Genealogy Pointers (05/27/2014) In this issue: Bargain Books for May

Genealogy Pointers (05/27/2014)
In this issue:
Bargain Books for May
For Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships: Seamen’s Protection Certificates
Published Indexes to Seamen’s Protection Certificate Applications
Pennsylvania Research Guide Now “At a Glance”
Bargain Books for May
(All prices reduced by 25% or more below retail.)
A History of Pleasants County, West Virginia
This county history covers the high points from the early explorers of the area through the
aftermath of World War I, including the following specific chapters: Pleasants County in the
Civil War; Early Industries; First Schools; and the World War. Still other chapters concern the
history of St. Mary's (the county seat), contemporary industries, county politics, and various
religious denominations. Genealogists may wish to begin their reading at the end of the volume
with the genealogical and historical sketches of about fifty Pleasants County families.
Marriages and Deaths from Lynchburg, Virginia Newspapers, 1794-1836
These abstracts of marriage and death notices include references to 6,000 persons and give such
additional information as date and place of marriage, name of bride's parents, date and place of
death, age at death, and in many instances, place of birth and former place of residence of the
Marriages and Death Notices from Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 17991825
Marriages and Death Notices in Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 1826-1845
Marriages and Death Notices in Raleigh Register and North Carolina State Gazette, 1846-1867.
2 vols. in 1
These three collections of North Carolina marriage and death records from around the Tar Heel
State were compiled by Carrie Broughton from the weekly newspaper Raleigh Register and
North Carolina State Gazette, founded in 1799 as the Raleigh Register and North Carolina
Weekly Advertiser. The first volume in the series (1799-1825) contains over 5,000 entries, with
approximately two-thirds devoted to marriages and one-third to deaths. Marriages are arranged
in alphabetical order by year, showing the names of both bride and groom and place of marriage,
as well as the name of the newspaper and date of publication. Deaths are also arranged in
alphabetical order by year, giving the name of the decedent, date of death, place of residence,
and the name and date of the newspaper. The 1826-1845 volume is arranged similarly to the one
above. Part I is devoted to marriages and contains about 8,000 entries under the names of both
bride and groom. Part II, the deaths, contains about 4,000 entries. The final volume in the series
(1846-1867), a consolidation of two Bulletins of the North Carolina State Library, is published
as two volumes in one and follows the pattern of the other volumes. Altogether more than 5,000
mid-19th-century North Carolinians are identified.
1799-1825: $21.50
1826-1845: $36.50
1846-1867: $22.50
Annals of Tazewell County, Virginia from 1800 to 1924. 2 vols.
Volume I of this history contains abstracts of court orders, wills, and deeds; the names of all civil
and military officers of the county; all lawyers admitted to the bar; all preachers licensed to
celebrate the rites of matrimony and an exact copy of the Tazewell marriage registers from 1800
to 1852; the names of all Tazewell representatives in the General Assembly of Virginia from
1800 to 1852; and a list of Revolutionary pensioners. Volume II continues the principal features
of Volume I from 1853, with marriage records; the names of all devisers and devisees of wills;
Tazewell soldiers in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War I; court orders; and
more. The concluding 250 pages of the book, moreover, consist of lengthy genealogies of a core
group of pioneer families of Tazewell County, referencing nearly 40,000 persons.
For Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships: Seamen’s Protection Certificates
(Excerpted from an article by the late Carolyn Barkley that appeared on on July 8, 2010)
Between the end of May and the beginning of July, Americans observe two holidays, Memorial
Day and Independence Day, that celebrate generations of statesmen, soldiers, sailors, militia
men, merchant seamen, and others who helped form and preserve this nation. When we celebrate
Independence Day, we are not only commemorating the birth of our nation, as represented by the
Declaration of Independence, but we are also celebrating the outcomes of the Revolutionary War
and the War of 1812. Both of these events represent periods in our history when the future of the
new nation was in real danger.
