Early Records and Later Little Known Records
by Brenda Burns Kellow
Tracing Our Roots
Lecture syllabus for Genealogy Friends on Colonial Records
You may download this syllabus if you are participating in this program.
Colonial Research and Later Little Known Records. Given September 19, 2009, at Gladys Harrington Library [temporary location] from 10-12:30 p.m. You may download this syllabus if you are participating in this program.
While a search of colonial records may seem almost worthless for finding information, give it a try. The newer databases are helpful for finding and identifying spouses and children. They have a likelihood of being found with the help of court, church, newspapers, tombstones, and marriage records.
The www.Ancestry.com database requires a fee to subscribe. It includes the families of early English colonies in America, beginning with the earliest English colonies through the beginning of the American Revolution and beyond. These may include vital records such as birthplace, marriage, and death information.
Ancestry has another good site for you to examine when you are looking for an ancestor. In finding links, you may find descriptions of who these people are and what they look like, as well as who they married, and birth and death of their children. You may also be lead through the online history to someone who lived during your lifetime. It might even lead to you. We all would like that. I just entered the site, http://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/, keyed in a name, approximate date of birth and place of birth, and found a family line that came down very close to my parents. Through the magic of Ancestry the link even contained census information, vital records, and a couple of children's deaths about whom I did not know. They were born between census years and before vital records were recorded. Much of what I found led both to and from me! This is what I love about researching my ancestors.
I've always thought Ancestry to be the best source for finding records. You do want to be careful about the Trees because many people copy anything and pass it along without checking the sources. Even though the information is before you, verify those sources!
Ancestry and Footnote are available on any of our library computers for free. The Library Catalog link is at http://tinyurl.com/ovadmkz.Check on other databases available to you in the library catalog.
First, I want to remind you that many of the genealogical books I mention in this guide are free for reading and on the Google Books site. It is wonderful for finding information in resource books when you can’t run to the library.
Google Books on Finding Colonial Records, downloadable for free, or read the books in PDF format on your computer screen or Sony e-book.
Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?q=finding+colonial+records&source=in&ei=iX-iSq33IYSc8Qbck6XpDw&sa=X&oi=book_group&ct=title&cad=bottom-3results&resnum=11.
Reference [check Google Books] LINK ADDRESSES MAY CHANGE OVER TIME, BUT THESE WERE ACCURATE IN 2009.
Printed Sources: a Guide to Published Genealogical Recordshttp://www.genealinks.com/The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, eds. Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984) for in-depth information on many genealogical topics.
Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records http://www.genealinks.com/Black’s Law Dictionary, any edition but preferably an older one. Very necessary.
Granted finding a person is much easier once the census offers clues to residences within the decades. Using early records and a strategy like assigning the nameless people a name such as “Male A and the estimated birth date, Female B and the estimated birth date” could help. Record all the information gleaned by using a special cheat sheet, and display so that it is available visually during your research periods, doing so just may identify those relatives of long ago.
http://www.census.gov/prod/www/abs/decennial/index.htm and http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/kcgs/census.htm
1790 Monday, August 2
1800 Monday, August 4
1810 Monday, August 6
1820 Monday, August 7 [Note: those born, died before or after enumeration date for all decades were not counted]
1830 Tuesday, June 1
1840 Monday, June 1
1850 Saturday, June 1
1860 Friday, June 1
1870 Wednesday, June 1
1880 Tuesday, June 1
1890 Sunday, June 1
1900 Friday, June 1
1910 Friday, April 15
1920 Thursday, January 1
1930 Tuesday, April 1
It is possible to narrow the ages of the people in these early censuses by simply observing the enumeration dates and the ages of the people in each census.
Also, beginning in 1820, watch for people engaged in farming, commercial, manufacturing.
1830-1840 census collect blind, deaf, etc. See: Special Census Lecture Syllabus
23560&o_lid=23560. These can serve as your cheat sheets or you can develop one on Excel or Access, or maybe just make it in a table in your word processing program.
If you do not know the census reel or roll number of the film you want, Steve Morse has a site with many search helps we all can use. It is at http://stevemorse.org/census/reelframes.html. Moreover, Steve has many shortcuts to finding other documents. You will love it once you use it.
American Census Handbook, Kemp
Guide to the Federal Census, Hinkley
Census books by William Dollarhide on federal and state census guides.
Church records can tell you so much about births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials. Some denominations are better for keeping family records and general records than others, but you might find family history charts, family histories, and letters from researchers searching for possibly the same surname. Church archival records, obits, or announcements in newspapers often mention the ministers.
Here are a few clues for finding church records. Check for current affiliation, national origin, will or probate, deed, tombstone, obituary, tradition, death certificates, and hospital records [good luck on finding these.] New settlers went to churches close by if their preferred denomination was not close or non-existent. Locate nearby churches to ancestors locations. Find if they have an archive and search it if there is one.
