Acadian-Cajun Timeline, 1603-1812

The following article was written by my good friend, William Dollarhide:

An historical timeline of events relating to the Acadians-Cajuns was extracted from the Maine Name Lists and Louisiana Name Lists books. The area of present Maine was at one time claimed by both the French colony of Acadia and the English colony of Massachusetts Bay. After the British-imposed expulsion of the Acadians, their final gathering point was concentrated in Spanish Louisiana. Upon the Louisiana Purchase, these new Americans were often called “Cajuns.” The timeline here reflects the history of the founding of French Acadia, their battles with the British, their expulsion, and their gathering in Louisiana.

1603. French nobleman Pierre DuGua (Sieur DeMonts) was granted exclusive rights to colonize the area he had named l’Acadie (Acadia), granted by French King Henry IV. The area of Acadia included all of present Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and most of Maine.

1604 Acadia. DeMonts established a French colony on St. Croix Island, at the mouth of the St. Croix River, now Maine. After surviving a bad Winter, the entire colony was moved across the Bay of Fundy to Port-Royal, now Nova Scotia.

1611. From his base in Port-Royal, Acadia, French Jesuit Priest Pierre Baird, crossed the Bay of Fundy to an island on the Penobscot River of present Maine, where he established an Indian mission.

1613. Father Baird and others attempted a new French mission on Mount Desert Island (present Maine), but soon after their arrival, they were arrested by English Captain Samuel Argall of the Jamestown Colony.

1689-1690. King William’s War. Soon after they were crowned, William III and Mary II joined a European alliance against France, and the subsequent battles became known as King William’s War. In 1689, several battles took place, including the French attack on Saco, Maine; followed by the English attack and destruction of the French Acadia capital of Port-Royal in 1690.

1696. During King Williams’s War, French forces from Pentagouet (present Castine, Maine) attacked and destroyed the English settlement at Pemaquid (present Bristol, Maine). Pemaquid was the northernmost community of New England, lying on the border with French Acadia. The French community of Pentagouet was the southernmost settlement of French Acadia. After the Siege of Pemaquid, the French forces continued north and destroyed virtually every English settlement in Newfoundland, and deported over 500 people back to England. In retaliation, the English attacked and destroyed more Acadian communities, including present Fredericton, New Brunswick.

1702. Queen Anne’s War. This was a decisive war in the series of conflicts between France and England. Battles took place in New England, Newfoundland, Québec and Acadia. One notable event was the brutal French/Indian raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1704, where the surviving English colonists were forced to march to Québec as hostages. The English Queen Anne succeeded to the throne after the death of Mary II, her older sister, and William III, who died in 1702 without issue. Queen Anne’s reign of 1702-1714 was about the same duration as the war that took her name. The English prevailed in most of the battles, and the war marked a turning point for the success of English interests over the French in North America.

1713. The Peace of Utrecht ended Queen Anne’s War. France ceded to Great Britain its claims to Newfoundland, Hudsons Bay, and the peninsular part of French Acadia, which the British had renamed Nova Scotia. The British took possession of the peninsula area and required the Acadians to swear allegiance to Britain or leave. The continental part of Acadia (including areas of present Maine and New Brunswick) remained in French control and a number of displaced Acadians from the British side moved across the Bay of Fundy to lands near the St. John and St. Croix rivers.

1718. La Nouvelle-Orleans (New Orleans) was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne (Sieur de Bienville). It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, the Regent of France. That year saw hundreds of French colonists arriving in Louisiana.

1719. Baton Rouge was established by the French as a military post.

1721 Arkansas Post. French and German colonists abandoned Arkansas Post, the largest settlement of all of French Louisiana. As a failed farming community, Arkansas Post was typical of the French efforts to colonize North America south of the Great Lakes. Arkansas Post continued as a trading post, and the French presence in the Mississippi Basin now became one of mostly single French fur trappers and traders paddling their canoes from one trading post to the next.

1721 German Coast. A group of German immigrants, who had first settled at Arkansas Post, acquired farm land on the east side of the Mississippi River north of New Orleans. Many of them were formerly of the German-speaking Alsace-Lorraine area of France. They easily adapted themselves to the French culture of Louisiana, and later intermarried with the French Acadians coming into the same area. Their main settlements were at Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg, all part of the German Coast. The farms they operated were to become the main source of food for New Orleans for decades.

1755-1758 Expulsion of the Acadians. At the beginning of the French and Indian War, the British completed their conquest of Acadia, and in 1755, began forcibly removing Acadians from their homes. (The British remembered the forced deportations imposed by the French against the English in Newfoundland back in 1696). The first expulsions were to the lower British colonies but in 1758 they began transporting Acadians back to France. Those Acadians who avoided deportation made their way to other French-speaking areas, such as present Québec, present New Brunswick, or present Maine. For an historical reference to the era, re-read Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline,” which was based on the events of the Acadian expulsions.

1763. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 ended the French and Indian War (it was called the Seven Years War in Canada and Europe). France was the big loser, and lost virtually all of its remaining North American claims. The areas east of the Mississippi and all of Acadia/Nova Scotia and Québec were lost to Britain; the areas west of the Mississippi went to Spain. After the Treaty of Paris, George III issued a proclamation renaming the Province of Québec as the Province of Canada. He also issued the Proclamation Line of 1763, in which Indian Reserves were established west of the Appalachian Mountain Range, limiting western migrations by all of the British colonies. Soon after the treaty, all French military personnel left their North American posts. But, French civilian settlements continued in Lower Louisiana, such as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Arkansas Post, and Natchez; and in Upper Louisiana, such as Prairie du Chien, Kaskaskia, and Vincennes. Spain did not take military control of Spanish Louisiana until 1766 (at New Orleans) and 1770 (at St. Louis).

1764-1765 Acadian Coast. Per terms of the Treaty of Paris, the British were given the right to remove the remaining French Acadians, but agreed to provide resettlement assistance. The destinations were not always clear, and the displaced Acadians were sometimes loaded onto ships headed to Boston, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, or Mobile. After a few initial families made their way to New Orleans via Mobile in early 1764, several shiploads of Acadians arrived in New Orleans in early 1765. Their first settlements were on the west side of the Mississippi River, near the present areas of St. James and Ascension Parishes. That first area became known as the Acadian Coast. Today there are 22 parishes of Louisiana considered part of Acadiana, a modern description of the region of southern Louisiana west of the Mississippi River first settled by French Acadians. For more details on the first Acadians in Louisiana, visit the Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History website. See www.acadian-cajun.com/hiscaj2b.htm.

1766. Antonio de Ulloa became the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, headquartered at New Orleans. He was a brilliant scientist (discoverer of the element Platinum), highly regarded by Spanish Royalty, but rose to his highest level of incompetence as a military leader.

1768. The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768 was an attempt by a combined armed force of French Acadians, French Creoles and German Coast settlers around New Orleans to stop the handover of French La Louisiane to Spain. The rebels forced Spanish Governor de Ulloa to leave New Orleans and return to Spain, but his replacement Alejandro O’Reilly was able to crush the rebellion. O’Reilly, an Irishman turned Cuban, was responsible for establishing military rule in Spanish Louisiana.

1777-1778. During the Revolutionary War, a number of French-speaking Acadians from Louisiana joined their counterparts from the leftover French settlements of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. They were added to the Virginia Militia force commanded by General George Rogers Clark. General Clark later noted that the fiercely anti-British fighters he gained from the French communities contributed greatly to his monumental victories against the British in the conquest of the Old Northwest.

1783 United States of America. The treaty of Paris of 1783 first recognized the United States as an independent nation, with borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from present Maine to Georgia. The treaty also reaffirmed the claims of Britain to present Canada; and Spain’s claim to East Florida, West Florida, New Spain (including Nuevo Mexico & Tejas), and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.

1800-1802 Louisiana. In Europe, Napoleon defeated the Spanish in battle and gained title to Louisiana again after trading them a couple of duchies in Italy. However, Napoleon found that his troops in the Caribbean were under siege and unable to provide much help in establishing a French government in Louisiana. Several months later, when American emissaries showed up in Paris trying to buy New Orleans from him, Napoleon decided to unload the entire tract. – legally described as “the drainage of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.”

1803 Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson urged Congress to vote in favor, and the U.S. purchased the huge area from France, doubling the size of the United States. But, disputed claims to areas of Lower Louisiana now existed between Spain and the U.S., in particular, the area between the Red River and Sabine River in present Louisiana; and the area of West Florida, east of the Mississippi River.

1804-1805. In 1804, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two jurisdictions: Louisiana District and Orleans Territory. The latter had north and south bounds the same as the present state of Louisiana, but did not include its present Florida Parishes, and its northwest corner extended on an indefinite line west into Spanish Tejas. The first capital of Orleans Territory was New Orleans. For a year, Louisiana District was attached to Indiana Territory for judicial administration, but became Louisiana Territory with its own Governor on July 4, 1805. St. Louis was the first capital of Louisiana Territory.

1812. April 30th. The same area as old Orleans Territory became Louisiana, the 18th state in the Union. New Orleans became the first state capital.

1812. June 4th. Louisiana Territory was renamed Missouri Territory. For about five weeks in 1812, a
Louisiana Territory and a State of Louisiana existed at the same time.

Further Reading:
Maine Name Lists: Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes, 1623-2012, by William Dollarhide
Maine Name Lists (PDF)
Online Maine Name Lists, a 4-page laminated Insta-GuideTM
Online Maine Name Lists (PDF)
Louisiana Name Lists: Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes, 1679-2001, by William Dollarhide
Louisiana Name Lists (PDF)
Online Louisiana Name Lists, a 4-page laminated Insta-GuideTM
Online Louisiana Name Lists (PDF)

About Kentucky’s Land Records

This article is by my good friend, William Dollarhide:

The following is based on information in the new Kentucky Name Lists book:

The original lands of Kentucky were inherited from Virginia when Kentucky became a state in 1792. The Kentucky Land Office was established soon after, acquiring record copies of all of the original Virginia land grants issued since 1774 in the area of old Fincastle County, Virginia. The Kentucky Land Office is still the keeper of the original land records and is a great resource for genealogical research in Kentucky. Information from the Kentucky Land Office webpage: “In Kentucky, land is allocated via the patenting process. The Kentucky Secretary of State’s office is the repository for all records pertaining to patents issued within the Kentucky boundary, including those issued by the state of Virginia prior to Kentucky’s statehood in 1792. This website contains searchable databases and information regarding military warrants issued for service in the French and Indian War, Lord Dunmore’s War and the Revolutionary War; non-military warrants and the resulting patents and a number of other databases. For additional information about Kentucky land records and related topics, please visit the Land Office’s Online Resources page, which houses materials that will aid researchers in their study of the Kentucky land patenting process and Land Office databases. If you would like to obtain copies of records maintained by the Land Office, please print and return or submit online a Land Office Order Form. Prepayment is not required; an invoice will be included when your order is returned to you. Please feel free to contact us about your research.” See the KY Name Lists book (page KY-6) for a screen print of the search form for Kentucky Land Patents. For the Land Office Contact Form, see
www.sos.ky.gov/admin/land/cities/Pages/Land-Office-Contact-Form.aspx.

Included in the new Kentucky Name Lists book (page KY-2), is a map and description of the last Indian Cessions of land within the present state of Kentucky.

Royce-Map-TN-&-Surrounding-300pw

Indian Cessions – Tennessee & Kentucky, a part of Map No. 54, “Tennessee and Portions of Bordering States,” in Indian Land Cessions in the United States, compiled by Charles C. Royce, published by the Government Printing Office in 1899. To download the full map or find information about the text for the numbered cessions, see http://usgwarchives.net/maps/cessions/. The importance of understanding the areas and time periods of Indian Cessions in the U.S. is to know where and when it was possible for legal white settlement to take place. Although squatters were known to invade areas not yet ceded by the Indians, no one was permitted to purchase land until the area had been officially ceded by treaty with the various Indian tribes. Included on the map above are four numbered Indian Cession areas extending from Tennessee into Kentucky. Refer to the numbered cessions, Indian tribes, cession years, and descriptions of the areas below:

● Cession No. 3 (Cherokee, 1785), including the present towns of Nashville, Carthage, and Byrdstown, Tennessee; and Albany, Burkesville, and Monticello, Kentucky.

● Cession No. 55 (Chickasaw, 1805), an area between the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to the Ohio River, including a narrow stretch into Kentucky.

● Cession No. 57 (Cherokee, 1805), an area including the present towns of Waverly, McMinnville, Sparta, and Huntsville, Tennessee; to an area including Williamsburg and Pineville, Kentucky.

● Cession No. 100 (Chickasaw, 1818), the western parts of Tennessee and Kentucky lying between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. The Tennessee portion included the present towns of Memphis, Dyersburg, and Paris, Tennessee; and the Kentucky portion included the present towns of Murray, Mayfield, and Paducah, Kentucky. Although the region was purchased by the U.S. Government, title to the land fell to the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, two state land states. The Tennessee portion of Cession No. 100 is simply called West Tennessee. The Kentucky portion of Cession No. 100, is referred to as The Jackson Purchase. In Kentucky, the Jackson Purchase included both military tracts and public tracts, as specified by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1820. The entire area was surveyed using the US Rectangular System with townships, ranges, and sections. The public land was then sold in quarter sections (160 acre parcels). The Jackson Purchase region was the only part of Kentucky not surveyed with the colonial Metes and Bounds system of land measurement it had inherited from Virginia in the 1770s.

For more information, see
Kentucky Name Lists: Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes, 1773-2000, by William Dollarhide.
Kentucky Name Lists (PDF)
Online Kentucky Name Lists, a 4-page laminated Insta-Guide
Online Kentucky Name Lists (PDF)

Bleeding Kansas – Part 2: Genealogical Resources from the Era of Kansas Territory, 1854-1861

The following article by my good friend, William Dollarhide:

In Bleeding Kansas-Part 1, we presented an historical timeline of events leading up to the era of “Bleeding Kansas,” a reference to the bloody battles that took place in Kansas Territory from its founding in 1854 to statehood in 1861. In this Bleeding Kansas-Part 2, an essential list of genealogical resources was extracted from Dollarhide’s new book, Kansas Name Lists: Online and Published Censuses and Substitutes, 1854-2012.

Genealogists have some interesting tools for locating an ancestor in Kansas Territory during this period, because the Pro-Slavery and Free-Staters who invaded Kansas Territory are mostly all named in various censuses, tax lists, and voter lists – a genealogical gold mine of information not found in other states.

Essential Genealogical Resources:
1854-1856 Name Lists. See Troubles in Kansas [Online Database], an excellent review and name lists from the Bleeding Kansas era, with links to the following: 1) A Brief History. 2) 1855 Kansas Census – Index of Voters. 3) Index of Testimony. 4) Emigrant Aid Society Settler List. 5) Further Reading. 6) Bibliography and Credits, and 7) The KSGenWeb Page. See http://www.ksgenweb.com/archives/troubles.html.

1854-1856 Name Lists. See The 1854-1856 Voters of the Territory of Kansas: Includes the Eighteen Original Districts and Voting Qualifications [Printed Book], compiled by Debra Graden, published 1999, publisher not noted, 630 pages. Lists voters alphabetically by surname. FHL book 978.1 N4g. This database of names was indexed online at the Ancestry.com website as Kansas Voter Registration Lists, 1854-1856. See
http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3961.

1854-1856 Name Lists. See Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas, With the Views of the Minority of Said Committee [Digitized Book], original published Washington, DC, C. Wendell, Printer, 1856, 1,206 pages. Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2013, from an original copy at the Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, IN. To view the digital images, see the online FHL catalog page for this title: https://familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=2239035&disp=Report+of+the+special+committee+appointe%20%20&columns=*,0,0.

1854-1856 Name Lists. See An Index to the Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas, 1856 [Printed Book & Microfilm], compiled by Robert A. Hodge, published by the author, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1984, 2 vols. 396 pages. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 provided for the organization of the Kansas Territory in preparation for statehood. This act required the citizens of the territory to vote on the issue of slavery. Due to disagreement as to what constituted authorized voters, the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress appointed a special committee to investigate the issue. The bulk of the report consisted of testimonies, lists of names from the census records, poll books and voting registers. This is an index to that report. Contents: Vol. 1: A-L . Vol. 2: M-Z. FHL book 978.1 X3h, v.1 & 2, also on 6 microfiche, FHL fiche #6111324. Some of the name lists were indexed online at the Ancestry.com website. For the free search screen to Kansas Election List, 1854, see http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=4099.

1854-1856 Name Lists. See Kansas Pioneers of 1855: That Came by Way of New England Emigrant Aid Company [Printed Book], extracted by Debra F. Graden. In 1856 the U.S. House of Representatives ordered a special committee to investigate the pro-slave vs free-state troubles in Kansas. One purpose of the hearings was to determine whether the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society hired men to come to Kansas solely to manipulate the voting. This extract contains excerpts from testimony given by some of the settlers whose emigration to Kansas was sponsored by the New England Emigrant Aid Society. Also includes lists of all who emigrated to Kansas under the Emigrant Aid Society’s sponsorship during early 1855. Published by the author, Leavenworth, KS, 1997, 72 pages, FHL book 978.1 W2g.

