Thursday, June 23, 2022

2022 Speaker Series

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. Presentations are chocked full of actual historical images and  real life short case studies.

Now scheduling for 4thQ 2022 - 2023.  I can also be 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 BrandtKeynote Speaker/Pres

Presentation Titles for Your Conference or Workshops

  • Our Love Hate Relationship with DNA
  • DNA: Spit or Swab?  (Beginner)
  • Why DNA: Determine KinshipNon-Paternal Event, Adoption (all levels)
  • DNA for Genealogists: Who? What?, When? Where? (Intermediate)
  • From History to Present: DNA Research (Case Studies)
  • DNA All Day Workshop (all levels)
  • Using DNA for your Brickwalls (Intermediate)
  • DNA for Private Investigators (How It's Done)
  • Connecting Biological Families (As Seen On TV)

Revolutionary War
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
Other Wars
  • French Indian War
  • Spanish American War
  • Philippine American War
  • Tracing State Militia Records
Research, Brickwalls & Court Records
  • Leaping Over Brickwalls
  • The Changing Surname - How to Trace It?

Regional Research & Settlers

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.

Immigrants and Migration

  • Researching Germans from Russia Ancestors
  • Pioneer Trail From to California: How to Trace Them?
  • Tracing Huguenots – From There to Here
  • Tops to Tracing Your Irish Ancestor - From Immigration to Emigration
  • When They Came to America Where Did They Go?
  • Did Your Ancestor Become a US Citizen? Where to find Records and Documents
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
  • A History of Military Service by African Americans (Learn about these Veterans and the Records)
  • “Delegation of Colored Men” 7 Resources to Researching Western-North Carolina Ex-Slaves and Free-Coloreds

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

What Miss Washington (1897) Wants You to Know

1850, From New Haven Negroes: A Social History

Free Coloreds of Meriden, New Haven, CT

Miss Florence Washington born, 18 Feb 1897 in Meriden, CT has found herself in a 2022 play. She's not the star, but she is a part of America's History. Her short appearance allows Americans to rethink their stereotypes, and the molding of America. 

Miss Washington's mulatto family were free coloreds. Her maternal side had lived in New Haven, CT at least since 1811. Miss Washington wasn't from an ex-slave family from the south, neither were her parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. 

Amistad Slaves, 1839
This is not to say Connecticut did not have slaves. Matter of fact, the last acquired slaves taken to New Haven, CT were from the Amistad  in 1 Jul 1839. These Africans only spoke their native African tongue. Read more about the Amistad Case

It has been proven that the treatment of norther slaves, too, was harsh and inhumane. But, Miss Washington's family of Meriden, CT were free coloreds at least since 1811, the year the first school for African Americans attended school at The Goffe Street Special School.  Many of her family members were skilled laborers: (i.e. tailors). Unfortunately, due to a divorce in the 1940's she fell on hard times. 

This Washington family had never reportedly traveled to the south. They would not meet the stereotype embedded in biased history books of a southern slave. She would not have a reason to speak with a southern drawl. 

Miss Washington was raised and attended high school year in Meriden, CT. She and  family  would not have had the draw or cadence of a southerner.  In 1940 - 1950, the Washington's did live in the area of Meriden, Connecticut carved out for the African Americans. Florence Washington died in 1951.  
3 Things Miss Washington Wants You to Know?
Goffe Street Special School for Colored Children. Courtesy New Haven Museum

1) Blackvoice and blackface are equally offensive.
Although black communities may speak with an audible accents, they all don't speak with the same accent. Read about language and influences.  So know that mocking your stereotype blaccent, a blackvoice, is as offensive as blackface. In genealogy we must be careful to understand not just the era, but the place, the social and community culture. 

2) Free-coloreds and Slaves.
All black people were not slaves from the south, Matter of fact there really were free coloreds. We have historical documents to prove it. Even the ancestors of the free-colored Morris-Griffin family were landowners in Rutherford NC, in 1811.  Read about the Morris-Griffin family.  So even your southern slaves may not meet your stereotypes. Miss Washington wants to remind you slaves did not inherently adapt a southern draw. Ask yourself, where would they have learned such cadence?

3) Diaspora
Thank goodness for Federal Census records to verify such things. In 1990 Meriden, 4.3% of the population was black. That increased from1850 when it was recorded the blacks made up 2.1% of the population. So, how many African Americans flooded the city of Meriden, CT.  Not many!  There was not an influx of southern ex-slaves, or black people to change the black culture of Meriden between 1850-1950. (See Demographics) However, we do know that many of the Connecticut free-coloreds travelled south after the Civil War, to educate and support the recently freed slaves.  