Even after the close of the Revolutionary War, Great Britain did not let its former subjects in the
colonies go easily. None, perhaps, were more in danger than those who followed the sea,
venturing into the oceans where Britannica clearly ruled the waves. With its active European
military campaigns, blockades of foreign ports, and a need to control its wide-spread empire,
Britain was in constant need of manpower for the Royal Navy. One frequently employed method
of acquiring sailors was the press gang, whose members habituated pubs and brothels in Britain,
rounding up deserters and innocent citizens alike. Not content with preying solely on British
subjects, these gangs began to “press” seamen from neutral commercial vessels, including
American ships. In addition, ships of the Royal Navy began to stop these neutral ships while at
sea in order to inspect crew lists and remove individuals whom they considered to be British
American ship captains appealed such seizures to their government. As a result, on 28 May 1796
an Act for the Relief and Protection of American Seamen (1 Stat. 477) was passed by Congress,
establishing procedures for the issuance of certificates of citizenship. The Collector of Customs
at an individual port of entry would issue these certificates to merchant seamen and masters of
merchant vessels engaged in foreign trade. The intent was to document a seaman’s American
citizenship and thus prevent his detention or impressment into the Royal Navy. An application
for the “protection” certificate cost $.25 and was entirely voluntary. The certificate itself was
issued only after the individual provided proof of citizenship. The Collector did not retain a copy
of the application itself but did keep copies of the proofs provided and did record the issuance of
the certificate. He also provided regular reports to the Department of State listing all of the
seamen he had registered under the act during the previous quarter. As time passed, the need for
protection certificates was reduced significantly and few if any were issued between 1875 and
the beginning of the First World War when, in 1917, seamen once again felt a need to prove their
citizenship. National Archives Record Group 36, Records of the United States Customs Service,
includes seamen’s protection certificate files from 1796 to 1869. (Records for those issued
between 1917 and 1940 can be found in Record Group 41, Records of the Bureau of Marine
Inspection and Navigation.)
National Archives Microfilm Publications M1826 (Port of New Orleans), M1825 (Ports of Bath
Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire), and M1880 (Port of Philadelphia) include “Proofs of
Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen’s Protection Certificates.” Inclusive years vary for the
various ports. The majority of these declarations, arranged chronologically by year and then by
the number assigned by the Collector, were most frequently recorded on printed forms. These
forms disclose the number assigned by the Customs Collector, the name of the witness, the name
of the seaman, his age, place of birth, residence at the time of the declaration, port and date of
declaration, height, hair color, eye color, and complexion (ruddy, white, brown).
For a genealogist, these declarations can provide a treasure trove of information often
unavailable elsewhere. Here are a few examples:
On 30 September 1817, Manuel Gonzales appeared before Philip Pedesceaux, N.P., to
attest that he had been an inhabitant of the Province of New Orleans since 1810. He
indicated further that he was a native of Briana[o], Portugal and was 36 years old with
dark hair, dark eyes, and a dark complexion. He stood 5’4” tall and signed the document
with his mark. Joseph Fereyra and Joaquim Lozano witnessed his application. (M1826,
reel 8)
On 6 January 1818, John Allan [Allan], seaman, appeared before Carlisle Pollock,
Esquire, N.P. to attest that he was a native of Philadelphia and a citizen of the United
States. He was 24 years of age, stood 5’3”, and had black eyes, black hair, and black
complexion. He signed his application with his mark and the document was witnessed by
Nicholas Marchand. (M1826, reel 8)
On 7 January 1818, William C. C. Claiborne, Governor of the Territory of New Orleans,
certified that the oath of allegiance had been “duly administered to Etienne Augustine, a
free man of color on 4 January 1811.” Augustine then attested before Narcissas Broutine,
N.P., that he was a native of the city of St. Nicholas (St. Domingue), but had been a
citizen of “this place” previous to 30 April 1803 (the date of the cessation of the
Louisiana Purchase to the United States) and was still a resident in 1811. He was 5’10”,
had black hair, blue eyes and a “honey” complexion and signed his own name to the
document. Witnesses, described as “two additional freemen of color,” were Lewis
Daunoy and Lewis Simon. (M1826, reel 5)
National Archives Microfilm Publication M2003 provides access to the “Quarterly Abstracts of
Seaman’s Protection Certificates for New York City (1815-1859),” although some quarters do
not have abstracts. These records include the certificate number and its date, the seaman’s age,
height (or description of stature), complexion (often noted as only light or dark), nativity, state,
and remarks such as “naturalized.” In later years, hair color was added as a descriptor. A review
of one page of abstracts finds seamen with a variety of places of birth including Massachusetts,
Maine, South Carolina, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New
Jersey. An interesting example was found in the third quarter of 1862: Abbot Kinsman’s
certificate, issued on 9 August 1862, listed his age as 17, his height as 5’8”. He had dark hair and
a dark complexion. He was born in China of American parents. If your ancestor was Abbot
Kinsman and you had been searching in vain for his place of birth, this record would be
invaluable to advancing your research.