1854-1856 Name Lists. See The Conquest of Kansas: by Missouri and her Allies; a History of the Troubles in Kansas, from the Passage of the Organic Act Until the Close of July, 1856 [Digitized book], by William Phillips, published Boston, Phillips, Sampson and Co., 1856, 414 pages. This is a history written during the era of Bleeding Kansas, and is a rather one-sided view of the events taking place there. Written by a Boston editor, obviously on the Free-Stater side of things, he offers no apologies for his viewpoints. The book is listed here because the names of the players involved in the conflict are mentioned. See the FHL catalog page to access the digital images of this book. See
https://familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=2115851&disp=The+conquest+of+Kansas%20%20&columns=*,0,0.

1854-1861 Territorial Kansas Online [Online Database]. one of several outstanding websites by the Kansas Historical Society, this is a virtual repository for territorial Kansas history. Topics: Territorial Politics & Government; Border Warfare; Immigration & Early Settlement; Personalities; and National Debate About Kansas. Resources: Timeline, Annals of Kansas, Lesson Plans, Bibliography, Historic Sites, FAQs, and Related Links. See
www.territorialkansasonline.org/~imlskto/cgi-bin/index.php?SCREEN=location.

1854-1861. See Death Notices from Kansas Territorial Newspapers, 1854-1861 [Printed Book], compiled by Alberta Pantle, originally published in the Kansas Historical Quarterly, reprinted by the Jefferson Co Genealogical Society, Oskaloosa, KS, ca1985, FHL book 978.1 V4p. For a digital version of this title, see the online FHL catalog page. See
https://familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=360360&disp=Death+notices+from+Kansas+territorial+ne%20%20&columns=*,0,0.

1854-1880s. See Pioneers of the Bluestem Prairie, Full Name Index [Printed Book], compiled and published by the Riley County Genealogical Society, Manhattan, KS, 2005, 212 pages, FL book 978.1 D3pi index.

1854-1900s. See Cemetery Records of Kansas [Printed Books], compiled by members of the Kansas Mission (LDS), published by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, 1966 – , 18 vols., with the names of persons buried, name of cemetery, and name of county. See FHL book 978.1 V22 v.1-18. Names of cemeteries/counties for all 18 volumes were indexed in Cemetery Records of Kansas, Combined Table of Contents, compiled by James Davis Moore, published by Genidex, Santa Margarita, CA, 1967, 10 pages, FHL book 978.1 V22 index.

1854-1925 See Kansas Census & Voter Lists at Ancestry.com [Online Database]. Databases unique to Kansas: 1) Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925. 2) Kansas Compiled Census Index, 1850-1890. 3) Kansas Voter Registration Lists, 1854-1856. 4) Kansas Election List, 1854. 5) Kansas Territorial Census, 1855. 6) Riley County, 1865 Kansas State Census. 7) Riley County, 1875 Kansas State Census. 8) Riley County, 1885 Kansas State Census. 9) Riley County, 1905 Kansas State Census. 10) Riley County, 1915 Kansas State Census. 11) Leavenworth, 1865 Kansas State Census. 12) Leavenworth, 1859 Kansas Voter Registration. The databases are all accessible at Ancestry’s Kansas Family History Research page: See http://search.ancestry.com/Places/US/Kansas/Default.aspx

Further reading:

Bleeding Kansas – Part 1: Historical Timeline – Events Leading to “Bleeding Kansas”

The following article by my good friend, William Dollarhide:

“Bleeding Kansas” is a reference to the bloody battles that took place in Kansas Territory from its founding in 1854 to statehood in 1861. Kansas Territory was a pre-Civil War battlefield between the Pro-Slavery and Free-Stater forces. The significant events leading up to Bleeding Kansas start with an American Congress dealing with the issue of slavery. From the initial founding of the United States until the first shots of the Civil War in 1861, the slavery issue was a huge dividing force in America. Extracted partially from Dollarhide’s book, Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era, here is a timeline of the Pro-Slave vs Free-Stater votes in Congress beginning in 1790:

1790. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 recognized the original thirteen states as the United States of America. There were six southern states where slavery was officially recognized as legal. Seven states north of the Mason-Dixon Line had very few slaves but de facto slavery still existed. The 1790 census included the 14th state of Vermont (with a census day of 1 April 1791). Vermont was the first state with a constitution that forbid slavery. In the US Senate (with two senators from each state), there were now six slave states south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and eight states north of there. In the US House, the representation was based on population, and the larger slave populations in the southern states offset the advantage of the northern states, and the votes in the House remained very near equal. (The House vote was to remain equal or closely divided until well after 1850).

1800. After admitting the two Pro-Slave states of Kentucky (1792) and Tennessee (1796), the Senate was equally balanced with eight states south of the Mason-Dixon Line and eight states north of there.

1810. The states north of the Mason-Dixon Line now all had laws officially forbidding slavery. Ohio entered the Union in 1803 as a free state, tipping the balance to eight slave states vs nine free states.

1820. Indiana (1816) and Illinois (1818) joined the Union as free states; while Louisiana (1812) , Mississippi (1817), and Alabama (1819) were admitted as slave states, and the Senate was balanced again, with eleven free states vs eleven slave states.

1830. The “Missouri Compromise of 1820” in Congress allowed Missouri (1821) to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine (1820) as a free state, thus keeping the balance of slave and free states equal in Congress at twelve free and twelve slave states. Although Missouri became a slave state, the remainder of the old Missouri Territory areas north of Latitude 36° 30,’ including present Kansas, were supposed to be forever free of slavery.

1840. The admission of the free state of Michigan (1836) and the slave state of Arkansas (1837), continued the balance, with thirteen free states and thirteen slave states.

1850. With the admission of the slave states of Florida and Texas in 1845, and the free states of Iowa (1846), Wisconsin (1848), and California (1850), the new total came to sixteen free states and fifteen slave states. As it turned out, Texas was the last slave state to enter the Union, and the balance of power began to shift towards the North even more. One of the last ditch stands by the southern states in Congress was the “Compromise of 1850,” which specified that any new territories formed thereafter were to choose whether they would be free states or slave states. Previously, that decision had always been made by a vote in Congress.

1854-1859. On May 30, 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed Congress and the territories of Kansas and Nebraska were organized. As first specified in the “Compromise of 1850,” this 1854 Organic Act provided that after a vote of its people, any proposed state constitution submitted to Congress should have a provision permitting or forbidding slavery. As such, the Act served to repeal the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which had prohibited slavery north of Latitude 36°30.´ Nebraska Territory was seen as a free-state shoo-in, with many of its first settlers coming from the existing free state of Iowa and other northern free states. Kansas Territory, however, was just west of the slave state of Missouri, and was seen by many southerners as a potential slave state. When Kansas Territory was officially opened to settlement in 1854, pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the new territory. But, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England marshalled their forces and sent settlers to Kansas Territory as well. The area was to become the scene of violence and chaos in its early days as the Pro-Slave and Anti-Slave forces battled, and became known as Bleeding Kansas. Annual censuses taken by Kansas Territory, 1855-1859, asked questions about a voter’s preference on the slavery issue: whether for, against, or without an opinion. The early census results were challenged for their accuracy, since thousands of non-residents invaded the territory just to be included in a census tally. In the territory’s first year, pro-slavery voters dominated the towns. During that time, there were three territorial capitals: Pawnee, Shawnee Mission, and Fort Leavenworth. From 1855 to 1861, the final territorial capital was the town of Lecompton.

✓ NOTE: Territorial Kansas Timeline, 1854-1861, is a webpage sponsored by the Kansas Historical Society. The Timeline gives a year-by-year look at the events and battles of Bleeding Kansas, when the fight for statehood was between Free-Staters and Pro-Slavery advocates. See
www.territorialkansasonline.org/~imlskto/cgi-bin/index.php?SCREEN=timeline.

1857-1859. Under the provisions of the 1854 Organic Act, Kansas Territory submitted four proposed state constitutions to Congress. The second, and most controversial constitution is referred to historically as the “Lecompton Constitution of 1857” and would have admitted Kansas as a slave state. The proposed Lecompton Constitution was submitted to Congress for approval in 1858 and became part of the intense national debate on the slavery issue. The Lecompton Constitution was a main subject of the famous Abraham Lincoln vs Stephen Douglas debates held in Illinois in 1858. Congress rejected the Lecompton Constitution, and Kansas Territory did not become a state until a new territorial legislature was elected; and after the fourth (Wyandotte Constitution) was submitted to Congress in 1859.

1860. With the addition of the free states of Minnesota (1858) and Oregon (1859), the imbalance increased to eighteen free states vs fifteen slave states. In November 1860, the new Republican Party elected its first President in Abraham Lincoln, along with a slim majority in Congress. By the end of 1860, the first successions of southern states from the Union began, and the Confederate States of America was founded soon after.

1861. Jan 29th. Kansas entered the Union as the 34th state with the same boundaries as today. Between 1854 and 1861, Kansas Territory had seen several proposed state constitutions and several territorial censuses, as well as an official congressional investigation into voting frauds and the accuracy of the censuses. But, after considerable effort, the free-state advocates won out. Kansas entered the Union as a free state, and its votes opposed to slavery now contributed to a new majority in Congress. Soon after statehood, Topeka become the capital of the state of Kansas. Less than four months after Kansas statehood, the first shots of the Civil War were fired April 12, 1861.

Coming soon: Bleeding Kansas-Part 2: Genealogical Resources from the Era of Kansas Territory, 1854-1861.

Further reading:
Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era, by William Dollarhide
Kansas Name Lists: Online and Published Censuses and Substitutes, 1854-2012, by William Dollarhide

An Historical Timeline for Iowa, 1673–1959

The following article is excerpted from William Dollarhide’s latest book, Iowa Name Lists, 1833-2004, Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes 1833-2004.

Iowa-Front-Cover-1833-300pw

For genealogical research in Iowa, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical, jurisdictional, and genealogical point of view.

1673 Mississippi River. French explorers Jacques Jolliet and Louis Marquette left their base in Quebec, and made their way to the Illinois River, which they descended to become the first Europeans to discover the Mississippi River. After canoeing up river to discover the mouth of the Wisconsin River, they floated down the Mississippi, passing by the present states of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas River. Returning to the Great Lakes area, their journals reported the location of several streams flowing into the west side of the Mississippi from the interior of present Iowa. The three largest of the rivers were later identified as the Demoine, Ioway, and Cedar rivers.

1682 Louisiana. Following the same route as Jolliet and Marquette, René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de LaSalle) floated down the Mississippi River, but continued all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed the entire Mississippi Basin for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana was named.

1685-1720. During this period, La Louisiane Française extended from the Highlands (Terra Haute) on the Wabash River, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to include New Orleans. The French also considered the early ports of Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola as part of La Louisiane Française. Forts and settlements established by the French in the Mississippi Basin during this period were Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) in 1685; Arkansas Post in 1686; Kaskaskia (now Illinois) in 1703; Natchez (now Mississippi) in 1716; New Orleans in 1718; Baton Rouge in 1719; And Fort de Charles (now Illinois) in 1720. Of these settlements, just two of them included farming activities (Prairie du Chien and Arkansas Post), the others were mostly trading posts established to support the French Fur Trade.

1721. In this year, French colonists abandoned Arkansas Post, the largest settlement of all of French Louisiana. As a failed farming community, Arkansas Post was typical of the French efforts to colonize North America south of the Great Lakes. Arkansas Post continued as a small trading post, and the French presence in the Mississippi Basin became one of mostly single French fur trappers and traders paddling their canoes from one trading post to the next.

1722-1762. During this period of La Louisiane Française, more settlements and trading posts were established at Fort du Rocher (now Illinois) in 1722; Fort Orleans (now Missouri) in 1723; Fort Beauharnois (now Minnesota) in 1727; Vincennes (now Indiana) in 1732; Ste. Genevieve (now Missouri) in 1735; Fort Assumption (near present Memphis, Tennessee) in 1739; Fort de Chavagnial (now Kansas) in 1744; Rock Island (now Illinois) in 1750; and Fort Massac (now Illinois) in 1757. By 1762, the French had built one road that was 12 miles long, and that was only to provide portage between rivers. Unlike the French Québec settlements, French Louisiana had very few farming communities, and there was little exchanging of goods or produce, except for the trapping and trading of furs. In comparison, the British colonies by 1762 had over 2,500 miles of improved wagon roads, between Boston and Savannah. The British colonies had an economy based on town tradesmen surrounded by small farms, with the exchange of goods and produce up and down the Atlantic coast.

1763 Treaty of Paris. The Seven Years War (in Europe and Canada), was called the French and Indian War in colonial America and ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. France lost virtually all of its North American claims – the western side of the Mississippi was lost to Spain, the eastern side of the Mississippi and all of Quebec was lost to Britain. The French retained only some fishing rights and islands near Newfoundland. The British also gained Québec from the French, and in another provision of the 1763 treaty, the British acquired Florida from the Spanish in exchange for Cuba.

1763-1770 Transition Period. St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French Trader Pierre Laclede Liguest, after obtaining a trading license from the Spanish government. There was little government or military interference by anyone in former French La Louisiane. The entire region was still inhabited mostly by French fur trappers and traders. Although all French military personnel had left their posts in North America by 1764, civilian French settlements and trading posts still operated in Lower Louisiana (including Arkansas Post, Baton Rouge, and Natchez); and in Upper Louisiana (including Prairie du Chien, Kaskaskia, and Vincennes). The transition from French control to Spanish or British control took up to seven years. Per terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, British forces began the evacuation of French Acadians from their homes in Nova Scotia. The first shipload of Acadians arrived in Spanish Luisiana, just west of New Orleans, in February 1765. The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768 was an unsuccessful attempt by Creole and German settlers around New Orleans to stop the handover of French La Louisiane to Spain. St. Louis operated under French civilian control until it was occupied by Spanish soldiers in 1770. About the same time, the British established military jurisdiction over the main Upper Louisiana French settlements at Prairie du Chien, Kaskaskia and Vincennes.

1783 United States of America. The treaty of Paris of 1783 first recognized the United States as an independent nation, with borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from present Maine to Georgia. The treaty also reaffirmed the claims of Britain to present Canada; and Spain’s claim to East Florida, West Florida, New Spain (including Spanish Nuevo Mexico and Spanish Tejas), and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.

1788. French Canadian Julien Dubuque became the first white settler in present Iowa, near the present city that bears his name. He was given permission by the Meskwaki Indians to mine for lead there in 1788, and given a land grant from the Spanish in 1798.

1800-1802 Louisiana. In Europe, Napoleon defeated the Spanish in battle and gained title to Louisiana again after trading them a couple of duchies in Italy. However, Napoleon found that his troops in the Caribbean were under siege and unable to provide much help in establishing a French government in Louisiana. Several months later, when American emissaries showed up in Paris trying to buy New Orleans from him, Napoleon decided to unload the entire tract.

1803 Louisiana. Surprised and delighted that Napoleon was willing to sell the entire tract called Louisiana, President Thomas Jefferson urged Congress to vote in favor, and the U.S. purchased the huge tract from France, doubling the size of the United States. But, disputed claims now existed due to Spain’s interpretation of the extent of Nuevo Mexico and Spanish Tejas, particularly the ownership of the Lower Louisiana areas of the Arkansas, Sabine, and Red rivers. The extensive division line between New Spain and the U.S. remained in dispute until the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819.

1804. Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery left St. Louis, then headed up the Missouri River in search of a passage to the Pacific Ocean. Soon after, Spanish troops were dispatched from Santa Fe into present Colorado and Kansas to intercept and arrest them, but Lewis and Clark had already passed by present Iowa and Nebraska, and were well into present South Dakota by the time the Spanish troops finally gave up looking for them.

1804-1805. In 1804, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two jurisdictions: Louisiana District and Orleans Territory. The latter had north and south bounds the same as the present state of Louisiana, but did not include land east of the Mississippi River, and its northwestern corner extended on an indefinite line west into Spanish Tejas. For a year, Louisiana District was attached to Indiana Territory for judicial administration, but became Louisiana Territory with its own Governor on July 4, 1805.

1805. U.S. Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike led a small party of soldiers to investigate the Mississippi River above St. Louis. He was given specific orders to find the source of the Mississippi, and while doing so, to note “…any rivers, prairies, islands, mines, quarries, timber, and any Indian villages and settlements encountered.” As instructed, Pike recorded the location of the Demoine, Ioway, and Cedar rivers in present Iowa.

1805. Michigan Territory was created, taken from the early Indiana Territory. After the statehoods of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, Michigan Territory was increased in size. By 1818, the entire region north of those three states became part of a Michigan Territory that extended west to the Mississippi River.