Other Readings:
Connecticut's African American History
Ready for a Linguistic Controversy? Say 'Mmhmm'
City of Meriden, Plan of conservation & Development Update: Demographics and Population Trends

Thanks to Florence Washington and he ancestors. 

   Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Tracing Ancestors for Playwrights

Richard "Alan" Nichols, 87th birthday party with a few friends
                                        Glad I was one of them, 10 July 2021. Photos:KRB

Actors-Craft Studio, Kansas City, MO
When the late eighty-seven year old Richard "Alan" Nichols, actor, director, playwright, approached me for family research, I was excited to accept this autobiographical research project for the a3Genealogy Media Team. We often do historical research for larger media firms and publishing firms, academic and documentary writers, and even for clients who wish to book bind their legacy; but only 7 times in our fourteen years of operation for playwrights. 

The a3Genealogy Media Team, accustomed to tight deadlines, uncovered Alan's line back to the USA immigration of Jean Pierre Nicolín, born 1838, Chevenez, Switzerland.

"Alan" was looking to share his Meriden Connecticut ancestors. He wanted to share the first eleven years of his story as a dairy farmer's son, 1934-1945, to audiences. This work showcases the making of the actor,  those influencing years before studying under Uta Hagen. The years before becoming a well-respected actor. 

1866 Ship Manifest

As most immigrants,the Nicolín Americanizing of names began quickly upon arrival: Nicolín became Nichols, and Henri, Alan's direct line, can be seen as Henry, but he later settled on Harry. Like family names, the play too transformed. Chamberlain Hwy was once the working title. Thanks to this New Haven highway the a3Genealogy team uncovered photos of the farm and family. 

When the Media Team came up empty handed, they turned to our famous phone campaigning strategies. We began with Chamberlain Hwy- cold calling.  It was luck! First call, I found Lorraine Stub. The stars must have been aligned that day, that exact time. I learned that Lorrain, not only lived across from the historical Nichols Dairy Farm, she also worked with the Berlin Historical Society Museum. Read her email note below.

Lorraine and the Berlin Historical Society Museum staff / volunteers uncovered photos, helped with interviewing the locals, and were essential in creating the community background for the play. (Thanks Lorraine!)

Nichols Dairy Farmhouse, Chamberlain Hwy

The play Cat Hole Road, 1934-1945, Our only road away, Our only road home: A Collage of Childhood Memories was written and completed by Alan during the pandemic. It was designed to be presented as "story theatre:" A Story Theatre for Five Actors.

Continued Call for Genealogist

In spring of 2022, the cast of actors were in place, practices were going swimmingly, and as the genealogists, I was called on to verify facts. Questions from who were the Wrights?, to who was the elderly black woman, Mrs. Washington, whose free- mulatto family lived in Berlin, Connecticut since at least 1811? (Blog coming Tuesday on this free-colored family from Berlin, Connecticut). 

As we know, even with dramatic adaptations, we must be true to history and social culture when creating an autobiography in writing or for the theatre. Nothing is more disappointing than to have genealogical cited work to take the shape of fiction, unless of course it is fiction. And, we have had fiction writer clients. But Alan, wanted truth! He'd ask follow up questions taking the research team back to the records. 

  But, He Didn't Make It

Lorraine Stub, Berlin Historical Society Museum, Meriden CT, 17 May 2022; email

When he was hospitalized April 2022, Alan spent his days making adjustments of his script from his hospital room chair. He added and subtracted music cues. Oh the harmonica was his favorite.  There are abt 30 harmonica cues in this 90 minute piece. One could see the spark in his eyes when the topic turned back to the play, the music score, the practices, the actors. 

From his rehab room he shared with a couple of close friends that he wanted to "see the play on stage in June" as planned. The showcase was already on the books scheduled for 18 Jun 2022.

But Alan, the acting coach and friend to many, passed from this earth on 12 May 2022. A private memorial will showcase Cat Hole Road, 1934-1945, Our only road away, Our only road home: A Collage of Childhood Memories in his memory. 

Due to limited space, this is a private memorial.

   Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Operator of a Blind Tiger


Saturday, June 4, 2022

DNA Says He’s Not The Father - Where to Go Now?

KCK Public Library
Hunting the Past of Unwed Mothers, 1950-1969
We think of genealogy as who begat who, but with each generation, in each decade, cultural norms make a shift. As genealogists we must recognize, not judge, these cultural shifts in order to ferret out ancestors. 

The a3Genealogy Research team has had five recent cases where we merely are looking for the ancestors, let’s say parents, for 1950-1960 babies. Not adopted children, but DNA revealed Daddy was not Daddy; and Mommy’s lips were sealed. We like to call it a non-parental event, but in all five of these project cases, the mother who had a child out of wedlock, would not assist in identifying the father. We became fascinated in the early struggles of the unwed Mothers and the role biological Dad played in the early years. 

Of course, these maternal homes for unwed mothers also cared for those who wished to adopt out their child.

Published Terra Haute Tribune, 3 Mar 1958

The Cultural Shift

Kansas City Advocate, KCK, 10 Mar 1922, pg 4

Between 1951 and 1960, across the nation, the request for paternal financial assistance from unwed mothers increased. For example, toward the end of the decade, abt. 1957, in Cuyahoga, OH cases to establish paternity jumped from 3,524 cases in the previous decade to 9,109 in the 1960’s.

Unwed mothers were no longer being encouraged to turn their children to adoption agencies. 

Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 31 Dec 1960, pg 4

They were encouraged to 1) find an unwed mother advocates; 2) keep their newborn; 3) turn to the court for financial assistance from the biological father.

Although this often was a hard life, as the courts were flooded with paternal cases, and denials, unwed mother homes were full (DNA was not popular then), and many would not hire unwed mothers, women organizations took the lead. They lobbied for more unwed mother homes, and temporary housing in private homes, often the unwed mother doing domestic work for room and board. 

The issues with overflowing court cases increased, compounded by neglected and dependent children's cases. Another complication was unpaid staffing resulting in the veteran court’s staff retiring early. In Cuyahoga, as an example, two-thirds of the staff were inexperienced in these cases.

Where to Begin Your Search for Records?  

Salvation Army, 1957

In scenarios with cultural turbulence as that seen in 1960, it is not surprising that the truth and records are difficult to uncover.  

  1.     Hospital History: the local public library is a great place to start.  For a couple of our projects, this is where I learned more about the Booth Memorial Hospital and the Maternity Sanitarium.
  2.     Salvation Army Records. In 1957 alone, 5200 unwed mothers were cared for by the Salvation Army in the USA. In Indiana in 1957, there were six Salvation Army hospitals serving unwed mothers. Names and records were withheld and records were mostly expunged across the nation.
  3.    DNA. Yes, a full DNA analysis can assist in connecting a child born outside of wedlock to the proper biological family. One of our clients DNA proved her “birth certificate” father, the only one she knew, was not her father “by-blood.” The a3Genealogy DNA team was able to uncover the unknown paternal grandparents. The grandparents had 21 children. Although we ruled out 4 of their eight sons as a possible father (age, deaths, etc), the other four were viable candidates. 

Even with the help of child number one of this family unit, we were unable to narrow which of the brothers fathered our client. However, we at least expanded her family unit to twenty aunts and uncles; plus the 21
st: her father. 

Added Complications of Researching African American Unwed Mothers
According to The Brookings Institute, in 1965, just years before Haar began work at the home, 24% of Black infants were born to single mothers compared to 3.1% of white infants born to single mothers. 

Hospitals were still mostly segregated in cities. The practice of Black Doctors were limited, services were not as widely available for black unwed mothers. 

3 Tips to Uncovering Black Unwed Mothers 1950-1969

  1. Look for transformations of the historical local black hospital.  In Cuyahoga, it was Mary Talbert Hospital (1925).  In Kansas City, Ks., 1923 Dr. A. Porter Davis Maternity Sanitarium. Learn the local history.  This was just one of the refuge homes for unwed black mothers in the Kansas City area. Read here for more: Unwed Black mothers in 20th century Kansas City found refuge in home for women, girls. 

  2. Locate the “colored” organization that supported the black hospital.  One example “The Council of Colored Women.”  Black archives, State Archives and Local archives, as well as black newspapers may have information on name changes and key players.

  3. Identify the advocates. Many of these colored hospitals and colored organizations appealed to white organizations sympathetic to the cause, and believers in the purpose of women keeping their children. The Salvation Army partnered with black hospitals across America, to include Booth Hospital to assist.

 Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers