Friday, April 24, 2009

A couple days off...

Well, with the first week of the blog behind us I took a couple days off to get caught up with some reading and to think about some new things to talk about. There really is a lot going on in the gene-world. I read two great articles on impressment and seamen protection certificates this week (again on the NGS website, hint hint for those of you who still haven't joined) The first was by Ruth Priest Dixon called Merchant Seamen Records: Genealogical Use and Availability" and the second was by John P. Deeben called "Maritime Proofs of Citizenship: The Essential Evidence behind Seamen's Protection Certificates, 1792-1875". There are two ancestors of mine who are said to have been impressed during the War of 1812 and I've been doing some research on trying to prove the family lore. Henry Sargent of Kittery, ME is said to have been "impressed" (as the unsourced page states) and sent to Dartmoor Prison until the end of the war. The same paper says that Charles Thomas Cazaiette Stevens was impressed and taken aboard a British Man-of-War and later spent time in a prison in Bristol, England. Henry's plight seems like it would be easier to prove since there are more specific records to search for, while Charles' situation is a little different and not as specific (just as a side-note, I've spent a little time researching British POW prisons during the War of 1812 period and was able to confirm the existence of a prison used to house American POWs in Bristol, called Stapleton Prison, however, no one at the Archives in Kew or with the Bristol Historical Society can tell whether records from the prison during this time still exist). In any case, learning about these protection certificates was really interesting and something that everyone with a mariner in their ancestry should take a look at.

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