President’s Message for August 2022

The webmaster has been busy this past month adding additional volumes of the Nassau Genealogist to our online collection. Recent additions include biographies, obituaries, newspaper excerpts, several articles on the Goodbread family. These all came from volume V of TNG which were published back in 1998. Please take a look at them when you get the chance if you have Nassau County ancestors. The Nassau County Genealogist: Online Table of Contents

Too often genealogists think military records are only there to provide information on your ancestors military service. They are there for that, but as we like to emphasize, they often can provide the genealogical record you need but just cannot find elsewhere. Pension files are often what we like to point researchers to. I discovered a Bible record (or a non existent town record) in my 5th Great-Grandfather Zebulon Crane’s Revolutionary Pension record. It wasn’t even for his family, it was for his wife’s family, but that record helped verify the relationships which I thought were correct but could never positively prove. This month I accidently discovered another source of military records, the Southern Claims Commission Files. If you know me and my family you realize that I would never have need of these for my own family records, My ancestor’s are just a bunch of Yankees that go back to the Mayflower and French-Canadian back to the founding of Quebec. But I was working on updating my Tennessee Genealogy website where I have had an index of these records for Tennessee researchers to use for over a decade. It piqued my curiosity if any Nassau County residents back in the 1870s attempted to make a claim, and if so, what sort of records would be hidden in them? For those who are not familiar with the Southern Claims Commission, this commission was setup several years after the Civil War ended and it enabled Southerners to make a claim on the United States Government for property loss (not including slaves) by action of the United States Military during the Civil War. As in all things given by the government, there were conditions. The Southerner had to:

  1. hold American citizenship
  2. reside in a state that seceded
  3. could document loyalty to the federal government throughout the conflict
  4. had suffered official confiscation of goods

The first Nassau Claim that I am placing on our website is that for John Spicer Braddock. John was deceased when his property was confiscated, so his widow, Sarah (Higginbotham) Braddock applied to the Claims Commission as sole executor of his estate. Part of the process of awarding these payments were for the Commission to interrogate the applicant using a series of questions. These were called Standing Interrogations and they provide a unique window into the conditions of Nassau County immediately following the end of the Civil War and during the Reconstruction years. The Standing Interrogation for Sarah (Higginbotham) Braddock has been placed online so far, along with the will of John Spicer Braddock which was found in the commission case file. There are more pieces to this claim that still need to be added, but those will come later this month.

Our speaker this month is John Strasburg who will virtually provide a presentation on the various US military records available. Come join us at the Fernandina Branch Library at 7pm on 16 August 2022!

2 thoughts on “President’s Message for August 2022”

  1. Hi Mr. Partridge
    John Strasburg was SO interesting.
    It was so dark in there I couldn’t see to take notes.
    Please send his resource page, as he mentioned, to me as soon as possible.
    Thanks for all you do for history fans like me.

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