Monday, June 9, 2014

Missouri Notes from Arkansas Freedman's Bureau Records

The value of the Freedman's Bureau records can not be over emphasized. One often hears people with ancestors from border states referring to the Bureau having little to nothing for them as their ancestral state did not have a Bureau office.

However, it is always wise to look at neighboring states, with the same concept of studying the neighbors in the census records. Just as our ancestors did not live in a vacuum, the states did not conduct business in a vacuum. People crossed county lines and state borders when they needed to and in the case of Missouri which did not secede, there were still people in those Missouri that used the services of the Freedman's Bureau, who made claims of varying types.

While recently examining the Arkansas Freedman's Bureau office and the Ft. Smith field office, I noticed the letterhead on one of the documents. The letterhead reflected that the Bureau served multiple communities, including Indian Territory as well as Missouri the neighboring state to the north.

The following document was submitted by a father of a deceased Civil War soldier who lived in Missouri. The father's name was Alexander Yaeger, who pointed out that he was a free man before the Civil War. In this document he declared that his son Peter Gibbs Yaegar was also not enslaved, and was also a free man. 

He requested that any bounty to be paid to his son, now be paid to him, as his son was deceased. He also requested that the bounty be sent to him in at his residence in Missouri.

Source of Images: Family Search Digitized Image of Freedman's Bu-reau Records
Arkansas Field Offices, Freedmens Bureau 1864-1872, Claims Division, Roll 1, Letters and Miscellaneous Papers May - Oct 1866, Image #4 of 46
Link: HERE

Another part of the same record contains the statement by two others who could verify that the soldiers Peter Gibbs Yaeger was indeed a free man of color and not enslaved. His free status would then have made his father eligible to receive the bounty for his now deceased son who served in the 79th US Colored Infantry. (see second image above.)

This is the kind of document that could be missed by a Missouri based researcher, if it was assumed that Arkansas Freedman's Bureau records would not be essential for the Missouri based family.

When this massive record set becomes indexed, the chances of the Missouri researcher finding data in the Arkansas based records may be higher, however, there still remains the possibility that one might choose to overlook the document based on geography. It is always wise to still examine any records that can be found and to widen one's search to include neighboring states.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Reflections from the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree 2014

Sign outside of Mariott Burbank
The Southern California Genealogy Jamboree got off to a great start on Friday June 6th at the Mariott Hotel in Burbank California. The World Roundtable sessions got off to a great start and allowed people to come in and chat with others about topics of interest to them. I was able to capture several images from several tables and it appeared that there were some good exchanges of information unfolding in at the various stations throughout the room.

Bernice Bennett hosted a discussion at the roundtable focusing on a search for identity. Several people joined the discussion and seemed to have had some engaging dialogue.

Several people from the California African American Genealogy Society came to join in the discussion. 

Dorothylou Sands and Bernadine Anderson from CAAGS.

Blogging leader, Thomas Macentee lead a lively discussion.

There was discussion occurring at the table on Portuguese and Azores ancestry.

The Irish Genealogy discussion group appeared to be lively and involved.

As several people came and joined discussion at the Identity table a group photo was taken.

I enjoyed a conversation about the Dawes records and Mississippi Choctaw records. I enjoyed sharing copies of documents that are digitized online with the Native American focused participants.

Later in the day I had the honor of being on a panel with Bernice Bennett and we were moderated by Nicka Smith. Our topic was the "Future of African American Genealogy".

After the presentation, we had a wonderful time taking questions and interacting with many of the audience who had several questions, and who were enthusiastic and eager to share some of their own stories as well.

Later time was taken at the exhibit hall, and some of those images will be shared tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Remembering Pvt. Louis Bass

Pvt. Louis Bass
St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiancourt France

Pvt. Louis Bass died on June 4, 1918. He was a quiet man from Horatio, Arkansas, who was serving in the 309th Labor  Battalion in France when he died. He never made it home, and the family has never seen his gravesite. But at long last a color image of his headstone and his final resting place has been shared and it can be treasured by following generations forever.

In a previous article, I wrote about my great grandmother Georgia Ann Bass whose son Louis Bass died in France. She was eligible to make a trip to France to visit his grave as a Gold Star Mother. But she was getting on in years and was unable to travel to France. She also did not live too long after the invitation was received. But had she been able to make the trip, this is the grave site that she would have visited, for this was the son, whom she had lost.

Today on the 96th anniversary of his death, the American Battle Monument Commission, posted the image of his headstone, and honored him.

This is the perfect ending to the story, and now thanks to technology, although our great grandmother never got to see this image, now the entire family around the world can see this headstone and view his final resting place.

A humble man from Horatio Arkansas who rests in France can now be forever remembered.