It will be important for you to check as many extant records as possible regardless of the
indicated port. I found that in smaller ports such as Bath, Maine, the applications tended to be
from seamen from the immediate region (and perhaps neighboring states). In large ports such as
New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia, seamen’s places of origin spanned a large American
and European geographical landscape. In particular, these records represent an important source
of documentation for African Americans.
While I chose to do my research for this article by using microfilmed records at the National
Archives in Washington, D.C., you may also want to consult some of the printed sources that are
available, including those in the following article.
Published Indexes to Seamen’s Protection Certificate Applications
Ruth Priest Dixon’s indexes to Seamen’s Protection Certificate Applications are the leading
published sources on this topic. Her Index to Seamen, with Supplement, 1796-1823 (co-authored
with Katherine Eberly) lists the names of merchant seamen who made application for a Seamen's
Protection Certificate at the Port of Philadelphia between 1796 and 1823
( The
names of 14,397 seamen appear in this volume, and each is identified according to the date of the
SPC application, age, race, and state or country of birth. The companion volume to this work,
Index to Seamen, [1824-1861] lists an additional 18,000 seamen
( A
third volume from Mrs. Dixon, Index to Seamen’s Protection Certificate Applications and Proofs
of Citizenship, Ports of New Orleans, LA; New Haven, CT; Bath; and Additional Ports . . . .
contains SPC records from ports from New England all the way down to Louisiana.
Another printed source for SPCs is Maureen Taylor’s Register of Seamen’s Protection
Certificates from the Providence, Rhode Island Custom District. Based on a typescript of a
handwritten card index created from registers of Seaman's Protection Certificates for the port of
Providence, Rhode Island, this volume lists nearly 10,000 seamen. The arrangement of the data
is alphabetical by the seaman's surname and indicates his date of certification, age, complexion,
city and state of birth, and the source of the entry.
Pennsylvania Research Guide Now “At a Glance”
Pennsylvania was the only colony that made it an official practice to document alien immigrant
arrivals, beginning in 1727. Do you know where to find those records?
What major Pennsylvania genealogical repositories will you find in Philadelphia, Harrisburg,
Pittsburgh, and Bethlehem?
Pennsylvania had nine newspapers on the eve of the American Revolution--the most of any
colony. Can you name any of them?
Did you know that Pennsylvania conducted its own state censuses before the U.S. Government?
As early as 1800, those enumerations list the names, ages, sex, and residence of slaves living in
the state. Where can you find them?
When working with census records, it’s important to consider if you are looking in the correct
county. Do you know which six counties were divided or altered the most in Pennsylvania’s
If your ancestors migrated through Pennsylvania, what role did the state’s topography play in
determining their migration patterns? And how did those movements change following the
Revolutionary War?
The answers to these questions and many more await you in Pennsylvania Genealogy Research,
by John Humphrey, in our series of four-sided research guides, Genealogy at a Glance.
Written by veteran genealogist John Humphrey, this work addresses topics that are essential to
Pennsylvania genealogy, from settlement background and record sources to Internet sites and
libraries. In just four pages Mr. Humphrey manages to encapsulate 300 years of Pennsylvania
genealogy by striking all the right notes, building on his formidable experience as an expert on
family history in the Keystone State.
This is no small feat since there are several things about Pennsylvania genealogy that are
radically different from other early states. First, with respect to religion and ethnicity,
Pennsylvania was the most diverse colony in British North America; second, in 1790 it was the
most populous state in the country; and third, it was the second most populous state in the United
States for more than a century--all of which bring an unexpected level of difficulty to the task.
Fortunately, John Humphrey was up to it! See if you don’t agree after you have had a chance to
examine Genealogy at a Glance: Pennsylvania Genealogy Research.
Following is a list of the other U.S. guides in the series, complete with links to full descriptions.
Genealogy at a Glance: Michigan Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: Virginia Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: Old Southwest Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: Revolutionary War Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: Civil War Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: U.S. Federal Census Records
Genealogy at a Glance: African-American Genealogy Research
Genealogy at a Glance: Cherokee Genealogy Research
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