Sunday, March 26, 2023

Looking for Her Maiden Name?

Women and Surnames
We know that in 1866 there was an article on Keeping Their Maiden Names in Addition to the Husbands Surname. 

Wow! Our ancestors were progressive.  You did it, didn't you? You just googled what actresses in 1866?  Then you realized, oh....stage!  

If you haven't yet listened to EP:06 of Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen, you will want to, especially if you are
  1.  researching for a female maiden name ANYWHERE 
  2. conducting research in the Indian Territory y
  3.  need more on the following ten tips
Our goal here was to identify documents and record groups that often provide a mother’s maiden name or family name.
Obituaries should be scoured

10 Steps to Success
1. Organize. Separate family units (i.e. children from first and second husbands, and grandchildren, etc.)
2. Local Records. School census and enrollment documents will provide birthdates and parentage hints, and possible extended families. Review school records for all  children.
3. Church Records. Marriage records often name parents, and family members as witnesses. Local preachers may have kept records. You may uncover your female ancestor through her family connections.
4. Vital Records.
Muskogee Times Democrat, 28 Apr 1906, pg2

Birth certificates, delayed birth certificates, and death certificates may name mother’s maiden name. These may also assist with #1: separating family units.
5. Social Security Application ($$). This may not be fruitful as the children may not have known their mother’s maiden name. But, be sure to re-evaluate the cost/risk benefit.
6. Marriage Records. Marriage applications often name mother’s maiden name. Review the marriage records for all children.
7. Midwife Records / Family Bibles.
Muskogee Times-Democrat, 28 Apr 1906, Pg2

Midwives typically know the community families and may have recorded a maiden name. Don’t forget to research the area midwife(s). And remember, the family's midwife may have been a relative.
8. Newspapers (Local and Online). Obituaries and even the court recorder's published announcements may proffer names and relationships. 
9. Land Records.

Did they own land. How did they acquire it? Land deeds may provide hints to the female's family, parents, or names of a  first husband, if applicable.
10. Native American Records / Applications (NARA). Don’t forget the rejected Native American applications also.

Interested in participating in an future episode? Submit this Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen Form.

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Tracing Missing Ancestors?

Turn to the Penal System
We didn't realize how many a3genealogy client brickwalls had been crushed through the penal system, until we reviewed the keywords "penitentiary" and "prison" on the a3Genealogy blog. Our brickwall cases for disappearing family members, the black sheep of the family, runaways, and white collar crime runaway have included two celebrity TV research projects; an imprisoned woman; and several blackship cases that drove us to researching Federal and State prison records.  This includes our Hittin' the Bricks with Kathleen #Ep 05, All About the Benjamin! (Listen here, freepodcast)

Where to Begin

Note: We purposely excluded below the half dozen blog posts that guide researchers to tracing Prisoners of War (POW) during the Civil War.
At this point we are only writing about U S. A. ancestors but if you are looking of Irish or English or another ancestor, just use the catalog keywords for your location.

When historians and genealogists write on topics, it can sometimes be quite specific.  On page 109 of the Kentucky Genealogists a page is dedicated to just "Inmates of Indiana State penitentiary, Born in Kentucky." Actually, this was quite useful to the a3Genealogy team a few years back. 

Indiana Penitentiary, Kentucky Born, pg. 109
Did you know has some free index and free access to some records? Check to see if your state has free prison and penitentiary records or use your local library to peruse the following: 

Arizona, U.S., State Prison Records, 1875-1929

Iowa, U.S., Consecutive Registers of Convicts, 1867-1970

Tulare County, California, U.S., Sheriff's Office and Jail Records, 1874-1963

NY, Governor's Registers of Commitment to Prisons, 1842-1908

California, U.S., Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Prisoner Index, 1934-1963

Kansas, U.S., U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworth, Name Index to Inmate Case Files, 1895-1936

 Chester County, Pennsylvania, U.S., Criminal and Prison Record Indexes, 1681-1911

For the subscriber of additional records can be found in the catalog under U. S. Penitentiary Records, 1875 - 1963

6 Resources to Tracing the Black Sheep Ancestor
Here is a helpful listing of how to trace the missing black sheep of the family who may have ended in the penal system:  

1. US Federal Penitentiary Case Files: Inmate Case Files 1895-1952
2. Court and Prison Records for Narcotics and Liquor: As seen with Ginnifer Goodwin
3. Penitentiary Records: Part I- 12 State Prison Research Treasures
4. Penitentiary Records: Part II Researching State Inmates
5. Penitentiary Records: Women in Prison: As Seen with Cynthia Nixon
6. Prison Records and Genealogy: San Benito County Jail and San Quentin State Prison
Governor Pardon: Liberty Tribune, 1855

Penal records are replete with the following:

  • Governor pardon records
  • prison inspector records
  • warden records and notes; and 
  • prisoner physician records. 
Be sure to see how we recommend records in the podcast All About the BenjaminEnjoy, and be sure to leave comments and feedback.

 Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers  

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Ancestor Was A Prohibition Era Pharmacists, Druggists, or Doctors?

Ancestors Distributing Legal Alcohol?
When speaking of the Prohibition Era, we often overlook our ancestors who legally distributed alcohol-based 
medicine. However buried amongst the Tempest Movement, the bootleggers, and speakeasies, were doctors, pharmacists, druggists, and patent medicine vendors legally distributing alcohol within this dry nation. Although under close tight regulations, they were allowed to distribute elixirs, tonics, bitters, and other herbal and fermented concoctions under the auspices of "medicine.” 

Alcohol was the leading medicine for many diseases to include cholera. The Temperance movement protested the use of alcohol in medicines. To be fair, most of these patent medicine elixirs were grossly laced with alcohol; using high percentages of its content (up to 40%).

In Ep:05 of Hittin’ the Bricks with Kathleen caller Karen Fuller’s brickwall was complicated by the occupation of “Dr. Fuller,” a patent medicine vendor. In truth, these elixirs weren’t patented at all – just vegetable extracts laced with “ample’ doses of alcohol. 

But for genealogists and family researchers the papertrail leads us to the possible legal aspects of the profession which produced federal and state registrations, permits, and licenses  And, as the illegal bootleggers were reaping an impressive financial gain, the occupation of patent medicine vendor, druggist, or pharmacists, or self- identified “Doctor,” often included prison, court cases, and corruption activity reviews. So many resources to tracing our ancestors!

Listen here: Music

Legal or Bootleggers
Remember hearing the song Save A Little Dram for Me?  Well, The Volstead Act, aka National Prohibition Act, also allowed clergymen to use wine for sacramental services. Be sure to review the lyrics and catchy tune Save a Little Dram For Me.  Farmers, too, could possess up to 200 gallons of preserved fruit which fermented was a solid base for alcohol.

Financial Gain
A law this big did require Prohibition Commissioner. Perhaps your ancestor worked on the reporting end of the Volstead Act. During the prohibition, in 1920’s alone, physicians wrote approximately 11 million prescriptions annually. One Prohibition Commissioner, John F. Kramer, reportedly cited a doctor who wrote 475 prescriptions for whiskey in one day. Kramer was one of 1500 prohibition agents.

Not only was prohibition profitable for physicians, but our neighborhood Walgreen’s founder, Charles R. Walgreen, expanded from 20 stores to 525 during the 1920’s. Although Walgreen attributed their expansion to the introduction of milkshakes, they became a pharmaceutical empire.

There was one way to obtain alcoholic beverages legally during the prohibition years: through a physician's prescription, purchasing the liquor from a pharmacy. Physicians could prescribe distilled spirits--usually whiskey or brandy--on government prescription forms. 

In the United States from 1920 to 1933, a nationwide constitutional law prohibited the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933.

Denatured Alcohol
In college (even in the 1970’s), I was warned not to drink out of the sinks because kool-aid and grain alcohol could kill. Or make one go blind, as it did with the cousin of our cousin Pete Tumbleson. Growing up the name of the cousin of cousin Pete was etched in my head. Visit the Mob Museum for a full story denatured and unregulated alcohol formulas.

As mentioned, the National Prohibition Act required licenses, registrations, and approvals. This allowed for legal write up of prescriptions and scripts for medicinal booze. In other words, a way for a family historian to trace and learn more of their law abiding ancestors. Our law-abiding ancestors applied for licenses that gave them the right to issue scripts for medicinal booze.

Records for both the legal distributors of alcohol and the bootleggers, should be retrieved. In addition to uncovering newspaper searches, local court records and dockets, and local /state prison records, the following should be reviewed:

3 Resources to Begin Researching Your Legal / Not-So Legal Prohibition Era Ancestor    

  1. NARA Records of the Bureau of Prohibition, NARA - Seattle, WA
    Responsible for tracking bootleggers and organized crime leaders
  2. State Records: Prohibition Commission, ie. Records of the Virginia Prohibition Commission, 1916-1934
  3. NARA: US Penitentiary (i.e.Ft. Leavenworth), Prohibition Act

Additional Resources

Kathleen Brandt
Be Historically Correct
Accurate Accessible Answers