Saturday, March 20, 2021

Our Ancestors Quilted...And The Quilts Were In Their Wills

Is Quilting Part of Your DNA - Which Marker?

There was no surprise that a 5 Generation Morris Family Quilt was made. Quilting was a past-time.  It was time to sit around the table with other quilters, in the home, after church on a quiet summer evening. But what happened to the quilts?

I can't encourage genealogical researchers enough to read the will, not just an abstract, to get an hint of their ancestor's hobbies and loves. In generations to come, descendants of Geraldine Strader will know she was a quilter. AND...she put a precious value on her quilts as they were included in the will along with their appraised values.  

Mom Strader's quilts were published probably because she was a Kansas City, Kansas known hand quilter, and her specialty was applique quilts.  They are as beautiful as it sounds. She began quilting when her husband died in 1994. She was already fifty years old. In her lifetime, over the last 25 years of life, she produced over 10 applique quilts, and 12 hand quilts and some fun beautiful machine quilted quilts (her early ones).   

She took Hawaiian applique classes in Hawaii of course. Why not? Her vacations were scheduled around quilt classes.  She gathered fabric from Gambia while visiting her dear friends Doris and husband George Haley, the USA Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia. That quilt is not shown here, but it is awesome and will be featured in the book.  

Reading of the Will

Addendum to Will - "Quilts are to Never to Leave the Family"

In our family the loudest of arguments was over the quilts. Who will distribute?  Which one is for me?  I want that one? And then of course there were loud voices in the background. "She promised me a quilt."  No she didn't. She ONLY gave them to FAMILY.  Luckily most were distributed before death: sister, 1st cousin, etc.  Some first cousins didn't get theirs finished, but the fabric was named. The three grandsons were designated to receive earlier ones: "choose from those left"  (see #10 above).  

#7 Sample Quilt - Learning Patterns

The three living children each received one with fond memories - one with a story, one that took her 18 months to complete because she was a beginner doing a king size quilt while learning the different patterns (i.e. pinwhee, log cabin, etc). And all of them have perfect beautiful hand quilting stitching. 

Where Will They Land?

Like all descendants, ancestors can't plan enough.  Where do these treasures land in 3-4 generations?  Do you have your grandmother's quilt? I blogged about my first one from Grandma Kathleen: Grandma's Hands in 2010. It was made out of her polyester dresses, sewn only as Grandma could do. But I carried it to college, and it's still with me 40 plus years later.  Why? Because it's from Grandma. We all got one, all seven of her grandchildren, and no one messes with Grandma's quilt!

Today is National Quilting Day. Tell us about your family quilts.

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Tracking Runaway Indentured Servants

Irish Indentured Servants

Mid-Atlantic State Immigrants - 1700's

National Women's History Museum, 2007

More than half of the immigrants that came to America in the 1700’s were assigned, contracted or bound to work for a fixed term of years. Many did not complete their work terms and instead fled from their contracts. Since many of these runaway servants, often convicts, owned both time and money, ads were placed in various newspapers for their capture. Ads were placed in all of the mid-Atlantic states to include 1) Pennsylvania,  2) Virginia, and
3) Maryland.

This is an example of an indenture contract from abt1683.  It is important to note the phrasing "free and willing to be retained to serve".  This highlights the voluntary nature of indentured servitude which would set it apart from slavery. The age of the servant is included as well as her length of service.  This particular contract directs responsibility of payment for passage to America to the master.  The master must also "provide and allow all necessary meat, drink, washing, apparel, and lodging." Servants could take their masters to court if they felt the terms were not being honored.  This contract appears to contain an official seal as well as numerous signatures, indicating agreement amongst parties involved.

Resources to Find Indentured Servants
Here are 3 of our favorites highlighted for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. 

1) The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796
The following Scottish indentured servant, Daniel Baldridge ran away with presumably his wife, son and daughter. John King, the subscriber, wanted Daniel and his son returned. 

This collection may offer the family researcher the runaway’s origin, occupation, and physical features. Often a date of immigration is provided. Copies of these advertisements are available on thanks to Farley Grubb’s 1992 publication of “Runaway Servants, Convicts and Apprentices. Over 6000 runaway ads were placed in the Pennsylvania Gazette.

2) Runaways in Virginia
This Westmoreland County, VA. skilled duo ran away: Richard Bulling a shoemaker, David Powell a bricklayer who used the alias Francis Evans, 
Virginia Immigrant Runaway

Virginia historians easily spout that over 75% (3/4) of the white colonial immigrants arrived in bondage in the 1700’s. Many of these immigrants were French, German and Scots.  

The Colonial Williamsburg website offers an Indentured Servants Index that was posted in 
the Virgina Gazetter 1736-1780 publications.  This is one of the first stops for a3Genealogy researchers to uncover white, "negro,", and mulatto indentured servants. For African American ancestry research, be 
sure to also “Explore Advertisements” on The Geography of Slavery in Virginia website. This project offers transcriptions and images of runaway slaves.   

3) Runaway Maryland Servants 1728-1775
As genealogists we rely on early news accounts of history, and The Dunlop’s Maryland Gazette, the Maryland Gazette and the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser do not disappoint. 

The C. Ashley and Beverly B. Ellefson Collection (MSA SC 5931) at the Maryland State Archives holds an index of Runaway Servants from 1728 -1775 by name. 

According to the Collection Description, this 4 box compilation of index cards donated by scholars C. Ashley and Beverly B. Ellefson contains records of convicts imported to Maryland from England, 1716-1774, records of runaway servants, 1728-1775, and runaway convict servants, 1734-1775.

Be careful not fall in the "rabbit hole" while chasing Your Runaways!

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Soldiers-Sailors Genealogy: Divorces & Court Records

Records: Soldiers & Sailors "Civil" Relief Act of 1940
We want to know our ancestors’ stories. Yes, even those who were divorced while serving the country during WWII had more than just the dates of enlistments, discharge, and engagements. They had families at home, they were stressed, and lonely. Marriages were weakened due to separation, financial burden, and due to the “war bride” rush of WWI and WWII, nicely put, divorces were on the rise. We know our soldiers and sailors were more than dates, so what more can we learn? 

The Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act of 1940

Alliance Times Herald, Alliance, NE, 25 Sep 1942, pg 5.

Military service brought on court cases: financial, landlord and rent due, default on mortgages and leases and divorces. Researchers can peruse these court cases to find out more about the family dynamics and the character of their ancestors. We have uncovered unknown children, bigamy, and proof of desertion through the answers / depositions generated through the Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act requests of court stays, or rights waived.  By the way, there was a 1918 statute also.

Divorce records and Civil Court Proceedings
This Act of 1940 was created to protect the military persons of unfair disadvantages in their personal and family life due to military service obligations. The Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act of 1940 was designed to lift the burden of civil lawsuits, to include divorces.

The Balance Everyday

We often turn to divorce records which were plentiful in wartime. 

Divorce records tell us who they were divorced from; what assets or dependents were named, when they were divorced, where they were divorced, and how the terms of the divorce decree were determined.  But, that hardly tells us about the social events; the struggles at home. 

Be sure to request not only 1) the divorce decree, but 2) the court transcription, or full court records, and don't forget 3) the docket. It is here that researchers will find out if the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act was used. 
Correction: This sailor did not "default" as that is the protection of the SSRA.
But this case reveals more about our sailor and his service. 

Oh… you may have to order the transcription and documents of the court case from the county court. So, expect to spend a few dollars depending on the court. And, don’t expect the court cases to just fall in your lap. Will blog about this later.  

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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