Tombstones found in church cemeteries are often indicators but not always. My great grandmother is buried in a catholic cemetery but in the archives parish records a note in the margin says, “Not a Catholic.” Cemeteries are usually marked with a symbol, cross or cross below a square, on maps and easily located.
http://www.genealinks.com/. It searches by name, surname or location. I have better results with location, but once you find a hit, it sends you to another page that charges for the records.
The Inventories of Church Archives, compiled by the WPA in the 30s and 40s is good for that time period, but may not be presently.
Northern KY Church Recordshttp://www.genhelp.org/?p=120
Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, William Wade Hinshaw, 7 vols. (in 8), 1936-----. (Vols. 1-6 have been reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. Vol. 7 is available from the Indiana Historical Society.
A Guide to Church Records in the Archives Branch of the Virginia State Library, Jewell T. Clark and Elizabeth Terry Long (comps.), (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1981).
Handbook of American Denominations by Frank Mead (Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1970) and Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (also by Abingdon, under editorial direction of the National Council of Churches) have clues relating to congregations that merge.
The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, eds. Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984) for in-depth information on many genealogical topics. Google Books
Colonial Newspapers: Before the first newspaper was attempted in Boston, letters, also called broadsides, announced momentous events.
The Researchers Guide to American Genealogy, Val D. Greenwood. Excellent book.
Genealogical Records of the Colonial Americas, Christina K. Schaefer. An encyclopedia of available records of the American continent plus the surrounding islands. All of Christina’s books show the FHL microfilm numbers.
Search for colonial records at http://colonialancestors.com/harvard1.htm
About Ancestry’s Colonial Families in the U.S.
Ancestry says their database covers the families of the early English colonies in America. Beginning with the first landing at Jamestown this series covers families up through the start of the American Revolutionary War and beyond into the Nineteenth Century. Many vital records are included, as well as locations of births, marriages, and deaths. In addition to containing family genealogies this database also contains armorial bearings, or coats of arms, for some of the more prominent families from England and Scotland.
County Courts of the Quarter Sessions 1682-
Court of common pleas 1707-
Orphans Court 1716-
Provincial Court 1683-1707
Supreme Court 1707-
Chancery Court 1720-36
Prerogative Court 1625-1777
Court of Appeals 1650-1776
For more on colonial court records for the original 13 colonies see: Genealogical Encyclopedia of the Colonial Americas, Christina K. Schaefer. 1998. Genealogical Publishing Company (GPC).
Colonial New England Ancestors, Patricia law Hatcher, FASG. 2006. Ancestry, a division of My Family.com.
Directories hold a plethora of information relating to people and the history of the area. Each directory is different, but many have an index as well as a preface. Also check to see how often the director was published. There should be a page of abbreviations at the front of the book. Cities have various churches with many denominations. These should be listed and checked to find one your ancestor attended. A rule of thumb is that if you find your ancestor in one place in a particular time period, then he will have left other records behind. You just have to find them. Many directories are on Ancestry. Just go to the Card Catalog and search for directories.
Immigration and Passenger Arrival Records:
Kansas City Takes Possession of the A-files: http://tracingourroots.weebly.com/june-21.html
Ports of Arrival http://www.genesearch.com/ports.html
Internet Resources. http://www.lib.jmu.edu/genealogy/default.aspx
Land Deed/Patent, Abstract, Grant Search, Freehold, and
The headright grant was available to any settler who financed the transportation of others into Virginia, or to a non-resident who did so, or to anyone who paid for his own transportation. It began with the London Company Charter in 1618. The process required one to produce a receipt, or make oath to acquire the certificate. The certificate subsequently became a land warrant. The patent, issued after the warrant, may be used within a few months or several decades later. Once acquired the headright certificate can be sold like any other document. Observers seem to find that more certificates were issued than were ever used for patents. Headright patents were used in Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina, though relatively few persons were claimed in the Carolinas.
I found these were used in Maryland when it was first settled. They were in “Patent Books [sometimes spelled “Patend” in these early records].” I have had the pleasure of reading all St. Mary’s County, Maryland patent books from 1635-1745 on film rented from the FHL and read at the Plano FHC. Yes, I did find and identify my man! Not only do they tell about the indentured person, it also served as deeds and court minutes to document everything from wage default to cruelty against an indentured servant, to naming the first woman attorney who happened to be an Indian Princess.
Tax paid by freeholder [owner, not renter of the freeholder] to a feudal lord and be free of serving the lord in any other capacity.
Owns rather than rents land. Owns a Freehold.
Land Research, Tracing Our Roots. http://tracingourroots.weebly.com/august-30.html
Grants. Government issues first time ownership in the form of a grant and is filed with Grants. When original grant owner sells the property to a second party then that sale goes into the deed books.
