Thursday, January 5, 2023

Congress.Gov, The Forgotten Resource

Historical Context of Family History Month
As researchers we often reference contemporary newspapers to understand our ancestors' social history. We see phrases like "October, Family History Month," and we ignore the implications. Who declared it? What was the Need? When did it happen? Where (to include which citizensis the impact of this law? How is it to be impact my family in the future? 

Most have never visited the website, but its contents impacted our ancestors choices and struggles and successes.  Our ancestors migrated, settled and resettled as they fought for and voted for representatives to create laws that reflected their values and could determine their family's fate. So when October was dedicated to Family History Month we turned to the 107th Congress, to understand how Family History Month became an October reality.

Purpose for this blogpost?
Our goal here is twofold:
  1. Encourage historical researchers, to include family historians, to peruse the website to put laws and our ancestors into perspective. 
  2. To celebrate October as Family History Month 
Why use website?

The a3genealogy love for early territorial records led us to the website as we researched the 1800, 6th Congress act for granting land to the inhabitants and settlers at Vincennes and the Illinois country, in the Territory North-West of the Ohio, and for conforming them in their possessions.''  Our brickwall was destroyed by understanding the law, beginning with 1800. Our client was looking for a full land trace a particular ancestor that led us directly to Vincennes. The ancestor died in 1837.

Of course, this was the same 6th Congress that established the system of Bankruptcy throughout the United States. Understanding this bill and its implementation and impact to our early Broome County, NY timber/lumber Dutch family, helped explained the descendants move to Portland, OR area.  
“trouble with lumber,” and greed from the Broome County Bank and their lawyers. “They sued me and father Vosbury, and Levi , and all my in dorsers [endorsers], and made costs upon costs till they broke me all up.”
But our first hurdle was to understand the impact of the law on these early Dutch settlers. allows the family researcher to peruse all of the Bills, Acts & Laws from 1799 -present day. So when requested to provide historical research  on Family History Month celebrated in October, again we turned to S.Res.160 - A resolution designating the month of October 2001, as "Family History Month".  This historical research for the publication of an academic article.

There are other government records for researchers to analyze. At a3Genealogy, we often turn to the Legislation & Records of the US Senate

What a wonder treasure trove these records are when working on our ancestors and understanding the national (and regional) influences of their choices. Plus, for us, in more cases than one, this understanding has led us to bringing down brickwalls. 

The 46 volumes of Congressional Globe contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-1873). 

Be Historically Correct

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate Accessible Answers  

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