statutes, some state hospitals like Osawatomie, Kansas discarded the patients’ original files leaving perhaps just an index to past patients. The Kansas Statute 65-5603, specifies the information that can be released for family history research. "Examples include: dates of birth and death, dates of stay, names and addresses of family members. Medical information, including the DIAGNOSIS, is not open." 
Restricted State Records
When hospital records are not available, recreating an ancestors’ medical history is still possible. Gathering genealogical data using death certificates, military pension records, available probate records, or medical records submitted and filed with court cases, cemetery records, and local newspapers often yields sufficient data to understanding your ancestor’s medical history.[2]

Open State Records
Contrary to restricted states’ statues, many open-state records are accessible using digitized databases. For example the New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses from 1830-1920 may be retrieved from

10 Resources to Begin Your Search
Doctors notes from Osawatomie Kansas State Hospital
Filed in Civil War Military Pension Records
  1. wiki hosts a listing of historical asylums, almshouses, state hospitals, reform schools, private institutions and sanatoriums across America, “and around the world.”
  2. Census Records: In 1850, the Seventh Census of the United States enumerated insane persons, deaf and blind, and idiotic persons to include the Slave Schedules. “Deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, a pauper or convict patients were also noted on the 1860 and 1870 Federal Censuses. The 1880 census included “maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled.”
  3. Crime, Pauperism and Benevolence report created in 1890 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics identified the mental hospitals that housed part of the 91,997 USA insane population.[3]
  4. Database Catalog search using keywords “lunatic” “insane”, “blind” etc. on will also provide research resources for institutionalized patients.
  5. State Archives and Historical Society Records. Practically each state has collections or information on area asylums and almshouses.
  6. Court Records.  Divorce records, guardian records, and agreements for care by a state or facility may be located in these records.
  7. Will and Probate Records. Often names a guardian or person to care for the mentally (and physically) disabled.
  8. Military Pension Records. Often hold medical records for mental health patients.
  9. Cemetery Records Across the nation, patients were buried on the property of asylums, or at neighboring cemeteries.
  10. Death Certificates. Although lunacy was rarely noted, cemeteries, institutions and almshouses were named as resident or death place. 
Unearthing African American medical history records may be more challenging. Admitting ‘free coloreds’ to state poorhouses and insane asylums prior to the Civil War was not widespread but these records may be uncovered. Slave names were rarely provided, but ailing slaves (deaf, idiotic, etc) were identified by age, gender, and color. For more information, visit the Museum of disAbility History website.

Women’s Mental Health
Women were disproportionately committed to the State Hospital by disgruntled husbands. Insanity was often the argument used to dissolve a marriage. Researchers will discover cases of women being committed to asylums for alcoholism, dementia, “moral insanity” such as infidelity, contradicting a spouse or being too opinionated.

For more information, reference the following:

[1] Pg. 207,
[3] Pg 207, , pg 2 for 1890

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Living is Knowing - Secrets of DNA

As you know I'm hosting a new genealogy TV pilot about late discovery adoptees and reunions and the a3Genealogy DNA and a3Gen Private Investigative (PI) teams work tirelessly on adoption cases. Using DNA as a tool is so healing for so many!

I will be talking about, familytreedna, 23andme and MyHeritageDNA and others at the Topeka Kansas What's In Your DNA? workshop Nov 17-18. Here's the workshop schedule. Be sure to join me there. Take a look at this ABC Good Morning America video of a reunion. Can you image the conflicts, the questions, etc.?

This is a revised version of what posted to family and friends today:  
Holidays are coming and I want you to get gifts for a lifetime. Like a DNA kit. They are on sale now everywhere. Please test the oldest persons in your family on both father and mother side (that old uncle who talks with a mouth full of spit can spittle it right into the DNA kit tube). Test both parents if possible. If you want more suggestions on who to test and specific recommendations for your genealogy needs just drop me a note.
 Why? Because now you are busy working and coping with life. But one day you will stand up and ask yourself "Who in the world am I?"
 So, I’m saying the same to all of you: “Get a Thoughtful Gift!”

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Indiana Genealogy & Local History Fair 2017

Thanks for attending.  
The presentations below were based on the Lecture Notes. I have included links to other writings and publications, but be sure to follow this blog (see rightside of page) to receive additional posts.  Also in the upper left you can search topics to see if there's an article that interest you in researching your veteran ancestor or other topics.

Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
Lecture Notes: Finding Your Revolutionary War Soldier
Visit here for HANDOUTS.

Additional Reading
1-2-3 Researching Revolutionary War Kentucky/Virginia
Analyze Lands of Virginia and Kentucky
Indentifying Revolutionary War Era Parents

Finding the Elusive Civil War Ancestor
Lecture Notes: Researching Your Civil War Ancestry (published by AARP)
Visit here for HANDOUTS:

Additional Reading
Provost Marshal Records
Confederate Tombstones
Illinois POW Camp Research (Part 1-4)
Where are Veteran Pension Files?
Another Confederate Resource

Here is the article referenced on researching mental health / insane asylum institutions.  There are hints applicable to all states: Researching Institutionalized Ancestors.

If you have questions email me at  Blog posts are based on your submitted questions (another reason to follow this a3Genealogy blog and my facebook page.

So follow me on Facebook. You will get additional posts and genealogy updates on your favorite topics.

Kathleen Brandt

Be sure to follow the a3Genealogy blog page to receive posts by email and follow the facebook page.  
Happy genealogy researching. 

Will see you soon! For more information:
Indiana State Library Genealogy & Local History Fair, 2017.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Resources for Pennsylvania Research

Carnegie-Mellon University Campus
 Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
The a3Genealogy researchers have been laboring of late in Pennsylvania research.  First there was the migratory paths project from PA to the Missouri Rhineland research, and then a large Quaker Study media project. Right when I thought we were done with PA for just a short while, I labored over a resourceful article on researching almshouses and institutionalized hospitals, that is chocked full of tips to uncover your institutionalized ancestors in a “closed state.”  This article will be published in the upcoming Pennsylvania Legacies, Historical Society of PA and it also shares light on other states.  This has been our summer. 

Brickwall Horror Show

Then, to top it off we have two rather pesty brickwalls that demanded a visit to PA. They represent the horror shows of genealogy: name changes, early deaths, PA to MO migration in 1840’s, widows remarry, repeat family names, no marriages records (or wills, or deeds or court records) to identify parentage or dates. Yep, long on family folklore, short on proof.  But, we did add to our possible hint list as we visited some fun repositories. 

Our favorite in Philadelphia was the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  Well that was just fun. Just scouring the card catalog opened our eyes to surnames and spelling options.  Ask yourself, how many ways can you really spell Barnds.  Oh, oh, I know.  There’s Barndz, Bards, Barnitz, Barns, Bard, and of course Barnes.  And yes, we found our subject using all those surname spellings.  There were Bible Records in books - great way to find a marriage.  Thank you Charles!  And, county books, that placed the family first in Lycoming and Clinton County vs Washington County PA.  It was here that we learned that Dunstable township changed counties and the family was very active in the United Methodist Church, not just the Lutheran / Episcopalian church of latter years.. That was just from the old fashion card catalog. But we still didn’t have answers to our critical objectives so off to Pittsburgh.

Church Reviews
Understanding PA German church structure/evolution is essential.  You will need to study this on your own before an undertaking like this but here’s a basic summary. 

Unscrambling Misconceptions
Dutch PA Church = German Reform church not Netherlands
Anabaptists = Amish, and Mennonites.  Think religious freedom but often poor records, with the occasional family bible.

Then you have the following:
Lutheran --àEvangelical Lutheran Church
Reformed --à United Church of Christ
Moravians --à Unitas Fratrum, “Unity of the Brethren”
Roman Catholics

More complicated than it needs to be, but your understanding of the church names and its evolution will solve half your battles and allow you to focus your research.  And, quite frankly from this you will know what to expect.  Whereas the top ones on the list have good records, I cannot say the same for early United Methodist Church records.  For success, you may need to snuff out the pastors in hopes of getting detailed pastoral records that may assist with your family’s migration within the state, and across the nation. 


If time is limited, as it was for me, you will want to surely visit the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society library located at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland, next to Carnegie Mellon University.  (See comment below- corrected 2 Dec 2017). Here there were some great finds. 

It was here that I found more information on the Western PA Conference United Methodist Church (WPAUMC) and a few helpful resources like the Pastoral Records extracts.  This led me to the original church records needed also. 

The most delightful reference books however were the compilations of Deaths 1834-1855 and Marriages 1834-1855 and Marriages of 1856-1865 “gleaned from” The Pittsburgh Christian Advocate.

Other Resources
This research requires the genealogists to be heavily armed. 

  •         One of our favorite tools is the Methodism in Western PA 1784-1968 by Wallace Guy Smeltzer, D. D. Editor.  You may not only uncover your ancestor mentioned in the Ministerial Records, but also in various Appointments.
  •         Also,  the Western Pennsylvania conference United Methodist Church 1784-1986, provides Pastoral Appointments to Churches. 
All of our objectives have not yet been met, and we are still ferreting out hints to verify and confirm kinships, but answers are slowly trickling in. And where there was a solid brickwall, we are seeing rays of sunlight peeking through. 

Of course we had to add one more spelling of the name: Barndtz!

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Florida Territory Research and the Missouri Records

Florida Territory vs. Louisiana Purchase
Recently I showed the above map marked Florida Territory to show the complexity of where to go to unearth our Missouri  ancestors' documents.  A question from the floor was a common one, “Why does that map say Florida Territory?”  I didn’t quite grasp the meaning of the question and time was limited, but I explained that this was just a historical map to outline the complexity of Missouri when doing early genealogical research.  Later it was brought to my attention that most have forgotten the Florida territory and inadvertently lump it in with the Louisiana Purchase. Ah…this can be confusing and can inhibit the researcher from locating early ancestral documents.

From the Beginning
Missouri was the 24th state:10 Aug 1821.  Florida was the 27th state:3 Mar 1845. The Louisiana Purchase was in 1803, forty-two years before Florida became a state.  So Florida was NOT part of the Louisiana purchase. The Florida territory was ceded to the USA in 1819 by the Spanish even though colonization began in 1565 on the Florida peninsula – St Augustine.  Five million dollars of claims against Spain were assumed by the U. S. thanks to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and the Florida Purchase Treaty.  U. S. occupation began in 1821 and Florida became a U. S. territory in 1822.  Boundary disputes were relentless, but in 1845, Florida was admitted in the Union as a slave state.

Perhaps the confusion is that the Missouri Territory was known as the Louisiana Territory until 1812. The U.S. surrendered a great portion of the Missouri Territory to Spain in exchange for Spanish Florida. Or perhaps the confusion is due to the fact that The Floridas included West Florida and extended to the Mississippi and included New Orleans. The Louisiana Territory was to the west. Both were owned by Spain. Yes, it is all confusing.

Louisiana Purchase
From the Louisiana Purchase fifteen states were created: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

Where are the Records?
To research the Florida Territory, turn to Spanish Land Grants. Spanish Land Grants can be located on the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Memory webpage and at the Library of Congress, World Digital Library. These grants were “land claims filed by Florida settlers from the 1821 transfer of the Florida territory to the U.S.  These grants cover 1783 to 1845, from the “Second” Spanish Period to the Territorial Period. Here, the researchers can find deeds, wills, correspondence, and more. 

1-2-3 What to Expect?
  1. Genealogical Information 
    Family names and ages, place of residents and more can be found in the Spanish Land Claims

  2. Land PlatThese documents help us unscramble family units and follow deeds and probates to connect family kinship.
  3. Land Claims - Some of these land claims are already translated.  Be sure to check the World Digital Library at the Library of Congress.  The claims read like a book.  They provide history of not only the land, but the families, migration information, and often provide place of origin. 
    Land Claim Gaudry
Other Resources
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) houses the following resources that may not yet be digitized:
·       Territorial Papers of the United States Senate, 1789–1873: Florida, 1806–1845
·       State Department Territorial Papers, Florida, 1777–1824: (RG59)
·       Territorial Papers (TP) of the United States: The Territory of Florida, 1821–1845.
·       Textural Records, RG233, House of Representatives Territorial Papers Collection: Colorado, Dakota, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa 1810-1872.  For Florida Territory, NARA Box 84-85 TP Box 278.

Researchers will also find eleven rolls of microfilm (M-116) that cover the State Department (RG59) Territorial Papers, Florida, 1777-1824 held at the National Archives, Atlanta.

So when researching early ancestors of this region, be sure to review the easily accessible Florida Territorial papers.  And know that you may wish to extend your research to the Louisiana Purchase and the Missouri Territory records. 

Be Historically Correct 
Kathleen Brandt
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