1805-1806. The Louisiana Territory in 1805 had five original subdivisions: St. Louis District, St. Charles District, Ste. Genevieve District, Cape Girardeau District and New Madrid District. In 1806, the territorial legislature created the District of Arkansas from lands ceded by the Osage Indians. The unpopulated area north of these original districts was known as “Upper Louisiana Territory,” and included the area of present Iowa.

1806-1807 2nd Pike Expedition. Zebulon Pike, now a Captain, was again sent out, this time to explore and locate the source of the Red River in Lower Louisiana. Pike followed the Arkansas River through present southwest Kansas into Colorado and on to the Rocky Mountains, where Pike’s Peak was named for him. On his return, he skirted south in search of the headwaters of the Red River, putting him in an area claimed by the Spanish. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish soldiers, taken to Santa Fe, but treated well and returned to the Arkansas River a short time later. Pike wrote a book about his travels in 1810 that was a best seller in both America and Europe. In addition to the first English language observations of the Spanish culture in North America, Pike’s descriptions of the Rocky Mountains became the inspiration for a whole generation of “mountain men.”

1812. June 4th. Louisiana Territory was renamed Missouri Territory. This was to avoid any confusion after Orleans Territory became the State of Louisiana on April 30, 1812. The General Assembly of the Territory of Missouri met in October, and converted the first six original districts into counties: Arkansas, Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Ste. Genevieve. The area of present Iowa was without any enumerated population, lying north of St. Charles District in the “Unattached” region of the territory.

1819. Arkansas Territory was created, taken from the southern area of Missouri Territory. The area included all of present-day Arkansas and most of Oklahoma.

1819 Adams-Onis Treaty. The treaty included the purchase of Florida, but also set the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain (now Mexico), from Louisiana to the Oregon Country. The treaty established the Sabine and Red River border with Spanish Tejas; the Arkansas River border with Nuevo Mexico; and the 42nd Parallel border with Spanish California. The treaty was named after John Quincy Adams, U.S. Secretary of State, and Luis de Onis, the Spanish Foreign Minister, the parties who signed the treaty at Washington on February 22, 1819. John Quincy Adams was given credit for a brilliant piece of diplomacy by adding the western boundary settlements with Spain to the Florida Purchase.

1820. The “Missouri Compromise” in Congress allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state, thus keeping the balance of slave and free states equal in Congress. Although Missouri was allowed to enter as a slave state, the remainder of the Missouri Territory areas north of Latitude 36° 30,’ including present Iowa, were supposed to be forever free of slavery. After Missouri became a state, the remaining part of old Missouri Territory was described as “Unorganized Territory.”

1830. At the time of the 1830 federal Census, present Iowa was part of the “Unorganized Territory” and had no enumerated population.

1832 Black Hawk War. Indian leader Black Hawk of the Sauk and Fox tribe led a sizable force of warriors across the Mississippi River into Illinois, seeking to reclaim lands they had lost to the whites earlier. The U.S. met the threat with a voluntary force of militia raised mostly in Illinois. (Abraham Lincoln’s only military service was in this war, where he was elected a militia Captain by his New Salem neighbors). As a result of the defeat of Black Hawk’s forces at the battle of Bad Axe, the Sauk and Fox, natives of lands near the Ioway River, were forced to cede land on the west side of the Mississippi River to the United States.

1833. 1 June. The Ioway country was open for legal white settlement for the first time. It is estimated that before that date, there were fewer than 40 non-Indians living in the present Iowa region. Most were left-over French-Canadian fur traders. The area was still part of “Unorganized Territory.”

1836 Wisconsin Territory was split off from Michigan Territory. For the first capital of Wisconsin Territory was at Burlington (now Iowa). At that time, Wisconsin Territory included all of Wisconsin, all of Minnesota; all of Iowa; and North and South Dakota east of the Missouri River – same as the combined areas of Wisconsin and Iowa Territory shown on the 1840 map below.

1838. Iowa Territory was created, taken from Wisconsin Territory, including lands between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Iowa City was named the territorial capital, but Burlington served as the interim capital until Iowa City could provide facilities for a governor and legislature, which it did in 1841.

Iowa and Wisconsin Territory in 1840
Iowa and Wisconsin Territory in 1840

1838-1857 Iowa County Formation. The first appointed governor of Iowa Territory was Robert Lucas, who served from 1838 to 1841. Lucas was an army general during the War of 1812 and an elected governor of Ohio, 1832-1836. Early in his term as Governor of Iowa Territory, Lucas proposed to the legislature a method of county formation in Iowa that was based on the Range/Township lines, with a dedicated section (1 square mile) of land set aside for a courthouse/county seat for each county near its geographic center. However, Lucas had poor relations with the legislature and they rejected his proposal. Although Lucas’ county plan was never officially adopted, a similar method was followed for the formation of virtually all of Iowa’s counties. By 1857, all of Iowa’s current 99 counties had been formed, and there have been very few changes to the boundaries since. Iowa has more “box counties” and the fewest number of counties formed along the lay of the land than any other state.

Iowa’s 99 counties since 1857
Iowa’s 99 counties since 1857

1840 Iowa Territory. In the 1840 Federal Census, Iowa Territory’s population of 43,112 persons was limited to the 18 counties formed within the Indian Cession lands of 1832-1837. Although destined to become a free state, a total of 6 males and 10 female slaves were counted, all in Dubuque County. See the 1840 Iowa County Map on page IA-10, Iowa Name Lists book.

1846. Leaving their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois, about 20,000 Mormons crossed the Mississippi River and proceeded across the entire length of Iowa. They were headed to their winter quarters on the Missouri River, near present Council Bluffs, Iowa.

1846. Dec. 28th. Iowa became the 29th state. Iowa City continued as the state capital.

1857. The capital of Iowa was moved from Iowa City to Des Moines.

1959. Jan 1st. The University of Iowa Hawkeyes won their Rose Bowl appearance, defeating the California Golden Bears by a score of 38-12. Iowa was named the NCAA National Champion in football that season.

For Further Reading: Iowa Name Lists, 1833-2004, Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes 1833-2004.

Note that all the printed 16 Dollarhide Name List books Alabama through Iowa, with a free immediate PDF download of the entire book, are on sale for 21% off through midnight Sunday MDT March 23, 2014 (making them just $14.97 each). In addition, the immediate PDF downloads themselves are also on sale for 10% off, making them only $11.25 each, also through midnight Sunday MDT March 23, 2014.

See http://www.genealogyblog.com/?p=31257 for details on the promotion.

An Historical Timeline for Indiana, 1614-1911

The following article is excerpted from Bill Dollarhide’s new book, Indiana Name Lists, Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes 1783-2007.

Indiana-Name-Lists-200pw

For genealogical research in Indiana, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical, jurisdictional, and genealogical point of view. Refer to the recent Illinois Timeline article for maps and illustrations that apply to Indiana and the old Northwest Territory.

1614. Samuel de Champlain, Governor of New France and the founder of Québec, was believed to be the first of the French explorers to visit the Miami du lac region between present Toledo, OH and Fort Wayne, IN. Later, the name Maumee was an anglicized spelling of the Ottawa name for the Miami Indians, and became the origin of the name for the present Maumee River, the main water access to Indiana via Lake Erie.

1679. French explorer René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de LaSalle), began negotiations with the Miami Indians to secure an area near the confluence of the St. Marys and St. Josephs rivers forming the Maumee River at present Fort Wayne, IN.

1702. The area of present Indiana was first inhabited by French fur trappers, from Lake Erie via the Maumee River to present Fort Wayne, and a short portage to a stream flowing into the Wabash River. A continuous canoe route now existed from Lake Erie, connecting with the Wabash, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers.

1717 French Louisiana. The French jurisdiction, la Louisiane Française, extended from the Highlands along the Wabash River, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, to include New Orleans and several ports on the Gulf of Mexico. The Highlands, in French, Terra Haute, became the division line between the Québec and Louisiana jurisdictions.

1721. The French established Fort Philippe, later called Fort Miami, on the St. Marys River, where the St. Marys and St. Josephs rivers form the Maumee River. Fort Philippe/Fort Miami was administered as part of French Québec. The original site is encompassed by the modern city of Fort Wayne, IN.

1732. Vincennes was established on the Wabash River, becoming Indiana’s first permanent settlement.
It was named after Jean Baptiste Bissot (Sieur de Vincennes), the military commander of Quebec. The town of Vincennes became the largest French settlement in Upper Louisiana.

1733-1762 French Colonies vs British Colonies. Lower Louisiana, with its ports on the Gulf of Mexico, had been the destination of colonists directly from France and other French colonies in the Caribbean. Upper Louisiana, however, was mostly inhabited by French Canadians, coming into the area from Québec. From 1733 to 1762, no new farming communities were ever established in French Louisiana. The French presence in the Mississippi Basin and around the Great Lakes consisted mainly of single French trappers and traders paddling their canoes from one outpost to the next. The French established military/trading posts at strategic locations, partly as a means of protecting the trappers during their contacts with the Indians. Unlike the French Québec settlements, French Louisiana had very few farming communities, and there was little exchanging of goods or produce, except for the trapping and trading of furs. During this period, the French had built one road (the Wabash-Erie Portage Road), a road less than 12 miles long, and that was only to provide portage between rivers. In comparison, the British colonies by 1762 had over 2,500 miles of improved wagon roads, between Boston and Savannah. The British colonies had an economy based on town tradesmen surrounded by small farms, with the exchange of goods and produce up and down the Atlantic coast.

1763. The Treaty of Paris of 1763 ended the French and Indian War. In Europe and Canada, it was called
the “Seven Years War.” The treaty required France to surrender all of its claims to land in North America, with the exception of fishing rights and a couple of fish-drying islands off of Newfoundland. The treaty gave Spain all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi, while Britain gained the areas east of the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains. Great Britain also acquired the Province of Québec from France.

1764-1770 Transition Period. After the departure of all French military personnel by 1764, the French-colonized areas of Louisiana and Québec were still inhabited mainly by French settlers and trappers. The transition from French control to Spanish or British control took several years. In former French Louisiana, French civilian settlements still operated at Prairie du Chien, now Wisconsin; Kaskaskia, now Illinois; and at Vincennes, now Indiana. In 1764, a French trading company established the trading post of St. Louis on the west side of the Mississippi River, after obtaining a trading license from the Spanish government. And, per terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1763, British forces began the evacuation of French Acadians from their homes in present Nova Scotia. The first shipload of Acadians arrived in Spanish Louisiana, just west of New Orleans, in February 1765. The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768 was an unsuccessful attempt by Creole and German settlers around New Orleans to stop the handover of French Louisiana to Spain. Meanwhile, the French influence in Upper Louisiana continued –
although part of Spanish Louisiana, St. Louis operated under French civilian control until it was occupied by Spanish soldiers in 1770. About the same time, the British established military jurisdiction over the French settlements at Prairie du Chien, Kaskaskia and Vincennes.

1774 Québec Act. After deciding not to repeat the evacuation of all French Acadians from Nova Scotia in the mid 1760s, the British Parliament passed the Québec Act, permitting the French Canadians to retain French laws and customs, and allowing the Catholic Church to maintain its rights. The French settlements along the Wabash River near Vincennes in present-day Indiana were included in the Province of Québec, under British rule since 1763.

1778-1779. French Acadians (the Cajuns) resettled by the British in southern Louisiana rallied in support of the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. They were joined in their support by the left-over French settlers of the Wabash Valley, who were instrumental in General George Rogers Clark’s capture of Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River and Vincennes on the Wabash River.

1783. Post-Revolutionary War. The 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the United States of America as an independent nation, and defined its borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Although the old Upper Louisiana and Great Lakes regions were to be included within the United States, British forces continued to maintain control of Prairie du Chien, Fort Detroit, and a few other sites for several years after the Revolution.

1784. Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts relinquished their western claims to lands in the Great Lakes region, a large area that was to become the Northwest Territory. Title of the state’s claims were transferred to the “public domain” of the United States Federal Government.

1787-1789 Northwest Territory. The Ordinance of 1787 established the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, and defined the procedure for any territory to obtain statehood. The first territory of the United States included the area of the present states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. An October 1787 census of the male voters of “Poste Vincennes” was made up of almost entirely French surnames. In 1789, Vincennes became the county seat of the newly organized Knox County, Northwest Territory, an area that included all of present Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, part of Michigan, and part of Minnesota.

1789-1815 Flatboat Era. After the opening of the Northwest Territory for settlement, migrating families heading to the Ohio River via horse-drawn wagons might stop at Brownsville, Pittsburgh, or Wheeling. There they would buy or construct a custom-built flatboat capable of holding wagons, household furniture, barrels of food and commodities; plus horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and children. They would first hire a boatman, usually recruited out of a local tavern. The boatmen were experts in navigating streams, and provided another long-rifle to ward off bandits en route. After arriving at his client’s destination, a boatman would walk back up river to his starting point (or to the closest Tavern). The migrating families would use the flatboat lumber and nails for their first shelters upon their arrival at their new homesites along the Ohio River and tributaries. The earliest settlements in the southern portions of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were mostly settled by flatboat travelers. Although steamboats were introduced to the Ohio River in 1812, they did not dominate transportation until the classic flat-bottomed steamboat design took hold in 1815. That ended the flatboat era.

1796 Great Lakes Region. The British evacuated Fort Detroit and abandoned their other posts on the Great Lakes, ending all British hold-outs in the Old Northwest.

1800. Indiana Territory was established from the Northwest Territory with William Henry Harrison as the first Governor and Vincennes the capital. The area of 1800 Indiana Territory was nearly identical to the 1789 area of Knox County, Northwest Territory, an area that included most of present-day Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the western half of Michigan. The Northwest Territory was reduced to the present-day area of Ohio and the eastern half of Michigan. See the Illinois Timeline article for a map showing the Northwest and Indiana territories as of the August 1800 federal census.

1803. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state, with Chillicothe as the state capital. The portion of present Michigan included in the Northwest Territory 1800-1803 now became part of Indiana Territory. Upon Ohio’s statehood, the name Northwest Territory was dropped.

1805. Michigan Territory was separated from the Indiana Territory. The original area was between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, as today, but did not include much of the Upper Peninsula, which was still under control of Indiana Territory.

1809. Illinois Territory was separated from Indiana Territory, with Kaskaskia the capital. The original area included present-day Illinois, Wisconsin, a portion of the Upper Peninsula of present Michigan and that portion of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. The area of Indiana Territory was reduced in size to the area of the present-day state, plus a portion of the Upper Peninsula of present Michigan.

1810. Indiana Territory. The 1810 population of 24,320 people was within four counties: Clark, Dearborn, Knox, and Harrison. The 1810 federal census manuscripts for all four counties were lost. See the 1810 map as part of Illinois Timeline article.

1811. Battle of Tippecanoe. Tecumseh’s forces were defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The American forces were led by Governor William Henry Harrison, who later used the presidential nickname “Tippecanoe.” The victory over a large force of Indians opened up much of Indiana for settlement.

1813. The Indiana territorial capital was moved from Vincennes to Corydon.

1814. Treaty of Ghent. The War of 1812 ended, reopening American settlement of the Great Lakes region of the Old Northwest.

1816. Dec. 11th. Indiana became the 19th state with the same boundaries as today. The first state capital was at Corydon.

1825. The Indiana state capital was moved from Corydon to Indianapolis.

1911. The first Indy 500 car race took place in Indianapolis.

Recommended reading: Indiana Name Lists, Published and Online Censuses & Substitutes 1783-2007

An Historical Timeline for Illinois, 1673-1945

Illinois-Name-Lists-200pw

The following article was excerpted from William Dollarhide’s new book, Illinois Name Lists, 1678-2009:

For genealogical research in Illinois, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical and genealogical point of view:

1673. French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet discovered the Illinois River and upper portions of the Mississippi River. They then descended the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas River and returned to present-day Illinois via the Illinois River.

1675. Jacques Marquette founded a mission at the Great Village of the Illinois River, near present-day Utica, Illinois.

1680. French explorer René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de LaSalle) and trader Henri deTonti built Fort Crève Coeur on the Illinois River, near present-day Peoria.

1682. René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de LaSalle) erected a cross near the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, after floating down river from the Illinois Country. He claimed the entire Mississippi Basin for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana was named. All of the rivers and streams flowing into the Mississippi were part of the Mississippi Basin and included in the Louisiana claim.

1696. Jesuit priest Pierre François Pinet established a mission near the site of present-day Chicago. The
Mission l’Ange Gardie (Mission of the Guardian Angel) was abandoned in 1700.

1699 Cahokia. Québec priests founded the Holy Family Mission at Cahokia, named for the Indians there, near present-day East St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Cahokia was the first permanent settlement in the Illinois Country.

1703 Kaskaskia. The French established a mission and settlement at Kaskaskia, named for the river and Indians there, near the Mississippi River. Kaskaskia became the capital of Upper Louisiana after Fort de Charles was built in 1718.

1717-1762 French Louisiana. In 1717, the Illinois Country was officially added to the French Louisiana jurisdiction within New France. At that time la Louisiane Française extended from Vincennes, on the Wabash River, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to include several ports on the Gulf of Mexico. Any trading posts or forts north of Vincennes were considered part of French Québec. By 1721, several hundred French colonists had abandoned Arkansas Post, the capital of Lower Louisiana, and the largest settlement of all of French Louisiana since 1686. A few French trading forts between the Great Lakes and New Orleans remained and continued to be the focal point for trade with the Indians in the region. As a failed farming community, Arkansas Post was typical of the French efforts to colonize North America south of the Great Lakes. They were much more interested in trading for furs with the Indians. From 1721 to 1762, no new farming communities were ever established. Arkansas Post continued as a trading fort, and the French presence in the Mississippi Basin consisted mainly of single French trappers and traders paddling their canoes from one trading post to the next. The French established military forts at strategic locations, partly as a means of protecting the trappers during their contacts with the Indians. In comparison, the British colonies by 1762 had over 2,500 miles of improved wagon roads, between Boston and Charles Town. The British colonies had an economy based on town tradesmen surrounded by small farms, with the exchange of goods and produce up and down the Atlantic coast. During this same period, the French had built one road that was 12 miles long, and that was only to provide portage between rivers. Unlike the French Québec settlements, French Louisiana had very few farming communities, and there was little exchanging of goods or produce, except for the trapping and trading of furs.

1763. The Seven Years War, which was called the French and Indian War in colonial America, ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. France lost virtually all of its North American claims – the western side of the Mississippi was lost to Spain, and the eastern side of the Mississippi was lost to Britain. The British also gained Quebec from the French. In a separate treaty in 1763, the British acquired Florida from the Spanish in exchange for Cuba. See the 1763 map in the US map section (of the Illinois Name Lists book).

1774 Québec Act. After deciding not to repeat the evacuation of all French Acadians from Nova Scotia in the mid 1760s, the British Parliament passed the Québec Act, permitting the French Canadians to retain French laws and customs, and allowed the Catholic Church to maintain its position there. The early French settlements in present-day Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, were by the act included in the Province of Québec, but remained under British rule.

1778-1779. During the Revolutionary War, General George Rogers Clark of the Virginia Militia led the American forces to celebrated victories over the British, with the capture of Kaskaskia in 1778 and Vincennes in 1779. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the U.S. in the 1783 treaty of Paris, Clark was often hailed as the “Conqueror of the Old Northwest.”

1781 Prairie du Chien. The first American settlement on the Mississippi River was at Prairie du Chien near the present border of Wisconsin and Illinois. The purpose of the settlement was mostly to exploit the lead deposits discovered nearby.

1783. Post-Revolutionary War. The 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the United States of America as an independent nation and defined its borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Although the settlements in the Great Lakes/Northwest Territory region (formerly part of the British Province of Québec) were to be included within the United States, British military forces continued to maintain control of much of the Great Lakes area for several years after the Revolution.

1787 Northwest Territory. The Ordinance of 1787 established the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio,
and defined the procedure for any territory to obtain statehood. States carved out of the original area of the Northwest Territory included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River.

Ohio River Flatboat
Ohio River Flatboat

1787-1815 Flatboat Era. The main family transportation on the Ohio River (usually beginning at Brownsville, Pittsburgh, or Wheeling) was by a flatboat designed for a one-way trip. The large, steerable rafts were constructed of lumber and nails that could be disassembled by migrating families when they arrived at their new homesites along the Ohio River and tributaries. The flatboat era continued until the classic flat-bottomed steamboats were introduced on the Ohio River in 1815

1796. The British evacuated Detroit and abandoned their other posts on the Great Lakes, the last of the British hold-outs in the Old Northwest.

1800. Indiana Territory was established from the Northwest Territory with William Henry Harrison as the first Governor and Vincennes the capital. The area included all of present-day Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the western half of Michigan. The Northwest Territory was reduced to the present-day area of Ohio and the eastern half of Michigan.

1800-1802 Louisiana. Napoleon defeated the Spanish in battle and gained title to Louisiana again after trading them a couple of duchies in Italy. However, Napoleon found that his troops in the Caribbean were under siege and unable to provide much help in establishing a French government in Louisiana. Several months later, when American emissaries showed up trying to buy New Orleans from him, Napoleon decided to unload the entire tract.

1803 Louisiana. Surprised and delighted that Napoleon was willing to sell the entire tract called Louisiana, President Thomas Jefferson urged Congress to vote in favor, and the U.S. purchased the huge tract from France, doubling the size of the United States. The purchase of Louisiana immediately created a dispute about ownership of lands east of the Mississippi River, since the legal description of the Louisiana Purchase was the “drainage of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.” The Spanish did not agree that it included lands east of the Mississippi and maintained their claim to West Florida.

1804-1805 Louisiana District and Orleans Territory. In 1804, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two jurisdictions: Louisiana District and Orleans Territory. The latter had north and south bounds the same as the present state of Louisiana, but did not include land east of the Mississippi River, and its northwestern corner extended on an indefinite line west into Spanish Texas. For a year, Louisiana District was attached to Indiana Territory for judicial administration, but became Louisiana Territory with its own Governor in 1805.

1809. Illinois Territory was created from Indiana Territory, with Kaskaskia as the territorial capital. The original area included present-day Illinois and Wisconsin; as well as a portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Minnesota east of the Mississippi.

Illinois Territory in the 1810 Federal Census had only two counties, Randolph (extant) and St. Clair (lost).
Illinois Territory in the 1810 Federal Census had only two counties, Randolph (extant) and St. Clair (lost).

1812-1815 Steamboats. First introduced in 1812, by 1815 steamboats had quickly become the main mode of transportation on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

1818 December. Illinois became the 21st state, with the same boundaries as today. The territorial capital of Kaskaskia continued as the first state capital, but the capital was moved to Vandalia in 1820

1837. Chicago was incorporated as a city.

1839. The state capital of Illinois was moved from Vandalia to Springfield.

1846. About 20,000 Mormons left Nauvoo, Illinois for the Great Salt Lake Basin in Utah.

1846. The Donner party left Springfield, Illinois by wagon train for California; forty-two persons perished in the Sierra Mountains due to heavy snowstorms.

1945. The Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant, but lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers.

For Further Reading:
Illinois Name Lists, 1678-2009.

An Historical Timeline for Idaho, 1670 – 1890

The following article was excerpted from William Dollarhide’s new book, Idaho Name Lists 1860s-2011:

Idaho-Name-Lists

For genealogical research in Idaho, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical, jurisdictional, and genealogical point of view:

1670. The Hudson’s Bay Company was formed in London, with the intent of establishing trading posts in North America. The company was granted the right to exploit huge tracts of land by the British Crown, and became the dominate force in the settlement of British North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The first governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company was Prince Rupert of the Rhine, a nephew of Charles I, and the territory of the Hudson’s Bay Company was first known as “Prince Rupert’s Land.” The company extended its influence from the drainage of Hudson’s Bay to all of western Canada and parts of southeast Alaska. At one time, the company’s claims extended into the present areas of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

1784. The North West Fur Company was formed in Montreal. It became a rival of the Hudson’s Bay Company for dominance of the fur trade in British North America. Although both companies were British-owned, the North West Fur Company was manned mostly be French-Canadians, while the Hudson’s Bay Company was dominated by Scottish-Canadians. With no love between them, the two companies fought furiously for fur trading rights, attacking each other’s forts, burning their ships, etc., until the two companies were forced to end their differences by the British Crown.

1803. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the Corps of Discovery, the first expedition to explore the lands west of the Mississippi River. Their trek to the Pacific was mostly via river routes, beginning at St. Louis on the Mississippi, up the Missouri River to its source in Montana, then by foot and horseback across the mountains, picking up Idaho’s Clearwater River, to the Snake River of Idaho and Washington, and finally, the Columbia River all the way to its mouth at present Astoria, Oregon.

1805. August. The first whites to see present-day Idaho, the Lewis and Clark expedition left the Missouri Breaks in present-day Montana on horseback, and crossed the Continental Divide at what is now called Lemhi Pass, moving into present-day Idaho. At that point they had entered into the land of the Shoshone Indians, the same tribe from which their guide, Sacajawea, was native.

1807. British explorer and mapmaker David Thompson, former employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, now with the North West Fur Company, began looking for routes from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. He established fur trading opportunities with any Indian tribes he encountered, and charted detailed maps of the Columbia River. From 1807 to 1809, Thompson established the first trading post in present Montana at Kootenai Falls, near Libby; the first in present Idaho, Kullyspell House, on Pend Oreille Lake; and the first trading post in present Washington, now Bonner’s Ferry, on the Columbia River.

1808. John Jacob Astor formed the American Fur Company to compete with the North West Fur Company in the northern Plains.

1810. Fort Henry, the first American fur post west of the Rocky Mountains was established near present St. Anthony, Idaho. That same year, John Jacob Astor formed the Pacific Fur Company, intent on establishing a fur trade west of the Rockies.

1811. March. American fur traders built Fort Astoria near the mouth of the Columbia River as part of Astor’s Pacific Fur Company. Manned by two shiploads of men and supplies, it was the first American settlement on the Pacific Coast of North America. Meanwhile, an expedition of the Pacific Fur Company led by Astor’s second-in-command Wilson P. Hunt, headed overland from St. Louis to meet up with the Astoria crew, hoping to arrive there at the same time as Astor’s ships. They were called the “Overland Astorians.” En route from St. Louis to Astoria, they discovered the Boise Valley, and explored the Snake River Valley on their way to the Columbia River. The Astorians had hard times in present Idaho and decided to divide into two groups, one led by Wilson Hunt, the other led by Donald MacKenzie, a Scotsman-Canadian Astor had hired away from the North West Fur Company in 1810. MacKenzie’s group eventually found the Salmon River leading to the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia rivers. They marked a trail for Hunt to follow. MacKenzie also made note of a location for a fur trading post on the Clearwater River near its mouth at the Snake River and vowed to return to Idaho.

1812. In January, MacKenzie’s group of Astorians arrived at Fort Astoria. A month later, Wilson Hunt’s group arrived. On the Columbia, Wilson’s group had joined with David Thompson, who had just finished his maps of the river. Thompson then followed Hunt’s party for the remainder of their trip to Fort Astoria. Soon after arriving, Thompson set up a rival fur trading post for the North West Fur Company next door to Fort Astoria. Although competitors, the French-Canadians of the North West Fur Company, and the Americans of the Pacific Fur Company supported each other and often sent teams of trappers out together to find and retrieve the animal hides they both coveted. In a bit of irony, the French-Canadians of the British-owned Northwest Fur Company got along better with their rival Americans of the Pacific Fur Company than they did with their rival British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company. Later in 1812, Donald MacKenzie accompanied his friend David Thompson back to the Clearwater River near present-day Lewiston, Idaho, where they established a new trading fort for the Pacific Fur Company called MacKenzie’s Post.

1813. After war was declared in 1812, British warships blockaded Fort Astoria. The Astorians decided it was better to get out before shots were fired, and the entire Fort Astoria operation was sold to the British-owned North West Fur Company, who renamed it Fort George. The North West Fur Company also took over all of Astor’s fur trading posts, including MacKenzie’s Post in Idaho. All of the Astorians, including MacKenzie, then returned overland to St. Louis, and followed a more southern route through present-day Wyoming than was used to get there. In doing so, the returning Astorians became the first to cross South Pass, the Wyoming route through the Rocky Mountains that would be followed by thousands of Oregon Trail travelers.

1818. The Treaty of Ghent officially ended the War of 1812. Included in the treaty was a provision where Britain and the U.S. agreed to the 49th parallel as the international boundary from the Lake of the Woods (now Minnesota) to the Continental Divide.
– Fort Astoria restored. Invoking the Treaty of Ghent in 1818, John Jacob Astor used the provisions for returning all occupied lands by the British back to the Americans, and got the American government to allow his Pacific Fur Company to take possession of Fort Astoria again. Although the fort changed hands, the North West Fur Company continued to use it for their operations for several more years.
— The Oregon Treaty. Before the War of 1812, both the British and Americans had extensive fur trading operations in the Oregon Country, and both countries laid claim to the area. In 1818, the Oregon Treaty was signed, in which the U.S. and Great Britain agreed to a joint occupation of the Oregon Country. The area was defined as extending from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, and from about latitude 54o in present British Columbia, to the present Siskiyou Mountains (which lie on the modern boundary between Oregon and California). Though not stated in the treaty, it was clear that the intention was to see who could inhabit the area first. Although the British had well-established fur trading operations in the Oregon Country, the Americans had the advantage of being closer. With newly discovered overland routes from the Mississippi River to the Columbia River, they had the ability to supply new settlers into the region. In 1827 a provision was added to the treaty that allowed either party to invoke a conclusion of ownership, by giving 12 months notice to the other. Notice was not given until 1845, when President James Polk sought resolution, leading to a new treaty in 1846.

1821. Upon the encouragement of the British Crown, The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Fur Company merged, retaining the name Hudson’s Bay. The company now had a monopoly on fur trading in British North America. Their presence continued in the Oregon Country as well, including their fur trading operations in present-day Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Today, The Hudson’s Bay Company continues (“Shop the Bay!” is the slogan of Canada’s largest retailer).

1822. The Rocky Mountain Fur Company was formed by General William Ashley. He placed an ad in a St. Louis newspaper to recruit able-bodied men for his new fur-trading enterprise. There was no shortage of willing young men. Ashley did not build a chain of forts to manage his fur trading operation. Instead, he sent his men out alone and made arrangements to meet them all at a central place a year later. At the predetermined time, Ashley loaded up his pack-teams with supplies and headed off to meet his “mountain men.”

1825. The British-owned Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Vancouver as a center for their fur trading operations on the Pacific Coast. Fort Vancouver was located about 100 miles upriver from Fort Astoria, the center for the American-owned Pacific Fur Company. The Columbia River now became a highway to Canada, leading to routes for the fur trade that extended to the Great Lakes and beyond.
– William Ashley’s Rocky Mountain Fur Company pack-teams were the first to penetrate into the west, blazing a route for the Oregon Trail settlers who would follow years later. When Ashley finally reached his men each year, it was cause for celebration – a wild party they called “the rendezvous.” Many of the rendezvous took place in present-day Idaho, usually along the Snake River Valley. In 1826, William Ashley retired a wealthy man, and began a life of politics. He sold his interest in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company to his employees.

1830. Jedediah Smith and William Sublette, now partners in the successor to William Ashley’s trading company, led the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains at South Pass and on to the Upper Wind River. The 500-mile journey through Indian country took about six weeks, and proved that even heavily loaded wagons and livestock – the prerequisites for settlement – could travel overland to the Pacific.

1834. Fort Hall was established as a fur trading post on the Snake River in present-day southeastern Idaho by Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth, a Boston entrepreneur. Three years later, Wyeth gave up and sold the fort to the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the 1840s and 1850s, Fort Hall became the most important rest and re-supply point for all Oregon Trail wagon trains.
– Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa and also Rev. Henry H. Spalding and his wife Eliza set up a protestant mission near the junction of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. (Whitman was a Methodist, Spalding a Presbyterian, but their missions were sanctioned by a missionary council of New England Congregationalists). Narcissa and Eliza were the first white women to cross the mountains into the Oregon Country. Their travel route would become known as the Oregon Trail and would be used by hundreds of thousands of future settlers.
– Rev. Henry H. Spalding established an Indian mission near present Lapwai, Idaho, where he printed Idaho’s first book, established Idaho’s first school, developed Idaho’s first irrigation system, and grew Idaho’s first potatoes. Today, Lapwai is the seat of government of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.
– Fort Boise was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company on the Snake River, at the mouth of the Boise River.

The Oregon Trail. Traditionally, the 2,000-mile-long wagon road began at Independence, Missouri and ended  at Oregon City, Oregon.
The Oregon Trail. Traditionally, the 2,000-mile-long wagon road began at Independence, Missouri and ended at Oregon City, Oregon.

1841. The Western Emigration Society, a group of about 70 settlers bound for California and the Oregon Country set off on the Oregon Trail, beginning at Independence, Missouri. This was the first organized wagon train to head for California and Oregon. It is usually called the “Bartleson-Bidwell party” named for the two leaders. John Bartleson led about half of the group to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. John Bidwell took the other half to California’s Sacramento Valley.

• NOTE: Many descendants of Oregon Pioneers claim that when the Bartleson-Bidwell wagon train reached a fork in the road just west of Fort Hall, there was a sign-post ( ← California | Oregon → ) and those who could read went to Oregon.

1843. The Great Migration begins. A wagon train with over 120 wagons, a large herd of livestock, and nearly 1,000 pioneers headed out on the Oregon Trail. Once they reached Fort Hall, they were guided by Dr. Marcus Whitman, returning to his mission on the Snake River. This 1843 wagon train was the model for the organization of many wagon trains that would follow over the next 25 years. For an online list of the members of the 1843 Wagon Train, see the OR RootsWeb site:
http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mransom/pioneers.html.

1843. May 2nd, a group of 50 Americans and 52 French Canadians met in the Willamette Valley to take a vote to determine who should govern the Oregon Country. A vote of 52-50 favored keeping Oregon as American territory (two Canadians switched their votes). The group then proceeded to form a provisional territorial government with Champoeg as its capital, established on July 5, 1843. The Provisional Territory of Oregon elected a governor, established courts, created several counties, and functioned with the consent of the local population. In 1843, the Provisional Territory of Oregon was not part of the U.S., but its organization was a key element in the resolution of the U.S. – British Joint Occupation in favor of the U.S.

1844-1848. In the 1844 presidential election, James K. Polk, Democrat, defeated Henry Clay, Whig, to become President of the United States. The two burning political issues of the day were the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of the Oregon Country. James K. Polk, as the “Manifest Destiny” candidate, was elected with campaign slogans of Annex Texas! and Fifty-four forty or fight! In 1845, Texas was annexed to the U.S. and war with Mexico began soon after. But in 1846, Polk settled for the 49th parallel as the northern boundary of the Oregon Country. The treaty of 1846 brought the Provisional Oregon Territory into the United States. And, in 1848, President Polk signed a bill that created an official U.S. Oregon Territory. The new territory included all of present-day Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, plus lands in Montana and Wyoming west of the Continental Divide.

• NOTE: The presidential campaign slogans for James K. Polk were actually reverse of what really took place. His first slogan should have been, “Annex Texas and Fight!” and his second should have been “Fifty-four forty or whatever!” In fact, the reason for Polk’s decision to settle the Oregon Country question with the 49th parallel was simply that he did not want to go to war with Mexico and Britain at the same time.

1849. Over 30,000 emigrants who joined the California gold rush came over the Oregon Trail into Idaho, and from there to the California Trail. The following year, it is estimated that as many as 55,000 made the trip. Heavy traffic continued on the trail for several years. In 1849, a U.S. Military post, Cantonment Loring, was established near present Fort Hall, Idaho.

1850 Federal Census. June 1st. The first federal census was taken in Oregon Territory, which included the area of present-day Oregon, Washington, and Idaho; and Montana and Wyoming areas west of the Continental Divide. The population was revealed as 12,093 people. No population was recorded in the present-day Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming areas.

1852. In this year, it was estimated that over 67,000 people traveled the Oregon Trail across Wyoming’s South Pass into Idaho, and on to Oregon or California. This year was the height of the Oregon Trail migrations. Recommended reading: Route of the Oregon Trail in Idaho: From Thomas Ford Valley at the Wyoming State Line Westward to Fort Boise at the Oregon State Line, published by the Idaho Department of Highways and Idaho Historical Society, Boise, ID, 1963, 32 pages, FHL book 979.6 E76.

1853. Washington Territory was created by Congress, taken from the Oregon Territory area. The original Oregon Territory was divided on a line following the Columbia River to the point of intersection with Latitude 46o North, then following that line to the Continental Divide. Thus, Washington Territory included the northern panhandle of present-day Idaho, while the southern portion of Idaho remained in Oregon Territory.

1858. Washington Territory created Spokane County, extending from the Columbia River to the Continental Divide, from Latitude 46o North to 49o North. The present-day panhandle of Idaho was included in the first Spokane County.

1859. Oregon became a state with its present boundaries. The eastern remnant of Oregon Territory to the Continental Divide was added to Washington Territory, which now included all of present-day Idaho.

1860. April. The town of Franklin was established by a few Mormon families sent to the Cache Valley by Brigham Young. They believed they were in Utah, but in 1872, a new survey of the boundary between Utah and Idaho Territories revealed that Franklin was actually in Idaho.

1860 Federal Census. June 1st. The census return reported “no population” for the area of Spokane County, Washington Territory (including the panhandle of present-day Idaho). The non-county area of Washington Territory south of Latitude 46o also had no population (except for a few Cache Valley residents, enumerated as part of Utah Territory, but later discovered to live within Idaho Territory).

1860-1863. Birth of Idaho. A few weeks after the 1860 federal census enumerators had returned their reports of “no population,” gold was discovered on the Clearwater River in late 1860. After the demise of MacKenzie’s Post, the same location gave birth to the gold rush town of Lewiston, established near the junction of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers in 1861. Lewiston became the entry point to Idaho’s gold rush. Lewiston also became (and still is) the most inland seaport of the Pacific. More gold was discovered on the Salmon River in 1861, and the Boise River Basin in 1862; and gold and silver were found in the Owyhee River country in 1863. Most of the settlements are only ghost towns now, but the many settlers who poured in during the gold rush in just three years populated the Idaho areas dramatically, in fact, larger than the rest of Washington Territory. In late 1862, the mining communities began proposing plans for the creation of a new territory, at first suggesting Walla Walla as its capital. But, the main Washington Territory population around Puget Sound did not want to lose its farming communities in the Columbia Basin area. The Olympia-based Puget Sounders were already outnumbered, and with the increased voting population in the Idaho mining areas, they would soon be outnumbered in the territorial legislature as well. In order to preserve as much of Washington Territory as possible, they proposed a compromise Idaho Territory division line beginning near Lewiston on the Snake River The compromise plan was passed in Congress in February 1863.

1860-1863 Washington Territory Counties Created in Gold Rush Idaho: As a direct result of the gold rush settlements, five counties were created in Idaho areas by Washington Territory between 1860 and 1863:
● Missoula County, December 1860, taken from
Spokane Co WT.
● Shoshone County, January 1861, taken from
Spokane Co WT.
● Idaho County, December 1861, taken from
Shoshone Co WT.
● Nez Perce County, December 1861, taken
from Missoula Co WT.
● Boise County, January 1863, taken from
Idaho Co WT .

1863. March 4th. President Lincoln signed into law an act creating Idaho Territory. The first territorial capital was at Lewiston, and the original area included all of present-day Idaho and Montana, and most of Wyoming. The recent Washington Territory counties of Boise, Idaho, Missoula, Nez Perce, and Shoshone became the first Idaho Territory counties. In addition, large non-county areas extended across the mountainous expanse to the Dakota Territory line.

The first Idaho Territory, March 1863.
The first Idaho Territory, March 1863.

1864. The Panhandle. Right after the formation of Idaho Territory in 1863, Congress realized they had created an ungovernable political mammoth. The first Idaho Territory was larger than Texas. In the congressional hearings for creating a new Montana Territory from oversized Idaho, Congress began discussing a rearrangement of Washington Territory back to its 1853 boundaries (from the Pacific to the Continental Divide). But, that proposal was overruled by a new plan to balance the territorial population by leaving a northern panhandle in Idaho Territory. The new panhandle had a greater number of non-Mormons in its northern mining communities than there were Mormons in the southern Snake River Valley farming communities. The anti-Mormon feelings in Congress, and the adding of the non-Mormon panhandle to Idaho may not be well documented in historical records. However, this was the same Congress that had denied Utah’s 2nd petition for statehood in 1862. That petition was obviously denied because Congress was wary of the Mormons and their practice of polygamy, but there are no historical documents that express those congressional feelings outright.

Idaho Territory (with a panhandle) after the creation of Montana Territory, and the expansion of Dakota Territory in 1864.
Idaho Territory (with a panhandle) after the creation of Montana Territory, and the expansion of Dakota Territory in 1864.

The Idaho panhandle was created when Montana Territory was formed in 1864, but at the same time, a large part of the southern part of Idaho Territory was given to Dakota Territory. Finally, in 1868, when Wyoming Territory was created, Idaho Territory was reduced to its present size and shape.

1865. The territorial capital was moved from Lewiston to Boise.

1890. July 3rd. Idaho became the 43rd state, with Boise as the state capital. The population was 88,548 people.

Recommended reading:
Idaho Name Lists 1860s-2011
Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920

Chart of the Sandwich Islands, by Jean-Francois de Galaup de La Pèrouse (1741-1788)

The following is excerpted from Bill Dollarhide’s new Hawaii Name Lists 1700s-2011 book.

Chart of the Sandwich Islands, by Jean-Francois de Galaup de La Pèrouse (1741-1788). The original chart was prepared by Pèrouse while visiting Hawaii in 1785. The above chart was published in 1799 by G.G. & J. Robinson, London. Full title: “Chart of the Sandwich Islands, laid down from the observations made aboard the Boussole & Astrolabe, in the parts visited by those ships, & from the Observations of Captain Cook, in the other parts.” From a copy of the original map at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. See www.davidrumsey.com.

Chart-of-the-Sandwich-Islands

History: from Five Centuries of Sailing Ships: From the Santa Maria to the Glomar Explorer, by Robert G. Albion, published by McGraw-Hill, New York, 1979:

“ . . .Boussole & Astrolabe. Jean François de Galaup de La Pèrouse was a full-time professional naval officer. He had had brilliant if lonesome duty during the American Revolution with a strong squadron up in Hudson’s Bay, where he captured the two principal Hudson’s Bay Company’s posts. After the war La Pèrouse, as one of the most promising of the regular officers, was appointed to follow up Cook’s explorations. For this scientific mission he was given two substantial frigates, the Boussole and Astrolabe.

“. . . The expedition sailed from Brest on August 1, 1785. Touching at Chile, they proceeded to Easter Island and then to Hawaii. Running from Alaska, they followed the American coast down as far as Monterey and, at the turn of the year, reached Macao and Manila. To preserve his story for posterity, La Pèrouse sent his journals (and the above Chart of the Sandwich Islands) overland to Paris. His next stop was Samoa, an unfortunate one. The captain of the Astrolabe, was attacked by a Samoan mob, and he and 11 others were killed and 20 were seriously wounded. At the turn of the year, La Pèrouse visited Tonga and called at Botany Bay in Australia. On March 11, 1788, the Boussole and Astrolabe sailed, and that was the last that was heard of them.”

It was years later that the fate of both ships was learned. In 1827, the commander of a British ship found clues to the fate of the Boussole and Astrolabe frigates on the island of Vanikoro, Santa Cruz Islands (now part of the Solomon Islands, South Pacific Ocean). The two ships had driven ashore in a fierce storm. One of them hit a reef and became a total loss; the other drove over a reef and considerable material was salvaged. The survivors built a smaller vessel from the wreckage and sailed away, leaving only a few survivors on Vanikoro. Copyright-free text from the Five Centuries of Sailing Ships book is available online. See
http://www.gyford.com/archive/2009/04/28/www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/1258/copy.html.

To learn more about Bill Dollarhide’s new Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s – 2011 volume, click on the following links:

Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s – 2011, With A Selection Of National Name Lists, 1600s – Present

Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s-2011 – PDF EBook

An Historical Timeline for Hawaii, 1627 – 2011

Hawaii-Name-Lists

The following article is excerpted from Bil Dollarhide’s New Book, Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s – 2011.

For genealogical research in Hawaii, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical, jurisdictional, and genealogical point of view:

1627. The first Europeans to see Hawaii were aboard Spanish sailing ships. In 1627, one Spanish ship captain described a volcanic eruption in his ship’s log, the first known recorded mention of the islands. Polynesians had been there for centuries, with considerable evidence that the earliest Hawaiian villages date back to 300 A.D. and Polynesian folklore describes their earliest settlers coming by outrigger canoe from Tahiti.

1778. January. On an expedition to China, British explorer Captain James Cook discovered the present Hawaiian Islands. He named them the Sandwich Islands after the Earl of Sandwich, one of the expedition’s sponsors. Cook went on to Alaska to look for the Northwest Passage and mapped the northern Pacific Ocean so accurately that his maps were used for 100 years. After his Alaska venture, Cook then returned to the Hawaiian Islands in November.

1779. February. Captain Cook visited the Big Island. After one of his ship’s dinghies was stolen, Cook decided to kidnap the local chief to get it back – but his plan failed. He was killed in the resulting battle.

1785. The first French ships, the frigates Boussole and Astrolabe visited Hawaii, under the command of Jean-Francois de Galaup de La Pèrouse. (See the Chart of the Sandwich Islands, p. HI-2).

1789. The first American ship landed in Hawaii. Captain Robert Gray, in his ship Columbia, was on his first voyage to the south seas. Gray was hailed as the first American to circumnavigate the world, and for his discovery of the Columbia River in 1792, named after the same ship he had used to visit the Sandwich Islands.

1792-1794. British Captain George Vancouver, after meeting with American Captain Robert Gray, and learning the location of the newly discovered Columbia River, sent an expedition up the river for the first time. He also explored the present Oregon and Washington coasts, Puget Sound, and the largest island on the western side of North America, which he named after himself. Vancouver’s visit with Gray also led to his decision to visit Hawaii. After his Pacific Northwest discoveries, Vancouver took his three ships to the Sandwich Islands. He became a personal advisor to Kamehameha, brought gifts, including the first longhorn cattle introduced to Hawaii. In 1794, Vancouver declared the Sandwich Islands as a protectorate of Great Britain.

1795-1854. Through conquest, King Kamehameha I (1795-1819) unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom. A charismatic leader, he and his sons, Kamehameha II (1819-1824) and Kamehameha III (1825-1854) were to change the cultural rules of the Hawaiian society, such as eliminating Kapu restrictions on class distinctions and the subjugation of women. The kings also refused to worship the ancient Polynesian gods, and told their people the gods were not real. For the first few generations under unified rule, the Hawaiian natives were open to just about any religious experience, and accepted the Europeans and Americans soon to arrive in great numbers to exploit the natural wonders and climate of the islands.

1821. Protestant missionaries arrived. Many Hawaiians were converted to Christianity. In just ten years, the protestant leaders, mostly strict New England Congregationalists, dominated the religious scene, and were able to prevent other religious groups from getting a foothold in the Islands.

1831. Catholic missionaries from France that had arrived during the late 1820s were forced to leave or be imprisoned in 1831.

1835. The first sugar plantation was established on Kauai Island.

1839. Roman Catholics received religious freedom after the Islands were threatened by French warships. To avoid war, Kamehameha III paid reparations to France for the deportation of Catholic priests. But just a few years later, the French learned that their missionaries were still not being treated very well.

1840. Hawaii adopted its first constitution, moving from a Feudal Society to a Constitutional Monarchy. It gave religious freedom to subjects, and let commoners own their own land. The constitution called for all land to be divided between the King and Island Chiefs, which could then be sold to the people.

1842. A legislative and judiciary government was established within a limited monarchy. The first House of Representatives was called to order. Also in this year, the first class began at Punahou, the new private school. And, Kamehameha III began sending emissaries to the U.S., France, and England to secure recognition of an independent and sovereign Hawaiian government. President John Tyler gave his assurance in writing in December 1842, and in March and April 1843. Hawaiian Independence was assured in writing by King Louis-Philippe of France and Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

1843. In February, two months before Queen Victoria’s statement supporting the ”Independence of the Sandwich Islands,” Lord George Paulet moved the British warship HMS Carysfort into Honolulu Harbor and demanded that King Kamehameha III cede the islands to the British Crown. The King reluctantly agreed, but Paulet’s action enraged the French and Americans, who were able to get Paulet’s boss, Rear Admiral Richard Thomas to Honolulu in July. Thomas apologized for Paulet’s actions, and restored Hawaiian sovereignty. In November 1843, at the Court of London, the British and French Governments formally recognized Hawaiian independence. John Tyler’s 1843 statements of support were not formally confirmed by the U.S. Congress until 1849.

1848. A law passed that divided all of the land of all islands between King Kamehameha III and his Island Chiefs. Most of the chiefs gave their land to the government, which in turn sold land to the Hawaiian people.

1849. In August, French forces arrived in Honolulu Harbor demanding full religious rights for their Catholic missionaries. They stormed the harbor fort, and did considerable damage, but left Honolulu a month later. King Kamehameha III basically ignored the French and their demands.

1852 June. The first steam-powered ship arrived in Hawaii from San Francisco. One of the passengers on board was a young man identified only as “Mr. Dollarhide.” Later that year, the same steamship was the first one used in inter-island service.

1853. A smallpox epidemic took the lives of over 5,000 Hawaiians.

1854-1863. The reign of King Kamehameha IV. He was a nephew and adopted son of Kamehameha I. He was not in favor of an American annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, being more fond of the British culture than that of the Americans.

1863-1872. King Kamehameha V reigned. He was an older brother of Kamehameha IV, and was much respected by the Hawaiian people for his devotion to Hawaiian culture and restoration of Hawaiian medical practices. Mark Twain once spent four months in Hawaii in 1866, and wrote extensively about the islands. His comments about King Kamehameha V: “He was a wise sovereign; he had seen something of the world; he was educated and accomplished; he was popular, greatly respected, and even beloved.”

1865. The first wave of immigrant plantation workers departed from Yokohama, Japan, for Hawaii.

1872-1874. After Kamehameha V died without an heir in 1872, his cousin was elected King Lunaliho in 1873, but died a year later.

1874-1891. During the reign of King Kalakua, many Hawaiian customs that had been discouraged by earlier rulers became popular again. He became known as the “Merry Monarch.”

1875. King Kalakaua went to Washington, DC, visited President Ulysses S. Grant, and signed a treaty with the U.S. allowing Hawaiian sugar and rice to enter the U.S. tax-free.

1878. The first telephone was in operation, two years after Alexander Graham Bell’s patent.

1879. The first steam locomotive pulled its first train load of sugarcane on Maui.

1882. The Iolani Palace was first occupied by the Hawaiian royalty. Two monarchs governed from the Iolani Palace: King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. After the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, the building was used as the capitol building for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawaii until 1969. The palace was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978.

Iolani-Palace

1883. Electricity arrived as five arc lamps were strung around Iolani Palace. This was also the year of the Great Chinatown Fire, with losses exceeding $1,455,000.

1887. To enhance trade with the United States, King Kalakaua allowed them exclusive use of Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

1890s. Several U.S. and European settlers had begun planting pineapples. Sugarcane planting also became an important industry. Thousands of workers were needed for these plantations; many came from China, Japan and the Philippines.

1891. Upon the death of King Kalakaua, his sister, Lydia, became Hawaii’s only ruling queen and last Hawaiian monarch. As Queen Liliuokalani, she tried to maintain Hawaii’s culture against the large influx of Americans and Europeans who by now controlled the economy.

1893. In a trumped up revolution, Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown, ending the 98-year-old Royal Kingdom of Hawaii. A Provisional Government was established, led by Sanford B. Dole and Lorrin A. Thurston. The Queen remained an important influence among the Hawaiian people. Over the next few years, she was successful in convincing President Grover Cleveland that an annexation of Hawaii to the United States should not take place without the approval of the Hawaiian native population. Those U.S. Congressmen in favor of Hawaii’s annexation to the U.S. found that they would have to wait until Grover Cleveland was out of office.

1894. The revolution brought forth the American and British inspired Republic of Hawaii, sometimes called “Dole’s Republic,” which functioned as a recognized nation in the world community for four years. Sanford B. Dole served as the President of the republic.

1898. July. The Hawaiian Islands were annexed to the United States by means of a joint resolution of Congress, called the Newlands Resolution. Sanford B. Dole continued as the President of the Provisional Government until the Hawaiian Organic Act of 1900 established a permanent territorial government led by a governor.

1900. Hawaii became a U.S. territory. Sanford B. Dole was appointed the Governor of Hawaii Territory by President William McKinley, taking office on 14 June 1900. The federal census of 1900 was taken with a census day of 1 June 1900, and Hawaii was included. Population: 154,001. No counties existed yet, and the census was divided into five districts for 1) Hawaii Island, 2) Kauai and Nihau Islands, 3) Maui, Kahoolawe, and Lanai Islands, 4) Molokai Island, and 5) Oahu Island.

1901. The Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole) was established.

1905. Five counties were created by the territorial legislature: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui. There have been no new counties or changes since 1905. Kalawao County comprised only the Kalaupapa Leper Colony on Molokai Island. The county stills exists, although the entire area is now a National Historical Park. The 90 (or so) permanent residents of Kalawao County do have one officer, a Sheriff, appointed by the U.S. National Park Service.

1910 Federal Census. Population of Hawaii Territory: 191,874

1920 Federal Census. Population of Hawaii Territory: 255,881.

1930 Federal Census. Population of Hawaii Territory: 368,300.

1934. President Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to visit Hawaii.

1940 Federal Census. Population of Hawaii Territory: 422,770.

1941. After the historic Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and Oahu on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II.

1959. August 21. Hawaii became the 50th state to enter the Union.

2011. The population of the State of Hawaii in mid-2011 was estimated by the Census Bureau as 1.4 million people. About one million people were living on Oahu Island, also known as the City and County of Honolulu.

To learn more about Bill Dollarhide’s new Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s – 2011 volume, click on the following links:

Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s – 2011, With A Selection Of National Name Lists, 1600s – Present

Hawaii Name Lists, 1700s-2011 – PDF EBook

An Historical Timeline for Georgia, 1497 – 1803

Georgia-Name-Lists
The following article was written by my friend, William Dollarhide, and is excerpted from his new book, Georgia Name Lists, 1733 – 2010.

For genealogical research in Georgia, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical, jurisdictional, and genealogical point of view:

1497-1498. Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), sailing under the commission of Henry VII of England, landed in 1497 on the island of Terra Nova, now called Newfoundland. In 1498, Cabot’s second trip to North America may have included visits along the coast of present North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. However, the historian who made this discovery, Dr. Alwyn Ruddock, died in 2005 after instructions to destroy all of her notes relating to Cabot’s voyages. Since 2009, the Cabot Project is an international and collaborative project to investigate the Bristol discovery voyages, and to reaffirm the revelations made by Dr. Ruddock.

1526. The first European attempt to establish a settlement in what is now the continental United States, was by a party of six ships and some 600 men led by Spaniard Lucas Vazques de Ayllon. The San Miguel de Guadalpe colony, believed to have been located on Georgia’s Sapelo Island, lasted less than three months. The Spanish were later more successful with colonies in Florida, but continued to hold their claims to the coastal areas of present Georgia.

1539-1542. Spaniard Hernando DeSoto, on a quest to find gold and a route to China, landed on Florida’s West Coast in 1539, somewhere between present Cape Coral and Bradenton. He traveled on land towards Tampa Bay and then further north to present-day Tallahassee. In 1540, DeSoto led his party of some 620 men, 400 horses, numerous beef cattle, and over 200 pigs north into Georgia, where he was met unfavorably by the Creek Indians. DeSoto was the first European to travel into the interior of present Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

1629-1641. In 1629, British King Charles I granted a patent to Sir Robert Heath for lands between Latitude 31o and 36o, sea to sea, named “The Province of Carolina,” which including the entire area of present Georgia. However, Heath never established a settlement there. He may have been dissuaded by a Spanish declaration that the area in question was part of La Florida and for the British to stay away or there would be war. But a more likely reason was that the British interest in the Carolina area had faded during the era of the Civil War in England. In 1629, the preferred destination of the purged Puritans so disliked by Charles I was to Massachusetts Bay, not Albemarle Sound. Charles I made up for his Heath debacle in 1641, when he appointed William Berkeley as the Governor of Virginia. Berkeley would transform a moribund colony into a tobacco giant.

1660-1663. After the Cromwell era and the restoration of the throne in 1660, Charles II renewed Britain’s interest in establishing colonies in America, which he did over the next twenty years in Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania. His first action on colonies was to transfer the original 1629 Carolina grant to eight prominent loyalists in 1663, who became the real founders of Carolina. The Carolina grant included all of present-day Georgia.

1665-1670. Beginning in 1665, the Spanish started building coastal missions north of St. Augustine well into present Georgia and South Carolina. The 1670 Treaty of Madrid between Spain and England attempted to divide up the eastern half of North America. Spain asserted that the actual possession of land should determine ownership. The boundary created by this treaty was at latitude 32o30”, where the approximate point of the present-day boundary between Georgia and South Carolina begins.

1673. The Spanish built a presidio at Santa Catalina (now St. Catherines Island, Georgia). The fort was attacked by the British in 1680, and the Spanish abandoned it in 1681, moving the garrison to Sapelo Island.

1686. Sir Francis Drake attacked and burned the Spanish presidio at St. Augustine. The Spanish rebuilt the fort and continued to assert their claims to La Florida as their land by possession, including areas well north of present Savannah, Georgia.

1721. The British built Fort King George at the mouth of the Altamaha River, the southernmost outpost of the British Empire in North America. The fort was built to reinforce the British claims to the region and stop the Spanish from advancing any further north.

1730. The Earl of Egmont (James Edward Oglethorpe), and 19 associates petitioned King George II for a royal charter to establish a colony southwest of the Carolinas.

1732. George II granted the Oglethorpe group a royal charter, specifying that the new colony should be named after himself, and that the land area should be “. . between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers from the Atlantic coast to the headwaters of these streams and thence to the South Seas.” Oglethorpe had argued to the King that there was a need for a British colony between Spanish Florida and South Carolina as a military buffer. Not only did the King agree, he donated a grant of ₤5,000 to the cause.

As a well known prison reformer and philanthropist, Oglethorpe also acquired financial support from some of England’s leading reformers. Oglethorpe’s original plan was to provide a place to salvage Britain’s destitute poor, particularly those in debtor’s prisons, an endeavor he and many of his associates had been involved in as members of Parliament in England. The Georgia colony was set up as a Corporate Trust, with Trustees running the business of the colony from London.

Oglethorpe was the leader of the colony, but his titles were military rather than civilian. He arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in late 1732 on the ship “Anne” with a party of about 120 passengers, and settled near the present site of Savannah, Georgia in February 1733. Although he never got many debtors-prisoners to Georgia, he did encourage many of the “worthy poor” to come. In a more practical plan, English and Scottish tradesmen, artisans, and religious refugees from Switzerland, France, and Germany were welcomed. The Royal Charter provided for acceptance of all religions except Roman Catholicism and Judaism. But when a group of refugee Jews showed up in Savannah, Oglethorpe let them stay. Oglethorpe also set a tone for the new colony’s moral and cultural beginnings. While he was the leader for ten years, there was no slavery, no legal sale of rum, and no lawyers allowed.

1736. James Oglethorpe went back to England to convince the King to send troops to ward off the Spanish incursions into Georgia. He returned to Georgia with 600 soldiers and more colonists. Now a Colonel in the British Army, he established a settlement on St. Simons Island, called Fort Frederica. Meanwhile, William Stephens of Savannah was named the Secretary of the colony by the Trustees.

1741. Convinced that the city and town court systems were not working, the Georgia Trustees established two counties, dividing the colony into Savannah County and Frederica County. But, Frederica was revoked in 1743, leaving the colony with one county.

1743-1749. James Oglethorpe returned to England for the last time in 1743 (as a General), and the Georgia ban on Slavery was not lifted until 1749. After Oglethorpe’s departure, Trustee Georgia’s government consisted of a body of associates who essentially ran the business of the colony as a committee, with William Stephens (now President) in charge in Savannah.

1752. The 1732 grant to the Oglethorpe party had a life of 21 years. A year before its expiration, the trustees of the colony of Georgia relinquished their charter to the British government and became a Royal Colony. Until a royal governor could be appointed and installed in the colony, Patrick Graham was appointed as President.

1754. John Reynolds was named the first royal governor of Georgia. A Royal Navy man, he brought joy to the colonists because they believed Georgia’s economy needed more industry, slavery, and trade, which Reynolds promised to deliver. But Reynolds quit after two years, replaced by Henry Ellis.

1755. As Trustee Georgia, the colony could only recommend laws for passage by Parliament in London. Becoming a Royal Colony meant some self government and the right to issue their own laws, but still under the control of the English monarch. In 1755, Georgia’s first General Assembly met at Savannah. The first law dealt with the punishment for anyone questioning the decisions of the Assembly.

1758. As a royal colony, Georgia was required to adopt the Church of England as the established church of Georgia. By an act of the Georgia General Assembly, this was formally done in 1758. Several districts and divisions of the province were divided into eight parishes. The parish system used in England was installed in which the Church of England worship divisions and activities were administered under a parish vestry. A vestry was empowered to assess rates (taxes) for the repair of churches, the relief of the poor, and other parochial services. The original eight parishes replaced the single county, Savannah, and were all between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, the area of the original Royal Grant.

1760. Georgia’s third and final Royal Governor, James Wright, was appointed by the King in 1760. soon after taking office, a proclamation by Governor Wright increased the coastal land area of the colony from the Altamaha River to the St. Marys River. In 1760, King George III began a reign that would last over 60 years. He was the British monarch who lost the American colonies.

1763. When George III took the throne, the British were still at war with France. In colonial American it was called the French and Indian War, and ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. To deal with the lands east of the Mississippi River acquired from France in that treaty, by declaration, George III redefined the royal charters of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, all to end at the Mississippi River. He then issued the Proclamation Line of 1763, in which Indian Reserves were established west of the Appalachian Mountains, limiting western migrations by all of the British colonies.

1763-1764 British Florida. In the 1763 treaty negotiations concluding the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War), France ceded to Britain the areas east of the Mississippi River, notably excluding New Orleans, and including all of Florida. The British immediately divided the area into East Florida, with a capital at St. Augustine and West Florida, with a capital at Pensacola, both areas with a northern border at Latitude 31O. In 1764, the British extended the boundaries of West Florida to include all lands north of Latitude 31o to the mouth of the Yazoo River on the Mississippi, approximately Latitude 32o 30’, and running on that line to the Chattahoochee River, the current boundary between Georgia and Alabama. That extended area was to become a matter of dispute when the U.S. met with Britain, France, and Spain at the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

1764. The Sugar Act was passed by the British Parliament to raise revenues from the colonies. Georgia was one of the leading sugar producers of the thirteen colonies, and was heavily impacted by the new tax. The sugar tax was one of the first serious disputes between the colonies and Great Britain.

1765. The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament, credited as the start of the American rebellion, and the cry of “no taxation without representation.”

1776. The Declaration of Independence included Georgia as one of the original thirteen colonies in rebellion.

1777. As part of the Georgia Constitution of 1777, Georgia converted all parishes into eight counties: Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond, and Wilkes.

1780-1783. During the Revolutionary War, the British hold on West Florida and East Florida came to an end. With the Spanish as allies of the French, the British lost West Florida to Spanish forces, who captured Mobile in 1780 and Pensacola in 1781.

Soon after the British loss of West Florida, Georgia reasserted its claim to all lands west of the Altamaha and St. Marys Rivers to the Mississippi River; from the Florida line (Latitude 31o) up to the North Carolina/Tennessee line (Latitude 35o). This was Georgia’s original Royal Charter plus the 1763 declaration in which King George III had expanded Georgia’s Royal Charter to the Mississippi River. Georgia determined that the western lands were all up for grabs after the Spanish defeat of the British, and the loss of Florida to Spain. There were some flamboyant land speculations in the western areas during the 1780s, but no new settlements by Georgia were ever established, as most of the region was still under treaty with the five civilized tribes.

Early in 1783, the British returned East Florida to Spain, causing many American loyalists from Georgia who had fled the Revolutionary War to St. Augustine to flee again, this time heading for the Bahamas or West Indies.

The treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the Revolutionary War with Britain, and the United States of America became an independent nation. Although the U.S. recognized Georgia’s claim to the area from Latitude 31o to 35o, the language of the treaty left out of the U.S. the area from 31o to 32o 30’.

The U.S. claimed the area based on Georgia’s claim (and because of Britain’s inclusion of the area in 1763). Spain claimed the area because they felt that Britain had extended their claim in West Florida illegally back in 1763. Now claimed by both the U.S. and Spain, that area was left out of the U.S. at the Treaty of 1783, requiring both the Spanish and Americans to survey the land and come up with a plan separate from the main treaty. As a result, the area remained in dispute, belonging to no one until 1796.

1788. January 2. Georgia ratified the U.S. Constitution to become the 4th state.

1789-1803. Georgia’s claim to huge tracts of western land, extending across both present-day Alabama and Mississippi to the Mississippi River, was to be the scene of some extraordinary and flamboyant land trading schemes. Two notorious land scandals emerged during this period: 1) From 1789 to 1796, three Governors of Georgia made gifts of land covering more than three times as much land as Georgia contained. Mostly centered in Montgomery County, Georgia, the Pine Barrens Speculation was the basis for a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1810, the first time the Supreme Court ruled a state law unconstitutional. 2) The 1794-1803 Yazoo Land Scandal involved the Governor and other Georgia state officials accepting bribes in return for land sales to speculators in the region of present-day Mississippi’s Yazoo River area, land that was later ceded by Georgia to the U.S. Public Domain.

1795-1798. In the October 1795 Treaty of San Lorenzo (also called Pinckney’s Treaty), the U.S. settled the Spanish-U.S. Disputed Area, which was ratified by Congress in August 1796. The lands above West Florida (Latitude 31o up to 32o30’) became U.S. territory. In April 1798, Congress created Mississippi Territory in the area, the first Public Domain land south of the Ohio River. The same Mississippi Territory act signed by President John Adams also authorized him to begin negotiations with Georgia over the cession of its western lands.

1798-1803. After the notorious Yazoo Land Scandal, and the Pine Barrens Speculation, and after losing its claim to the U.S./Spanish Disputed Area, Georgia was now being asked to cede its remaining western lands to the U.S. Public Domain. President Adams had received authorization from Congress to negotiate with Georgia for the western lands, and he had hoped that Georgia would cede the land without further demands. All other landed states had ceded their western lands by 1790, and without compensation. But, Georgia held out, and refused to give the land away until the U.S. Government paid them for it. An amount of 1.25 million dollars was finally negotiated in 1802. The area of land ceded by Georgia ran from its present western boundary west to the Mississippi River, and north from Latitude 32o 30” to 35o. In 1803, Georgia’s ceded area was added to Mississippi Territory. After the cession of its western lands, Georgia’s boundaries have not changed since.