The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, eds. Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny (Ancestry Publishing, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1984) for in-depth information on many genealogical topics. Google Books.
Court, Land & Probate Records. Court Records, Wills, Estate Records, Deeds, Land Claims. Genealogy Databases for Family History Research. http://www.genealogy.org/category.asp?cat=court
Marks and Brands: Place People through Marks and Brands:
Marks appear on the ear of the animal. The Marks and Brands books are in the courthouse. In McKinney, they are in the County Clerks’ Office.
I found in an antique newspaper that George Washington was my ancestor’s neighbor. I began to look at articles on our first president. Sure enough, I found that my ancestor was Washington’s chief surveyor. My ancestor owned and operated a mill along Three-Mile Run in Virginia. During one tight economic period, he asked Washington if he could borrow some money. In reading Washington’s diary I found Washington noted that John had paid back the loan in full. While tromping down the banks of Three-Mile Run, my husband and I found a small monument marking John’s mill put there by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The previous story gives my ancestor a personality, done through searching historical documents of the area around John’s home and farm. I found the newspaper in the library as well as Washington’s diary. I found the little marker along the creek bank while walking on John’s land, seeing the same birds, bugs and critters as he saw when he was alive. Giving an ancestor a personality is very gratifying.
Search Revolutionary War Rolls. See images of the actual regimental rolls from the National Archives. They are being put online through the joint project of National Archives and Footnote.com.
Search the images to see if your ancestors' records have been added yet. If they are not be sure to check back since this is an in-process project. Footnote.com is in the process of working with the National Archives to put images of these records online to be searched.
Search Revolutionary War Service Records, 1775-83: The Footnote database is a collection of records kept by the National Archives listing men who fought for the colonies during the war. This database contains only those records available in the National Archives and may not include all persons involved in the American Revolutionary War.
Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) Each volunteer soldier has one Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) for each regiment in which he served.
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ book: The County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ book in McKinney is in the County Clerks’ Office, but in Wichita Falls it is in the courthouse, but the collection is in the Veterans’ Department. I have never seen pictures of WWI soldiers in McKinney, but in Wichita Falls their books contain a picture and brief biography of the soldier. Inside the books are the discharge papers and it gives a physical description and lists all battles in which he served.
Search Revolutionary War Officers at Ancestry/Footnote.
The 1840 census asks if there is anyone in the household who served in the Revolutionary War. If there is, you can learn the name of the soldier, physical health, relationship, etc.
http://tracingourroots.weebly.com/march-1.html. I can’t stress how important these are, and they are located in the Tennessee Library and Archives. See: Tennessee Archives, March 1, 2009, http://tracingourroots.weebly.com/march-1.html.
In time I hope most states will digitize their Confederate pension files. The Florida pension files are important because so many served from the state of Georgia but registered in Florida. This is true of the counties along the border line between the two states.
U.S. Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records, 1775-1783: Ancestry.com
Ancestry is slowly uploading the naturalizations to the Internet. It is a slow process because naturalization papers are filed in many places. Finding and gathering all these in one place and indexing and digitizing is a job!
Information you need to know about naturalizations refers mainly to those applied and granted before 1906. They may be found in any court of record on a local, state, federal level, criminal or marine courts.
For a while after 1906 these were sometimes filed the federal courts, but some local courts continued processing them. I tell you this so you will know that looking in one place and not finding papers does not mean they won’t be in another court of record.
Many different forms were used to collect varying amounts of information from one court to another. The person may file in one place, submit in another and receive the certificate of naturalization in yet another. The Basic Naturalization Act was passed in September 1906 which turned the whole process over to the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, but now the U.S. Citizenship an Immigrations Services. Today, those forms are uniform.
1. Declarations of Intention are the first papers and usually filed for soon after coming into the States.
2. Petitions, also called second papers and final papers, were submitted to the court after the residency requirements are met.
3. Certificates of Naturalization have the name of the person, the court presenting the certificate, and the date it was issued. The status of the individual was asked in the 1900-1930 censuses. The code used in the 1920 census to denote the residency follows:
Na. – naturalized
Pa. – first papers filed
Al. – alien
The 1870 census asked whether a male citizen of the U.S. and over 21.
Another type of citizenship, derivative citizenship, was granted to wives and children of naturalized men. These were granted from 1790-1922. If a woman from another country married a US citizen, she automatically became a citizen. But, would you believe it is the other way around when a female US citizen married an alien man? Yes, she lost her citizenship. You must refer to the many different rules for the different decades for all the changes.
Go to www.Ancestry.com, then Card Catalog under Search; Naturalization.
For informative how-to articles click on Learning Center, then Article Archives.
U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes 1794-1995. Ancestry.com.
Oath of Allegiance: http://colonialancestors.com/
Citizens signed an oath declaring their allegiance to America. In addition to finding these in court records you can also find some in print, in electronic databases of genealogical societies and One Name Societies.
Many trades and occupations of colonial times are unfamiliar to us. We must use source books or the Internet for occupations.
???->NY: 1892-1924: LOWEN/LOAN/LOEWEN Surname, Ellis Island Records, 1892-1924 -
???->NY: The Lost Children of Ellis Island -
???->VA: 1634: Passengers to Virginia on Merchant Ship Bonaventure, Jan. 2, 1634 -
ENG->Barbadoes: 1634: Passengers to Barbadoes on the Ship Hopewell from London, Feb. 17, 1634 -
ENG->Barbados: 1634: Passengers to St. Christopher's (St. Kitts) and Barbadoes from London. Jan. 6, 1634 -
ENG->NY: 1914: U.S. Mail Steamer "New York", Southampton to New York via Cherbourg -
ENG->NY: 1950: M.V. "Britannic", Liverpool and Cobh to New York -
ENG->NY: 1950: R.M.S. "Franconia", Liverpool and Cobh to New York -
Ferrari DiFabio passenger list -
GER->NY: 1868: "Charlotte" from Bremen to New York, 06 July 1868 -
IRL->NY: 1803: "Wilmington", Belfast to New York -
IRL->NY: 1851: SS Alice Wilson, 4 Aug 1851 -
IRL->USA (Boston): 1848-1891: DORGAN (surname), Arrivals From Ireland To Boston -
IRL->USA (Boston): 1851: Brig. "Caroline", May 1851 -
ITA->NY: 1906: SS "Italia", Naples to New York, June 1906, Partial List -
ITA->USA: Selected Passenger List Information, Molise and Sicily, Italy to USA -
NY->ENG: 1915: Lusitania Passenger and Crew List, May 7 1915 (sinking) -
Passengers To and From Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1851 -
SCT->CAN: 1771: "Edinburgh", Campbeltown Scotland to St. Johns (Prince Edward Island) -
SCT->NY: 1840: British Barque "Tay", Aug 1840 -
SCT->NY: 1841: Brig "Czar" -
SCT->NY: 1842: British Barque "Gleaner" -
SCT->NY: 1850: Bark "Charlotte Harrison", Scotland to New York, Jul 1850 -
SCT->NY: 1850: British ship "Sarah", Glasgow to New York, Jul 1850 -
SCT->NY: 1911: SS California, 14 Oct 1911 -
SCT->NY: 1915: RMS Cameronia, 23 Jul 1915 -
SCT->USA (NC): 1770: "Edinburgh", Campbeltown Scotland to Cape Fear NC -
SCT->USA (NC): 1774: "Diana", Scotland to Wilmington North Carolina, Sept 1774 -
UK->NZ/Aus: RMS Maraoa - Australia and New Zealand Data
Wills and Probate
Administrator: a woman assigned by the court to administer an estate where there is no valid will.
Concubine: a woman who lives with a man to whom she is not married.
Consort: companion: term for when the woman predeceased her husband.
Dower: a legal provision for a woman’s support and that of her children after her husband’s death; typically one-third of the husband’s property; also known as “Widow’s thirds.”
Dowry: property the bride brings to her marriage
Executrix: the woman named in a will to distribute the estate.
Grass widow: a woman whose husband had deserted her, also used to refer to a woman who has illegitimate children or to a discarded common-law wife.
Relict: a widow[See Black’s law for better definition.]
Vital records began being recorded about 1903, but later for some states. They are written at the time of the event, usually the information was given by a relative or very close friend. They give names, dates, places, relationships, and sometimes occupation of the deceased and parents’ occupation. Vital records record the births, marriages, divorces and deaths in the community. These records unravel the mystery of maiden names, married names—even first and middle names. Remember to check divorce records for both the maiden name and married name of the females. I found one female who married four times—each time she used her maiden name.
There are records in the courthouse for name changes. There is no telling what you might find in these records.
Ancestry has many of these online as well as FamilySearch Labs. If you enter as much information as you can the results should be successful. Enter too little information and the results will be enormous.
http://labs.familysearch.org/ and then click either FamilySearch Alpha, Record Search, Forums, Research Wiki, Family Tree, etc.
 Patent Series, Patends Certificates & Warrants, Hall of Records, Annapolis, MD. Liber A, folio 59, p. 95, and Liber F, folio 51, p. 27. “Robert Kedger XE "Kedger" transported into the colonies himself, his wife, and servant, Miles Richards XE "Miles Richards" in 1641.” FHC 13063.Microfilm on loan from the Family History. Hereafter cited as Patent Series.