History… What Were Fugitive Slave Laws? Sanctuary Cities?

America’s history of dealing in human cargo dates to its early years as an emerging colonial empire. Our first president, George Washington owned slaves but today it’s hard for us to understand how anyone could force another person into slavery. There is absolutely no defense of it. None.

The first fugitive slave law was passed in 1793. It was enacted to solve the problem of slaves escaping to states that prohibited slavery. The “owner” of the slave need only apply to the authorities for a warrant to have his “property” returned.

The institution of slavery was appalling to the northern states so they enacted local laws that prohibited state officials from assist in the capturing of runaways. This was very much like today’s sanctuary cities for illegal aliens.

By 1850, due to pressure from slave states, a new law demanded federal officials enforce the law. In 1861, the Civil War broke out. The rest is history and it’s not pretty.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG

 

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Slavery… What Was the Freedmen’s Bureau?

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States government created a department whose main concern was to look after the well-being of former slaves. Whether it was naive or ignorant, it was thought that one year would be enough to attend to the freedman’s needs. It wasn’t. There were tens of thousands of freed slaves who had been kept against their will, unable to learn how to read or write and unable to navigate the treacherous waters of freedom, especially considering the bitter prejudice that existed in the south.

The aim of the Freedman’s Bureau was to provide for the maintenance and education of freed slaves and monitor their conditions of employment and administer justice. It was a corrupt, dysfunctional mess. That’s what happens when those in charge use a government bureau for their own political motives. The power of the Freedmen’s Bureau must have been vast. Besides the above-mentioned duties, the bureau controlled land that had been confiscated during the war. In 1872, the bureau disbanded but not until after it did a lot of damage. In the end, it had the reputation of doing “more harm than good.”

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

History… Where Did the Term Freelance Come From?

Free lance has its origins in Germany. It was a military concept of being a free land trooper, meaning that a soldier sold his military service to the highest bidder. (There were other reasons for service but money was usually the prime motivator.) During the second half of the Middle Ages, free lance soldiers were prevalent in Europe, especially in Italy and France. Mercenary, a term that brings us images of pirates, is another name for these free lancers. Soldier of fortune is another.

Later, politicians who did not affiliate with any particular party were known as freelancers. Today, the term is most commonly used to refer to the writing profession. A journalist who writes for a variety of news sites and magazines, without formal employment is called a freelancer.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

Tracing French-Canadian Ancestry… How’s That DNA Test Working for You?

My husband’s mother came from a colorful line of French Immigrants dating back to the 1600’s, when brave people sailed from France to New Canada. Funny thing is, he doesn’t identify with it. And because I’m the one doing the research (and I have a bit of French ancestry) I’m the one who is developing the bond.

The French genealogical community is very colorful and culturally rich. Whether it’s from the descendants who remain in Canada after generations or those who reside in Louisiana’s Acadiana in Lafayette, the determination to keep the culture alive suffers no boredom or apathy. I am impressed by the details kept through the years by the Catholic church. Those details are found on genealogical websites, (ancestry.com geni.com, etc.) and include pictures of graves, churches, homes and home sites as well as wedding pictures. In Louisiana, the Cajun community is one of the most active social groups I’ve ever seen. Talking about sticking together, they do. The Cajuns in Louisiana are the descendants of the French who were exiled from Canada by the English in 1765 and years following. The name Nova Scotia is British but it was an Acadian homeland before that. Many of New France’s descendants are also found in Quebec.

Did you get your DNA tested and if so, how’s that working out for you? Did you find that you had the French ancestry that you expected? Was it more or less so? And what else did you find? Any surprises? And did you come across any cousin matches? If so, were they friendly? It seems like an association with the Cajun communities in the United States and Canada would be a genealogical treasure. When my brother-in-law, with his dark, curly hair, picks up the mandolin and plays it like he’s been playing for a thousand years, I become more determined. One of their French ancestors was wild on the violin. A DNA test will convince them of the need to acknowledge and explore further, the culturally rich heritage of their French-Canadian ancestry.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family. Available here:

Secret Genealogy:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/148407579X

Secret Genealogy IV:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500756105

Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HJ622DU

Secret Genealogy VI: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY35VCP

They Might Be Indians But They Are to be Treated as Runaway Slaves…

During the early 1800’s, when Andrew Jackson (the Indians called him Sharp Knife) worked his way into the presidency, he worked on relocating the Seminole Indians from Florida. The end game was the removal of all Seminole Indians from Florida. They were to exchange their land for land in the west. They were offered money, blankets for the men and frocks for the women. Woe to any Seminole who had an African ancestor. They were to be treated as runaway slaves. It did not matter if the taking of a mother or father, tore the family apart. Like the one-drop rule in other states, the white colonial relocators believed that anyone with any black ancestry should be enslaved.

Eventually, after several “Seminole Wars,” there were Seminoles who emigrated west as requested. They took cash and offered peace. But for many years the Florida Seminoles fought successfully. While the men fought the military, the women and children found refuge in the thick Florida jungles. Today, the descendants of the Seminole who resisted, can still be found in Florida, especially in the Florida Everglades.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG

Sanctuaries, Southern Borders, Presidents, Generals…

In today’s political climate, many are appalled at what’s going on in our government. People feel, rightly so, that things have gotten out of control and that politicians are running lawless and making up government positions for their cronies. But it is not unusual for presidents to customize their staff and nor is it unusual in other government departments. In 1824, John C. Calhoun was the Secretary of War. In March of that year, he created The Bureau of Indian Affairs. He created it as an agency and made it a division of his war department. He did this without approval from Congress.

Seven years earlier, tensions were growing between the Seminole Indians and white colonists along the border of Florida and Georgia. The Seminoles were providing sanctuary for runaway slaves. This tension along the southern border gave Secretary of War Calhoun, President James Monroe and General Andrew Jackson, what they felt was justification for war that resulted in the taking of land from the Seminole. Today it’s sanctuary cities and building a southern wall. It’s true what they say, history repeats itself. Again and again.

Ever wonder if you have Native American ancestry? It’s not an easy route, tracing American Indian ancestry. But there are things you can try. But first, you need to know where to look and what not to waste time on. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105 and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns, http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

 

 

Those Sexy French Housewives of Yesteryear…

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend lived as a nanny for a doctor, his wife and five kids. The doctor and his wife were young and lively and liked to throw parties. The doctor asked my friend the nanny if she and I would like to dress up like French maids and serve drinks at their upcoming party. We had just turned eighteen and were flattered at the invitation. We had been Maids a Milking in the senior play (The Twelve Days of Christmas) so had pretty blue dresses we’d sewn together with white aprons. We adapted them and pulled off looking like the French maids the doctor ordered.

Times have changed, haven’t they? I mean really, that was sexist, wasn’t it? To ask that of two innocent young girls? But those were the days of Playboy Bunnies and no one thought anything sinister. It was all in fun. But why French? And who started that anyway? Did World War II play into it? Is it because the French are rumored to tolerate mistresses? And of course, those mistresses would be French women. Maids maybe? Making a cliché out of the sexy French maid? Let me tell you what the encyclopedia tells me about French women, particularly housewives. We can all learn something.

The encyclopedia that I’m going to quote from (Grolier Encyclopedia, 1956, Volume IX, pg. 40) was put together, during the years before, after and during World War II. Here is what their researcher discovered about French housewives:

One feature of the French character is much the same in all parts – they are all hard workers and their love of independence makes them thrifty. French housewives are good managers and can make a little go a long way. And the French woman is her husband’s adviser and partner; often she understands his business; often she carries on a business herself. In all domestic economy hers is the deciding voice. The manual laborer’s wife does not have to ask him for money; she takes his wages and allows him so much out of them.

Now that… is a strong woman. And strong women don’t think they’re sexy, they know it.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

Book Four, Ellie: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWVNCTS

Book Five, Rose Thorn: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X1GN58T

Book Six, Mississippi Wild Blue: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2WWMR

Book Seven, Dandelion Lane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WPHMWG