Check out the Georgia Name Lists book. See:

An Historical Timeline for Florida, 1513 – 1971

Florida Name Lists

The following article was written by my friend, William Dollarhide, and is excerpted from his new book, Florida Name Lists, 1759 – 2009.

For genealogical research in Florida, the following timeline of events should help any genealogist understand the area with an historical and genealogical point of view:

1513. Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon explored and named Florida (Pascua La Florida, after the Feast of Flowers).
The fountain of youth he was looking for did not happen until Disney World arrived 458 years later.

1539. Spaniard Hernando DeSoto, on a quest to find gold and a route to China, landed on Florida’s West Coast, somewhere between present Cape Coral and Bradenton, traveled on land towards Tampa Bay and then further north to present-day Tallahassee. Looking for gold, he left La Florida disappointed, but he became the first European to travel on land into present Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

1565. The first colony at St. Augustine Bay was founded by the Spanish. Although the fort was sacked, burned, pillaged, and generally not treated very well by the French or English, St. Augustine survived and is now acknowledged as the first permanent settlement in North America by Europeans.

1586. British seafarer, Sir Francis Drake, raided and burned St. Augustine, but the fort was rebuilt again by the Spanish soon after, along with several more missions in Florida over the next century.

1682. French explorer René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de la Salle) erected a cross near the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, after floating down rivers from the Great Lakes. He claimed the entire Mississippi basin for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana was named. The French believed that Louisiana included the present areas of Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola.

1698. Pensacola was founded by the Spanish, as the Presidio Santa Maria de Galve.

1719. The French captured Pensacola and about the same time occupied all of the gulf ports to New Orleans, but as a result of an alliance with Spain against England, the French soon returned Pensacola to Spain.

1754. The Spanish built the Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola, within what is now downtown Pensacola’s historical district.

1763 Treaty of Paris. Until this year, many cross-claims to territory in North America existed between the French, English and Spanish, and it took a war to settle the issue of land ownership. In Europe and Canada it was called the Seven Years War, but in colonial America it was called the French and Indian War. At the 1763 Treaty of Paris ending the war, France was divested of all of its large North American claims, except the town of New Orleans and some fishing rights near Newfoundland. The British gained undisputed title to Nova Scotia, Quebec, their thirteen Atlantic colonies from present Maine to Georgia, and all other lands east of the Mississippi River. Spanish lands were recognized as those west of the Mississippi. Also part of the 1763 treaty, the Spanish ransomed Florida to the British in exchange for Cuba. The British immediately divided the area into West Florida with a capital at Pensacola, and East Florida, with a capital at St. Augustine. The dividing line was the Apalachicola – Chattahoochee Rivers.

1780-1783. During the Revolutionary War, the British hold on East and West Florida came to an end. With the Spanish as allies of the French, the British lost West Florida to Spanish forces, who captured Mobile in 1780 and Pensacola in 1781. The British then returned East Florida to Spain in 1783, causing many American loyalists who had fled the Revolutionary War to St. Augustine to flee again, this time heading for the Bahamas or West Indies.

1783. The treaty of Paris of 1783 first recognized the United States as an independent nation. Its borders were described generally from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from present Maine to Georgia. Spain continued to possess East and West Florida after the 1783 Treaty of Paris. However, Spain and the U.S. both claimed the area between Latitude 31o and Latitude 32o 30’ of present-day Mississippi and Alabama. This disputed area was left out of the U.S. in the Treaty of 1783, and remained in dispute with Spain until 1796.

1790 Federal Census. The present-day area of Alabama and Mississippi was part of Georgia, part of the disputed area, and part of Spanish West Florida at the time of the 1790 federal census. Although there were American settlements around Mobile and Natchez, no census was taken there.

1796-1798. In the 1796 Treaty of San Lorenzo (also called Pinckney’s Treaty), the U.S. resolved the Spanish-U.S. disputed area by purchasing the area from Spain. The lands above West Florida (Latitude 31o up to 32o 30’) became U.S. territory. The purchase did not include East Florida or West Florida. In 1798, Congress created Mississippi Territory in the purchased area.

1802. In Europe, Napoleon defeated the Spanish in battle and as spoils of war, gained title to Louisiana again after trading them a couple of duchies in Europe. However, Napoleon found that his troops in the Caribbean were under siege and unable to provide much help in establishing a French government in Louisiana. A few months later, when a couple of American emissaries showed up in Paris trying to buy New Orleans from Napoleon, he decided to unload the entire tract to the Americans.

1803. Surprised and delighted that Napoleon was willing to sell the entire tract called Louisiana, President Thomas Jefferson urged Congress to vote in favor, and the U.S. purchased the huge tract from France, doubling the size of the United States. The purchase of Louisiana immediately created a dispute about ownership of lands east of the Mississippi River, since the legal description of the Louisiana Purchase was the “drainage of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.” The Spanish did not agree that it included lands east of the Mississippi and maintained their claim to West Florida.

1810. In September 1810, a group of rebel Americans overcame the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge, and unfurled the new flag of the Republic of West Florida. In October 1810, in a proclamation by President James Madison, the U.S. arbitrarily annexed Spain’s West Florida from the Mississippi River to the Perdido River. The area included Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and Mobile, but was not organized, and was not included in the 1810 census.
Spain did not recognize the annexation, and continued their claim to West Florida in dispute with the U.S.

1812. Congress added to Mississippi Territory the portion of the West Florida annexation from the Perdido River to the Pearl River, an area which included Mobile and Biloxi; and the portion from the Pearl River to the Mississippi River was added to Orleans Territory (an area that included Baton Rouge). Soon after, Orleans Territory became the State of Louisiana.

1819-1821 Adams-Onis Treaty. After years of refusing to negotiate with the U.S. over the ownership of Florida, Spain finally relented with the 1819 Adams-Onis treaty, also called the Purchase of Florida. Spain’s problems with colonial rebellions in Central and South America saw a change in their attitudes. By 1818, Spain had effectively abandoned Florida and was unwilling to support any more colonists or garrisons. The treaty involved Spain’s cession of Florida to the U.S. in exchange for the U.S. paying any legal claims of American citizens against Spain, up to 5 million dollars. But, the treaty also set the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain (now Mexico), from Louisiana to the Oregon Country. The treaty finally confirmed the Sabine River border with Spanish Texas; and recognized (for the first time), the American claim to the Oregon Country. The treaty was named after John Quincy Adams, U.S. Secretary of State, and Luis de Onis, the Spanish Foreign Minister, the parties who signed the treaty at Washington on February 22, 1819. Although Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and Mobile were annexed to the U.S. in 1810, then organized in 1812; they did not become U.S. territory free of dispute until the Adams-Onis Treaty was ratified by Congress in 1821.

1820-1822. At the time of the 1820 federal census, Florida was left out of the enumeration since the Purchase of Florida was not ratified by Congress until 1821. And, in 1822, Florida Territory was created by Congress, with bounds the same as the present state. The two main population centers in Florida in 1822 were Pensacola and St. Augustine, both wanting to be the new territorial capital. But, the travel time between the two cities was measured in weeks. It was decided to find a point about half-way between the two cities to locate the new territorial capital. Tallahassee was selected, at the time, an abandoned Indian village.

1845. March 3. Florida entered the Union as the 27th state.

1971. October 1. The Walt Disney World Resort opened with the first of four theme parks, called the Magic Kingdom, located dead center in an area the Spanish called Los Mosquitoes, from which Florida Territory named one of its earliest counties in 1824. Mosquito did not get renamed Orange County until 1845. It is quite possible that mosquitoes outnumbered oranges (about 10,000 to 1) in Orange County until the development of DDT during World War II.

  • Check out the Florida Name Lists Book

  • Piles of Paper – Part 4

    The following article is by my good friend, Bill Dollarhide.

    Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 43: If you can remember your ancestor’s marriage date but not your own, you are
    probably an addicted genealogist

    In the articles, “Piles of Paper – Part 1, 2 & 3,” we suggested you take your large piles of paper and dump them into one pile on the floor of your kitchen. We then discussed the three categories of paper that needed to be separated out from the large pile. And, after removing the Compiled Sheets and Research Aids, we were left with a still large pile of paper. After suggesting some basic rules to follow hereafter in saving any Notes and Documents, we gave some ideas for picking up the papers one by one, and getting them ready for 3-hole ring binders, creating “surname books” divided by place of origin and paginated. In this article, we discus the retrieval of information from your well-organized notes and documents collection to compile family sheets, keep track of the genealogical events for each ancestor/relative, and show the evidence you have backing up everything you say on the compiled sheets.

    Retrieving Notes and Compiling Family Sheets
    If all of the notes and documents are organized as described in the previous three articles, a genealogist has the means of locating multiple sheets for analysis. The process of comparing information from the notes is one which most experienced genealogists understand. However, the problem of locating every research item can be frustrating if the notes are not in a place where they can be removed (or returned) easily.

    The next step of compiling a family sheet is the point where most genealogists compare the notes, evaluate the contradictions that always occur, and then make a decision about the dates, places, and events necessary to enter information about the family members. This process is sometimes lengthy and worrisome, and often leads to ideas where new research might be necessary. With a large collection of research notes, the process is even more complicated, and some means of indexing the information becomes critical.

    With notes and documents easily retrieved from the surname notebooks, a family sheet can be prepared more easily, but more importantly, a complete citation list of every sheet that was used to compile the family information can be created.

    The Importance of Genealogical Evidence
    Genealogists have at their disposal a rule of law called The Preponderance of Evidence. It is possible – if one can fully document all sources – to make assertions about the relationships between people. There may not be a single document that states, “he was the son of. . .” in your document files, but there may be overwhelming evidence to demonstrate that a relationship of father to son was indeed the case. If a court of law in the U.S. can accept such evidence, then it can be used by genealogists as well.

    In fact, there are numerous instances in which professional genealogists have testified in court about genealogical evidence regarding an heir to property, establishing paternity, or some matter in which genealogical evidence was in question. Genealogical evidence is no different than the evidence provided in a criminal case, where the prosecuting attorney must produce evidence that the accused was indeed the criminal. However, the important fact about evidence is that everyone who reviews it must come to the same conclusion. Therefore, the pieces of evidence must be made available so that anyone can scrutinize the findings. If the same conclusion is reached, then it is indeed possible to make an assertion about “the son of. . .” without having a single document that actually states that fact.

    Any references, however slight, should be in the notes and documents collection. This means, for instance, that an obituary should be obtained even if the death certificate for this person has already been acquired. It also means that any other piece of evidence relating to that death should be gathered, e.g., survivors’ memories, funeral programs, cemetery office records, tombstone inscriptions, stone mason records, insurance papers, social security records, and anything that may give clues about the survivors of the deceased. The more references collected, the more information that will be revealed about the ancestors or descendants of the person who died. Adding multiple references to a death or other event is the way we build a preponderance of evidence. This is the method in which a genealogist can prove something without a shadow of doubt being cast on the evidence. For this reason, a complete list of references should accompany every genealogical presentation, whether the presentation is a few family group sheets or a thousand-page book.

    Preparing A List For A Family Group Sheet
    There are several ways of listing the sources and itemizing the evidence for genealogical purposes. First, a genealogist could simply write a narrative which describes the steps taken, listing every source and the conclusions reached. Second, a formal list could be prepared that itemizes all sources that make any mention of one person. And third, such a list could be prepared for each family group, showing the page number in the notes/documents collection where the information is found.

    This latter method has merit if the family sheet is being prepared anyway, so why not simply list every reference that was used to compile the family information? Better yet, why not use the back side of the family sheet to do it? This is good record-keeping because in compiling the family sheet, every reference item from the documents file can be listed one at a time. Then, as new information is added, the new reference item can be added to the list as well.

    Remember the suggestion was for every reference sheet to have a number — now the importance of that page number is evident. But beyond the simple reference to the page, more information might be worthwhile having in the list. Here is an example of a list of sources that can be written on the back of a family group sheet:

    Source Code – Type of Record – In Reference To – Information Given
    —————————————————————————————-
    Dollarhide/IN/3 – Marriage – John Dollarhide – Date, place, witnesses
    Reynolds/IN/13 – Marriage – Lucy Reynolds – Date, place, witnesses
    Dollarhide/IN/14 – 1850 Census – John Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/IN/14 – 1850 Census – Lucy Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/IN/14 – 1850 Census – Wm. H. H. Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/IN/14 – 1850 Census – Nancy Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/CA/22 – 1870 Census – Lucy Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/CA/22 – 1870 Census – John C. Dollarhide – Age, place of birth
    Dollarhide/CA/22 – 1870 Census – Priscilla Dollarhide – Age, place of birth

    Note that the first thing needed is to inform a reader which surname book the item came from, what section within the surname book, and what page number within that section. “Dollarhide/IN/3” indicates that the reference is in the Dollarhide surname book in the Indiana section, and within that section, it is page 3.

    There are advantages in listing all references on the family sheet in this way. Not only does the list indicate every research item that was used to compile the family group, it provides a list that can be mailed to other genealogists showing what has been collected for that family. Genealogists who receive letters from other genealogists asking for “everything you have on the Brown family” can send the list of references first.

    The list also tells a genealogist where to find records that may be stored in more than one place. For example, records concerning Lucy Reynolds before her marriage can be stored with the Reynolds surname book. Records after her marriage to John Dollarhide can be stored in the Dollarhide surname book. A copy of the marriage record need not be made for each book if the list indicates where each particular reference has been filed.

    Other Indexing Options
    With a well organized notes and documents file, particularly one with page numbers for every sheet of paper, you have several other options to create an index to the names appearing in it. Above, we described one method of using the back of a family group sheet to show a list of references, giving the name of the surname book, place section, and page number where the full details are stored. But, an index of the names in your notes and document paper database could be prepared using 3″ x 5″ index cards, a Rolodex file, or using a computer database program. The fact that your notes and documents are well organized will give you several options to prepare an index if listing the sources on family sheets or individual sheets does not cover everyone in your paper database. More details about preparing a list of sources were in my previous article, “Tracking Genealogical Events,” with examples of a computer-generated list using the Name/Place/Page Number concept.

    Finally, you can organize your genealogical notes and documents, but only if you are willing to separate them from other types of paper in your files, such as compiled sheets and research aids. With a well organized set of notes and documents, and with page numbers assigned to each sheet of paper, you can make lists on family sheets or individual sheets that will give you access to your notes in seconds. In addition, you will have the means of preparing more sophisticated indexes to your notes by using computer database programs.

    Epilogue: This organization system was first published in 1982 as The Dollarhide System for Genealogical Records; from which evolved the book, Managing a Genealogical Project, first published in 1988; and a genealogical software package, Everyone’s Family Tree, first published in 1989. The mid-1990s edition of the Managing book is still in print, and has a chapter on computers that is rather dated. However, the rest of the text is still up-to-date and very useful for anyone wanting to get rid of their Piles of Paper.

    Further reading:
    Managing a Genealogical Project, a book by William Dollarhide.
    – “Piles of Paper-Part 1,” an article by William Dollarhide.
    – “Piles of Paper-Part 2,” an article by William Dollarhide.
    – “Piles of Paper – Part 3,” a blog article by William Dollarhide.
    – “Tracking Genealogical Events,” a blog article by William Dollarhide.
    Managing a Genealogical Project, a book by William Dollarhide.
    A Genealogist’s InstaGuide: Dollarhide’s Rules and Daffern’s Laws.

    Piles of Paper – Part 3

    The following article is by my good friend, Bill Dollarhide.

    Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 42: If you took family group sheets to the last wedding you attended, you are
    probably an addicted genealogist.

    In the articles, “Piles of Paper – Part 1 & Part 2,” we suggested you take your large piles of paper and dump them into one pile on the floor of your kitchen. We then discussed the three categories of paper that needed to be separated out from the large pile. And, after removing the Compiled Sheets and Research Aids, we were left with a still large pile of paper, but just for the category of Notes and Documents. To start organizing this category, we suggested that a “Surname Oriented” system would be superior to a “Family Oriented” system, because the Notes and Documents are inhabited by three types of people (Ancestors, Collaterals, and Suspicious). But, before organizing these papers, we will propose some basic rules to follow hereafter in collecting any Notes and Documents:

    Rules for Saving Notes and Documents
    Let’s forget that you still have this incredibly large pile of notes and documents sitting in the middle of your kitchen. Instead, let’s assume that you are starting your genealogical research tomorrow. Everything is new. We will now start fresh. Under these conditions, I can give you some really good rules to follow and your genealogical collection will be the envy of every other genealogist you know because you will be able to find every event record for every person you have ever collected, every time, guaranteed. Here are my four rules:

    1. Control the sheet size
    2. Separate sheets by surname
    3. Separate surname sheets by the place of origin
    4. Give every sheet a page number

    Rule 1: Control the Sheet Size
    As students we learned how to prepare for a written essay in school. We were taught to use 3 x 5″ index cards, noting such things as the author’s name, publisher, date of publication, etc., followed by a brief quote or two from the source we had found in the library. This method worked well because the cards could be sorted easily and provided a bibliography once the report had been written.

    However, genealogists attempting to use this system will quickly discover that they rarely have enough room on the card to write all notes they may want to capture. Not only that, genealogists are fond of copying whole pages of text from books, not just a few notes here and there. To make matters worse, genealogists receive information from a variety of sources – letters from relatives, documents from vital statistics offices, interview notes, phone notes, or information from other genealogists. The nature of genealogical research does not allow the use of 3″ x 5″ cards effectively, because a separate collection of full-size documents would then be necessary.

    We have also been known to go to the library without a note pad, using whatever paper we could beg, borrow, or steal, to write down the latest census data we found. If the little sheet of paper is covered with a larger sheet in the file box at home, the little sheet of paper will probably be in the “lost” category in the near future.

    Standardizing the sheet size for taking notes using 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper solves this problem. If every note were taken on this sheet size, the smaller notes can be taped or pasted to standard size sheets to bring them into conformity, and if a researcher follows this simple rule faithfully, the ability to find notes and documents for later analysis will be enhanced immediately.

    To make this technique even better, using a pre-printed form to take all notes has several advantages. First, the sheet size will be controlled at the time the note is taken. 3-hole paper saves having to punch holes later, and the sheet has a place to be filed when taken home. (An example of such a form for genealogical note-taking is the “Reference Family Data Sheet,” one of the forms in the book, Managing a Genealogical Project).

    Rule 2: Separate Sheets by Surname
    Genealogists can separate documents by the surname of the family to which they pertain. In other words, “Surname Books”, which are standard 3-hole notebooks, can be set up to hold the notes and documents which relate to one surname. One book would contain everything that is known about one surname, including those people who are ancestors, collaterals, or suspicious. At this level of collection it is not necessary to separate known ancestors from collaterals or suspicious persons. The important thing is that the person has the right surname and could be important to the project. As the notes are gathered, write the surname at the top of each page and devote an entire page to the notes for that surname or names connected with that surname. If a new surname of interest is encountered while you are in research, start a new sheet for the new surname. This simple separation of notes by surname will allow you to file any sheet of paper logically, and without having to recopy your notes when you get home from the place of research.

    Typically, genealogists find themselves sitting in front of a computer screen copying down notes from original records. Even if the genealogist was careful to copy all of the Johnson family records from one county, what happens sometimes is that another family surname pops up – something that was not expected. This happens frequently in the course of collecting genealogical records. The serious mistake is to mix these surnames on the same sheet of paper. If the Brown family is on the same sheet as the Johnson family, even though these two families were not related to each other, the only recourse later may be to use a pair of scissors to get the notes separated by the surname. Therefore, simply starting a new page when another surname is found will separate the surnames at the time the notes are first taken down.

    A family record mentioning several different surnames that married into the family could all be saved as part of the main surname. The surname book contains information about the families and individuals important to the project, not necessarily just the known relatives. This is a key element in storing references in this manner. The problem of what to do with non-relatives has been solved: treat them the same as the relatives at this level of collection. If later research reveals that a reference item is not part of the family at all, the sheet can be removed and discarded. But until then, the collection can contain any and all references to any surname of interest to the project.

    Now the rules begin to make sense. If the same sheet size is used — 3-hole, 8-1/2″ x 11″ notepaper — and all surnames are separated on different sheets, a system of collecting notes and documents will pay off. With these two rules alone, the note does not need to be stacked on top of a the pile at home — any new sheet can immediately go into a surname book as another page.

    Rule 3: Separate Surname Sheets by the Place of Origin
    Once the documents have been stored on the same sheet size and placed in the appropriate book for the surname, the next step is to break down the sheets by the place, or origin of the record to be saved. The logic behind this concept needs to be explained.

    There are three vital pieces of information every genealogist must know to pursue genealogical evidence: 1) a name, 2) a date, and 3) a place. With these three elements known, a treasure chest of information will be made available for further research. Of these three elements, the place is the one that tells you where to look for further information. The place of the event, such as the birthplace, place of death, place of marriage, place of residence, etc., is what a genealogist must know before a copy of that record can be obtained.

    We live in a record-keeping society. The jurisdiction that created the record is the place. That jurisdiction must be known before we can learn anything. If this fact is clear, then the idea of separating source material by the place is a logical step to take. Therefore, the many sheets of notes and documents pertaining to one surname can be further separated by the origin of the records. Experienced genealogists know that once the county of residence has been established, a treasure chest of information awaits in the courthouse, the local library, a funeral home, a cemetery, a local genealogical society, etc., all of which can provide much important information about a family that lived in that locality. That information cannot be found without first knowing where to look.

    Separating the sheets by the place is an easy task to control because virtually every single genealogical reference item will have a place attached to it. So, the top of the sheet should first show the surname for the record, followed by some designator for the place of origin. For example, one surname book could contain all the Johnsons in Iowa in one section and Ohio Johnsons in another section. If the Johnson family of interest started out with an immigrant to New Jersey, followed by migrations later to Ohio, then Indiana, then Iowa, etc., these states could be arranged in that particular order — which would tend to put the family reference material in loose chronological order for the time periods they were in a particular state. This method of collecting source material will place records for certain individuals in more than one place section if a person moved from state to state over the course of his life. Don’t worry about this yet — we are going to get all of these place-oriented records back when we create family group sheets — so get the surnames together in one book, then divide the book by the places of the records.

    The place designator can be broken down further. If there were many Johnsons in Ohio, it may be worthwhile to separate this section by county. The important thing about this method of organizing notes and documents is that when information about the Johnson family in Ohio is needed, a genealogist knows where to look for what is known about the family in that area. It is also the logical place to file a new piece of information.

    Rule 4: Give Every Sheet a Page Number
    The fourth rule is to simply give every page in the surname book a number. With the surname notebooks organized in sections for the places divided, each sheet can be given a number that allows for the retrieval and return of sheets to a proper position. A sheet number need only be a consecutive number starting with 1, adding numbers as sheets are accumulated.

    A full sheet number might be Johnson/OH/24, meaning the sheet belongs in the Johnson surname book in the Ohio section, and within that section it is page 24. This sheet number is assigned on a “first come – first served” basis, so there is no need to re-arrange sheets later to get 1790 records before 1870 records. Genealogists find and collect records in random order, so they can be filed randomly too. This allows for adding sheets within a section as the records are found.

    But, since the references have already been sorted by surname/place, the sheet number is simply a designator to put a sheet back into a known position, and it provides the means of indexing reference sheets later. The page number is a key element in this filing system. If an index is to be prepared in the future, or if a genealogist plans to use a computer, page numbers will be critically important.

    Back to the Pile of Paper
    Now that we have reviewed the four rules for taking new notes and setting up surname books, what about the mess you still have lying in the middle of your kitchen? Well, you will need the following items before you can get started:

    ● A good pair of scissors
    ● A bottle of Elmer’s glue (or some other kind of stick-um)
    ● Scotch tape
    ● Irish tape (which doesn’t have to be returned to its owner after you use it).
    ● A felt marker (for highlighting color, optional)
    ● A three-hole punch (check the thrift stores for bargains)
    ● Several paper/cardboard boxes, one for each surname you have
    ● Several 3-ring binders, at least one for each surname you have (check the thrift stores, any binder with silk-screened graphics can be easily wiped clean with an old T-shirt soaked in lacquer thinner)
    ● Set of sheet dividers for each binder
    ● 8-1/2″ x 11″ blank white paper (one ream should do it, to start)
    ● Knee pads
    ● A sign that warns your family, “fines are double in work areas”

    Start slow. Pick up a piece of paper from the pile. What surname does it relate to? Smith? Write “Smith” at the top of the page. What place does it relate to? Kansas? Write “KS” after Smith. Get a box and mark it “Smith”. Place the first sheet of paper in the Smith box. Now get another sheet of paper from the pile and do the same thing. New Surname? Get another box. Any sheet that is smaller than 8-1/2” x 11” in size should be glued or taped to a blank full-size sheet and labeled with the surname and place of origin.

    Along about the third piece of paper, you will probably discover that both Smith and Johnson are mentioned on that one, and if these two names did not marry each other or have some special connection, then you need to use your scissors, and cut the Smith portion apart from the Johnson portion. Now get two blank 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper. Stick or tape the Johnson note on one sheet and the Smith note on the other. Label the top of each sheet with the surname and place. Put them in a cardboard box for each surname.

    You will also discover some sheets early on that do not lend themselves to be cut up. These are the ones that mention several different surnames in the same paragraph. Cutting up these type of sheets won’t work well, so put these to one side so you can take them to the nearest photocopy machine. You will need to make as many copies as there are ancestral surnames mentioned. Remember, we are trying to separate all of our notes and documents by surname — if that means copying a resource more than once, that is what it will take.

    A marriage record is an example of two surnames mentioned that properly should go in two different surname books. You could make a copy of the marriage record so one could be filed with the groom’s surname, the other with the bride’s maiden surname . . . or you could simply make a quick note on a new sheet with the names, dates, places, and a cross-reference note that tells a reader that a full marriage document is filed in a different surname book. That cross-reference note is a full size sheet, and could take the place of another marriage document in another surname book.

    As you see the sheets building in the boxes, you should begin to see what is happening. You are building surname files, and isn’t it exciting! But even if you are not bubbling with excitement yet, this is what you will need to do to your current notes and documents to adopt this system. If you are willing to do it, you will love what happens when you have them all prepared this way.

    Once you have all the sheets of paper off the floor, your pile will not exist anymore. You now have several cardboard boxes with nifty stacks of 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper in them. So, grab the box of your choice (how about Johnson) and get a 3-ring binder that will hold all of them. Too many for one binder? Add more binders as necessary. Next, get someone to clean off the kitchen table. Now, go through the entire Johnson stack and make smaller stacks of the Johnson sheets for each place the Johnsons lived. Sheets that are not already 3-hole punched need to be punched now.

    Creating stacks for each place is sort of like correlating pages, and you could possibly involve other members of your family in this exercise. “OK, Don, I want you to collect all of the Johnsons in Iowa in your stack. And, Angie, you have Ohio.” If the family starts fighting over which state they get, promise that when they are done they will all get fed. (Which, of course, is something that none of the family has done together since you first got into genealogy).

    If you have sheets that are smaller than 8-1/2″ x 11″ then stick or tape them to a full size sheet and add the surname and place at the top of the page. If you have documents that are larger, you can fold them so they will go into a note book, or you can make or buy a “pocket” sheet. These can be purchased from a K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or perhaps in the school supplies area of a local supermarket. The purchased pocket sheets are pre-punched for 3-holes and have a pocket where an over-sized folded document can be inserted.

    If your pile includes original documents you may want to make photocopies of them, which would also allow for reducing the size, if necessary, to fit your notebooks. You can treat original photographs the same way — make copies for the notebooks. The originals should be stored with other documents or photos in an acid-neutral container kept in a dry place.

    Once you have gone through one surname and separated by place, each sheet in a surname/place stack can now be numbered. You can arrange these sheets any way you want at this time, but any new sheets will be added at the back and continue the numbering. If the first stack you take on is the Johnson/Iowa stack, start numbering the sheets IA-1, IA-2, IA-3, and so on. Do the same for each stack of sheets for each place you have separated. When this is done you can place all of the sheets in a 3-ring binder. Use the sheet dividers to separate the sheets by states/places.

    Any expression of wild and crazy celebration at this point is perfectly in order. You are permitted to take your shoes off, let your hair down, shout with glee, or hug and kiss any person who happens to be in the room. You are finished with the pile!

    In the next article, “Piles of Paper – Part 4,” we will show you how you can use the well-organized notes and documents file to create family group sheets that list every source you ever found for a family.

    Further reading:
    Managing a Genealogical Project, a book by William Dollarhide.
    – “Piles of Paper-Part 1,” an article by William Dollarhide.
    – “Piles of Paper-Part 2,” an article by William Dollarhide.
    A Genealogist’s InstaGuide: Dollarhide’s Rules and Daffern’s Laws.

    Piles of Paper – Part 2

    The following article was written by my good friend, by William Dollarhide.

    Dollarhide’s Genealogy Rule No. 1: Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestors as equals . . . even if some of them were in jail.

    In the article, “Piles of Paper, Part 1,” we left you with a large pile of paper in the middle of your kitchen. We identified three categories of paper, and tried to separate all of the paper into three piles: 1) The notes and documents; 2) The compiled sheets; and 3) the research aids. After removing the compiled sheets such as family group sheets and pedigree charts from the large pile, we were able to organize this category. The family group sheets can all go in one ring binder or file folder. The same is true for pedigree charts. In addition, we removed all of the research aids into another pile of paper, which was easily organized by location. For example, all of the papers related to research in Ohio went in a file folder marked “Ohio,” which seemed to work rather well.

    But you still have the first category, Notes and Documents, which is still a very large pile of paper. In this pile are notes and documents on everyone you have collected. You have your paternal side of the family as well as the maternal side of the family in there. This is the main cause of your piles of paper in the first place, and will take some special treatment. But, before we take on this awesome task, let’s define the reasons that are causing this category to be so difficult to organize.

    Two Problems
    1. We have as our goal the job of identifying families. We are taught very early that a family group sheet is our worksheet and everything we do should be based on the family group. The fact is, we do not start with a family group sheet — we start with genealogical events for individuals. The reason so many genealogist’s notes and documents need help is that they are trapped into a “family oriented” way of thinking. Perhaps a better way of thinking is to free yourself from families and develop a “surname oriented” filing system. I will attempt to walk you through the process of changing from a “family system” to a “surname system” for the care and preservation of your notes and documents.

    To explain, let’s forget about families for a moment. Let’s assume that the genealogical events for individuals – which are found in the notes and documents – precede the work of filling in a family group sheet. And, if that is true, then the first papers that need to be organized are not the family sheets, but the notes and documents that are used to compile the family group sheets.

    Organizing family group sheets, as you already know, is not the problem. The problem is finding that marriage record you know you have . . . you know when and where you found it the first time . . . you even remember the color of the walls of the library, the microfilm reader you were using, the people who were in the room at the time, and what you had for lunch that day — you just can’t remember where you put that darned marriage record! I will propose a method that will allow you to find any marriage, any birth, any death, or any residence event for any person. And you will be able to do it in seconds.

    2. We gather genealogical information on more people than just our immediate ancestors. As a person born with the name Dollarhide, I was born curious about where that name came from. Today, I collect any person I can with the name, believing that we are probably related. Any genealogist with an unusual name in their background knows about this — we collect a lot of facts about a lot of unknown extra people simply because they have the right name. Virtually everything we collect as genealogists can be associated with three types of people in which we have an interest, known or unknown. Therefore, the notes and documents that you have collected will have sheets of paper for these three types of people:

    A. Ancestors. Of course we are interested in our ancestors, and any piece of paper that gives the names of an ancestor is something we want to save, however slight.

    B. Collaterals. These are people who are the brothers and sisters of our ancestors, plus their descendants. They are important to us because understanding their genealogy may lead to our own lineage. Therefore, we usually are interested in saving every instance where a known collateral’s name is written down somewhere.

    C. Suspicious. This may be the largest group of people we collect. We are always finding some person with the right name who lived in the right place and in the right time period. This means the unknown person is highly suspicious of being an ancestor, or at least closely related.

    Because of the nature of genealogical research, these three types of people cause us to collect much more paper than just our ancestors. We don’t want to lose contact with these people because they may turn out to be an ancestor, so we save every sheet of paper, hence, our paper files grow and grow and grow.

    Solving the Paper Collecting Problem
    There is a solution to the paper-collecting problem. Since we collect notes and documents for ancestors and collaterals, and because we add extra people with the same surname because we think they might be related, then why not create a well-organized database of information just for the notes and documents? Instead of saving notes and documents by family, we could save notes and documents by surname. Hey! That means you could save notes and documents on anyone! It also means you might be able to find a record when you want it.

    More importantly, if you start thinking about “surnames” instead of “families” as the way you control the paper in your notes and documents file, you have some new options. For example, what if you treated the ancestors, collaterals, and suspicious people as equals? What effect would that have on your note taking? If you sorted your notes and documents by surnames instead of families, you could create a database of information that was not dependent on a family relationship at all. Remember, the notes and documents happen before a family group sheet happens. Therefore, a surname is a unifying factor which brings together people who are ancestors, collaterals, or suspicious. It also frees you from a family-oriented filing system.

    There is one other important unifying factor in genealogy, and that is the place where someone lived. For example, by collecting and then sorting all Dollarhides who ever lived in North Carolina, regardless of their relationship to me, I would have a database of Dollarhide notes that would be fairly easy to organize. And, I would be able to create family group sheets from that database much easier. So how do we go about creating a surname-oriented database? We do it by following some simple rules.

    In next article, “Piles of Paper – Part 3,” I will present four rules for saving notes and documents.

    For Further Reading: