Recently, I’ve made a few corrections and comments on previous posts, and I’ve gathered some here for your convenience, followed by a few suggestions so that you may get more out of Clark House Historian.
Lesen Sie Kurrent?
I’m not sure how I forgot this, but if you are really interested in reading or writing Kurrent, I highly recommend the 28-page A Guide to Writing the old German “Kurrent” Script, by Margarete Mücke, available in English as a free download at her website Ms. Mücke’s explanations of the Hows and Whys of the letters and their use in Kurrent are clear and thorough. If you read German and are interested in the old writing styles, you may find the rest of her website fascinating.
Spelling in the 19th-century: surnames
Something worth remembering when reading 19th-century (and earlier) documents, is that early spelling varied widely, even (or especially) for family names. One example, from the post on a “new” Jonathan M. Clark document, is Barnet Clow’s surname. It is found on other Wisconsin documents variously as CLOW or CLOUGH, and back in his Dutch- speaking home of Greene Co., New York, as CLOW, CLOUGH, CLAW, KLAUW, and KLAW. But it’s all the same family and surname.
(And if you think that’s confusing, I also have ancestors who migrated to the southern states and territories in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries. And holy cow!, no one on those southern censuses spells given names or surnames the same way twice. And some of the name spellings are amazingly…creative, to say the least.)
Spelling in the 19th-century: long-S
In the recent post on a historic German cursive style and its relevance for American researchers, we discussed the various 19th-century forms of the letter S, including the long-S, as also found the U.S. Constitution:
Long-S was the issue on a “new” Jonathan Clark land patent no. 19687, where this phrase caused some confusion:
The mystery word in this phrase is “Assignee,” so the line reads “Barnet Clow, Assignee of Jonathan M. Clark.” This is a common designation on federal land patents. Essentially, it means that someone (in this case JMC) got to the parcel first and, temporarily, had rights to the land. Then, before receiving the final government paperwork, he decides to “assign” his patent to someone else, in this case Barnet Clow. In the same fashion—but on a larger scale—the big land investor-speculators like William A. Prentiss made a fortune by going to newly-opened federal lands, getting to the land office (with cash in hand) before almost everyone else, going through the preliminary steps to buy many, many parcels from the government, and then—before receiving the official patent and title to the parcels—”assigning” the patents/parcels to other final purchasers. Sometimes there would be a mortgage involved between the the original buyer and the assignee, sometimes the assignee would pay a higher price to the first purchaser to get the parcel assigned to them. This is exactly how JMC got the patent for his second 80-acre parcel that comprises half the historic Clark farm in Mequon; he was the Assignee of William A. Prentiss on that 1843 land purchase.
Go ahead, click the links!
Pretty much every post on Clark House Historian has one or more clickable links. Links are usually identified by the pale green color of the words (not my favorite color—to say the least—but I’m not able to change it at the moment) or, in the case of photos and other graphics, just click on the image itself to go to the linked file.
Either way, do click the links. They usually open in a new browser window and connect to important additional material such as a previous post, a source document, a pdf, a map, a photo or other illustration, or a relevant website. Most of the links are to higher-resolution files than those in the body of the blog post. If you click and open the link, you’ll often get a very high quality image or pdf that you can zoom in and scroll around on for close inspection. This is handy for photos, and also for maps and other old documents, especially if they were originally large or filled with lots of small type or handwriting.
Clicking on links is a way to connect more completely with the source material and additional supporting information and media. And since this is a blog, and not a dissertation, I often use links in place of footnotes to illustrate and support my points. So please click the links!
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Questions, we love questions. And comments, too…
If you have questions or comments about a post, about a Mequon-area ancestor or historical event, or research resources and strategies, I’d love to hear from you. There are two ways to do that through the blog.
If you’d like to comment publicly, just scroll down to the end of a blog post to the words “Leave a Reply.” Below that is a box labeled “Enter your comment here.” Once you start typing your comment, the box will expand to look like this:
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Click on the word CONTACT. That opens a new window with a comment form that looks and functions much like the “Post a Comment” illustrated above, but the CONTACT form goes directly to my Clark House Historian’s email inbox. I will reply to you privately via return email (it may take a day or two). If your question might interest our readers, I may blog about it in a future post. I will ask your permission if the topic or reply might include personally identifying information. Otherwise, I may write a post that does not include your name, but begins with “A reader was wondering…” or something similar.
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