naturalization records

Naturalization and Denization records in genealogy research

As a body of records, naturalization and denization records are of considerable value, but, until recently, were very difficult to access.

Comparable in many ways to census records, naturalization records are a mine of priceless information and include such items as place and date of birth, foreign and current places of residence, marital status, names, ages and places of birth of other family members, occupation, port and date of entry into the U.S., and more. Since any court of record can process naturalization papers, records relating to naturalization can be found in a bewildering variety of courts.

There are two publications that can help untangle the mess that can be locating naturalization records: Guide to Naturalization Records in the United States and Denizations and Naturalizations in the British Colonies in America, 1607-1775. Continue reading…

immigrants on ship, passenger list

How to find your ancestor without a passenger list

No Passenger List?

No official U.S. government passenger lists exist prior to 1820. What miscellaneous lists that have survived and been transcribed or published cover only a fraction of the immigrants who arrived in the Americas before 1820. If you do not possess a passenger list for your immigrant ancestor, are you at the end of your hunt? Not necessarily.

Let’s say that you have traced your Scottish immigrant ancestor to the city of Baltimore in 1816. You are hoping to continue your research abroad, but you don’t have a passenger list stating the name of your forebear, his/her ports and dates of embarkation and disembarkation, and so forth. What can you turn to in place of the missing list? The identity of the ship that disembarked in Baltimore close to the time your ancestor was living there. Continue reading…

south carolina

Early South Carolina History

Editor’s Note: Many of the titles hyperlinked or referenced in this article will be on sale for 24 hours, beginning December 1 and ending at 11:59pm EST, 2015, at Genealogical.com, the parent company of this blog. If your ancestors were part of South Carolina’s storied colonial, Revolutionary, or early national period, this is a great opportunity to buy high quality reference materials, written by leading experts in their respective fields. 

In 1663, England’s King Charles II ceded the Carolinas to Anthony Ashley Cooper and seven other proprietors who had supported the Stuarts in ending the Cromwellian Revolution and returning Charles II to the throne. Although the Crown did not divide the Carolinas into two quasi-self-governing regions until 1691, British colonists established the first permanent settlement in what would become South Carolina in 1670.

The border dispute between North and South Carolina was not settled until 1772. Prior to this North Carolina had issued more than 1,000 grants for land in an area that is now South Carolina but which was then thought to be in the North Carolina counties of Bladen, Anson, Mecklenburg, and Tryon. The records of these grants–plats and warrants for the most part–form the basis of North Carolina Land Grants in South Carolina. The data provided includes the name of the grantee, the file, entry or grant number, the relevant book and page of the original record books, the location of the grant, the names of owners of adjoining property, and the dates of the various instruments. Continue reading…

jamestown, early virginia immigrants, virginia company

Unprecedented Biographical Dictionary of Early Virginia Immigrants

Martha McCartney uses recent historical scholarship as she sets the stage in her remarkable book, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary. We’re focusing on this unprecedented trove of information, formatted as an easy to use biographical dictionary of early Virginia immigrants, and sharing an excerpt from the book. 

Soon after the fateful landing of 1607, thousands of immigrants flocked to Jamestown and surrounding areas on both sides of the James and York rivers, where they struggled to maintain a foothold. This book, Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635: A Biographical Dictionary, brings together a remarkable variety of primary sources concerning every significant detail known about colony’s earliest European inhabitants. Moreover, maps provided here identify the sites at which Virginia’s earliest plantations were located and enable genealogists and students of colonial history to link most of the more than 5,500 people included in this volume to the cultural landscape.

From the earliest records relating to Virginia, we learn the basics about many of these original colonists: their origins, the names of the ships they sailed on, the names of the “hundreds” and “plantations” they inhabited, the names of their spouses and children, their occupations and their position in the colony, their relationships with fellow colonists and Indian neighbors, their living conditions as far as can be ascertained from documentary sources, their ownership of land, the dates and circumstances of their death, and a host of  fascinating details about their personal lives – all gathered together in the handy format of a biographical dictionary. In all, Ms. McCartney’s biographical dictionary provides annotated sketches of more than 5,500 persons linking the majority of them to a specific locality (a “hundred” or plantation) and a precise timeframe between 1607 and 1635. Continue reading…

Jacobite, Scottish Highlands, Scots, Scotland

Jacobite Rebellion & Immigration to Colonial America

The following post, “Jacobitism & American Colonial Immigration,” is by renowned author and expert David Dobson. In the following, Mr. Dobson discusses the Jacobite movement, and the impact of its failure in immigration to Colonial America. 

Jacobite Rebellion & Immigration to Colonial America

What was Jacobitism and what relevance did it have for immigration to colonial America? Jacobitism was basically a movement committed to restoring the House of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland. It originated when King James II of England, who was simultaneously King James VII of Scotland, abandoned his kingdoms and fled to France in 1689. His hurried departure was prompted by the arrival in England of William of Orange, later to reign with his wife as William and Mary. The dual monarchs were succeeded by Queen Anne and thereafter followed the ruling House of Hanover. Continue reading…