Sunday, December 25, 2022

Santa Claus Did, Too, Exist...Here's Historical Proof

School mates say there's no Santa? Ugh

Doubt Not!
You aren't the first to doubt the existence of Santa Claus. So we are taking charge of telling you there was and always has been Santa Claus Deniers, Doubters and Skeptics! 

But, Santa and Mrs Claus, Minnie, of course were married in Saline County, MO and resided in Marshall County, MO. 

Santa was a minister and he did his civic duty to register in "old man draft" of WWII. 

Santa and  Mrs Claus had seven children! Wondering if each were responsible for the elves. One a day!
Sounds about right. 

1930 Marshall, Saline County, MO

When did he find the time to answer all the letters and the money to mail them? 
 KCStar, 2 Dec 1936

I will not cover the demise of Santa or Mrs. Claus.  It's Christmas Day  after all!

Merry Christmas

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Friday, December 23, 2022

Our Ancestors Knew When the Holiday Season Began

Sears Roebuck Catalog, 1898
The Sears Catalog, Our Ancestors - America's History
1972 Sears Fall Winter Catalog, pg7
I was asked this week what were my favorite memories of Christmas and the holiday season. I got all giddy remembering the Sears Catalog.  When you live in 1960's Kansas, and your parents were on a teachers budget, your connection to the world was EASILY the Sears Winter Catalog.  Not about buying clothes for me, I could sew. but I needed to know the styles. Yep, 1972 plaid? Loved it, made the skirt and dress, asked for the sweater. 

The catalog closed generational gaps. 
Oh yeah, supposed to be talking about ancestors! Nothing else to talk about with the grandparents? We'd just ask them about the catalog. Grandma, with a spoon in one hand stirring slop in her hot-in-December, Lyons, KS kitchen, would tell us, by memory the page number of what she had saved for. I called it her seasonal "bragging rights." Grandpa, well the new coat which he only wore when he went to the "cities."  Yep that usually meant Great Bend or Hutchinson.  That's as far as you go in the Kansas winters. 

1968 Sears, Fall Winter Catalog, p469

Wars, Great Depression. and Disasters, Presidential Elections
How this catalog recorded and included the current events was quite creative, but all included! Even the 1899 Alaskan Goldrush via the Klondike shoes and the San Francisco 1906 earthquake. 
Fall 1908, pg770

Where to Find Catalogs Digitized?

Was your ancestor memorialized with a Sears, Roebuck Tombstone or Monument?
1908, pg560

Article: The Modesto Bee, 1 Mar 1977, pg 65; newspaperscom

Note from Author:
Please know that we are aware Sears' [had a]complicated history with black customers. I have posted this link should others wish to have more information on the topic. 

Sears, Roebuck catalog did allow African Americans to shop circumventing Jim Crow racists practices and laws. However, the catalog and stores' inventories and practices created had a rather rocky relationship with black-America. Sears was active in the consumerization of stereotypes (i.e. Chicken Snatcher, Jockey man, Minstrel figures, etc.) and treated employees and shoppers with the same segregation practices as other stores. 

Still, this mail order catalog brought cheer to the season for many, and connects us once again to our ancestors.

Happy Holidays!

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Monday, December 19, 2022

Researching Indentured Servants? (Not Just Virginia)

Many descendants hit a brick wall when researching their colonial ancestors. Since Virginia was the had the largest population of American colonies, and we just finished a 2 year project on indentured servants, the a3Genealogy Research Team wanted to share a few quick hints to successful research. Although we highlight Virginia here, know that these tips should be considered when researching indentured servants in all of the colonies. 

Let's say post Revolutionary War records proved your ancestors to claim VA as their earlier resident state. Many of these ancestors fought in, or supplied to, the Revolutionary War. As they migrated south to the Carolinas, Tennessee and settled in KY, they were landowners, some were skilled.  But, finding the family units in Colonial VA, pre-Revolutionary War can be a mystery.  

Do Not Overlook
Since eighty percent (80%) of immigrants to 17th century Chesapeake were indentured servants, it will behoove the researcher to consider this possibility.(1)  Most of our ancestors were indentured servants, slaves, or bound in some way as laborers!  It is said that up to 75% of all individuals who came off the transatlantic ships, settling in all colonies, in the 17th century were indentured servants. (2). 

(1) 17th Century Chesapeake, Bill Warder, 2015: "Of the 200,000 emigrants to English North America in the 17TH- century, about 110,000 came into Virginia and Maryland primarily between 1630-1680, with about 80% of those emigrants arriving as indentured servants. ( None More Important Than People: CTW12015-2). 

(2) The all colonies estimate given by Natural History estimates for that timeframe: "up to 75 percent of all the individuals who came off the transatlantic ships in the 17th century were indentured servants." Source: Conditions in the Early Colonies, Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of Natural History,  

Types of Indentured Servants

Indentured servants were contractually bound to work in order to compensate for their passage to America. There were 3 types of indentured servant agreements: redemptioners, voluntary, and involuntary.

  1. Voluntary or "free willers" willingly signed a contract before departing England.
  2. Involuntary or "King's passengers" were also called "convict servants. These criminals were usually obliged to serve a term of seven to fourteen years which was based on their convicted crime. 
  3. Redemptioners were counting on settled family in the colonies to pay their passage, or secured a way to pay for there passage within two weeks of their arrival to the colonies. If they failed to pay their passage within those two weeks, the contractors' agreements were sold to the highest bidder by the sea captain to pay for their passage. 

Three Basic Guidelines to Begin Indentured Servant Research

One of the goals is to locate embarkment records from England. Embarkment  records may provide the "Master's Name" for whom they would be working, the ship name and sea captain, and the location for which they would be bound, i.e. Paris or  Jamaica.  The above image even has recorded a person bound to pay off passage for his return to Ireland. The reasons for taking the journey varied: to seek a better livelihood, to settle in business with a friend, and for pleasure 

1) Begin with a timeline. Based on your research, narrow the timeline for when your ancestors arrived in America.  This will allow you to apply the indentured servant laws that apply to your ancestor.
2) Review the practices for your location. Here is a link on Life in Early Virginia, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the colony of your ancestors. Each colony had different practices. A good review for Pennsylvania is the Redemptioners and Indentured Servants in the Colony and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
3) Familiarize yourself with the indentured servant laws of the time. Keep in mind that in many cases the laws for the Irish were slightly altered. A good place to start for thee Laws of VA is here in this searchable Collection by Wm. Waller Henning. 

a3Genealogy Research Recommendations to Finding Indentured Servant Records
If looking for your German indentured servant ancestors a good place to begin in with the digitized records of Record of indentures of individuals bound out as appretices, servants, ets., and of German and other redemptioners, 1771 Oct 3 - 1773 October 5. 

Newspapers. For Virginia, we love the Colonial Williamsburg Virginia Gazette which has an index that includes surnames and images to the page of appearance. 

State Libraries and Archives.  

Library of Virginia: The online Virginia Land Patents and Grants is a great source for uncovering your Virginia indentured servant. Indentured servants in Virginia were most often registered by the colonists in order to secure headright grants. The index for the Land Patents and Grants does not include the names of people claimed as headrights. In lieu of an index reference Cavaliers and Pioneers available at Ancestry or online book format.

Maryland State Archives.

As indices and extracts may lead us to copies of the originals, we often turn to Dr. Louis Green Carr's Biographical files of the 17th & 18th Century Marylanders to uncover indentured servants in that state. 

The New Early Settlers of Maryland, by Dr. Carson Gibb.

This is a great source when looking for early ancestors who may have been indentures in Maryland. Although some when say it is a long shot to resolving a VA indentured servant brickwall, we say HOGWASH! This source has led the a3Genealogy Research Team to solving not one but two brickwalls in 2022. Both were indentured servants in VA. 

 Petersrow Publications. 

This resource is not just of indentured servants, but of many indentures (contracts) to include indentures for free blacks. Yet, we have been able to solve brickwall indentured cases by scouring these records. The best part, is it's name based index, where you can enter your surname, and the publication, timeline, and place for the indenture is included.  This one will keep us busy for Jan 2023.

Cyndi's List. We would be remiss if this site was overlooked. Be sure to look here for German Immigrant Servant Databases

Additional Reading  

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Tracing Our Saloon Men, Boodlers, and Prostitutes

Not My Ancestors!

The San Francisco Examiner
09 Feb 1922, Thu · Page 14

Where were your ancestors when the local saloons and brothels were buzzing?
Saloons and houses of prostitution, brothels, and boodlers were not restricted to big cities. Small town midwest was notorious for them. There was a reason Carrie Nation chose Kiowa, Kansas as her first smash and hatchet town. 

Small Town Shame

The best about small towns, are small town newspapers. They believed in public shaming. And, what a great opportunity to find your ancestor listed as a saloon man, great grandma a prostitute, or your local politician ancestor taking bribes ("boodler")?

My ancestors lived in Medicine Lodge, Kiowa, and frequented area towns notorious for this kind of activity. Matter of fact, some moved from Kansas to Tonopah, Nevada, to open their own saloons. Keep in mind saloons and brothel clients were still segregated, but they were prevalent across America regardless of race. Many were associated with Masonic Lodges or other social clubs.

Really, how many in Arkansas City, KS were charged for "running a joint," "prostitution," and gambling in 1887. 
Note:  Arkansas City is pronounced "are -kansas" not like the state.

4 Places to Begin Your Search
By the 1880's saloons were populating America at record rates. But, don't worry, your ancestor may have frequented the first recognized saloon: Brown's Hole in Wyoming in 1822. And, to Carrie Nation's disgust, they have yet to go out of style: pubs, saloons, Dodge City!!!

1) Newspapers.
Kiowa Kansas vs Attica Kansas

Don't limit your research to the local newspapers. Be sure to peruse the newspapers in surrounding towns and counties. There were inherit town competitions, kind of like... hmmm... Kansas City, Mo. vs St. Louis today. Newspapers often jumped over problems in their own yard, in order to highlight the saloon and brothel disgraceful activities across the city or county border. Newspapers as far as Iowa and Lawrence, Kansas wrote about the notorious Kiowa saloons.

2) Know Your Keywords.  
"Brothel," and "ill-famed" along with prostitution" and "houses of prostitutions" keywords must be included in your searches. And lest not forget "blind-tiger." The keyword "blind tiger" was used unanimously as "bootleg" and "joints."  Women were charged for this crime often. They often made bootleg whiskey in their kitchens.

3) Local and state courts records.

Minneapolis Independent, 5 Apr 1879
Raids were across America. The midwest MINK states (Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas) were noted for filling the courts with these charges. Men and women were guilting. This is a great time to remind you, that it wasn't just the men, who were participating. Remember women were also recruited as marshals to sniff out "blind tigers."

4) Follow the tracksWhich tracks you ask?
1) Railroad tracks: where saloons and brothels were plentiful; 
Washington Register, Washington, KS, 11 Mar 1887

2) Carrie Nation and other women and religious movements. At some point. I guess. they learned that morality can not be enforced by laws. Quelled? Maybe. But, not controlled.
Be sure to read: Saloons & Carrie Nation.

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers