Using Business Research in Genealogy

Robinson: Welcome to Using Business Research in Genealogy My name is Blake Robinson and I am the Florida Collection and Outreach Librarian for the State Library of Florida So some of the responsibilities I have are outreach to people all over the state and all over the country I also run our Florida special collection of rare books and maps and other treasures And I’m also one of the reference librarians, and so if you or your patrons send us an email or give us a phone call, I’ll be one of the librarians who helps you out Goodman: And I’m Josh Goodman I’m the Staff Historian or the Archives Historian at the State Archives of Florida We do share a common research facility with the State Library of Florida, and we focus, whereas the library mainly focuses on published resources focusing on Florida’s history and culture, we focus primarily on unpublished manuscript sources from government records and also records from private sources as well And my job is very similar to Blake’s in that we do outreach all over the state and essentially find ways to put the resources of the State Archives into your hands and those of your patrons to benefit their research and interest in Florida’s history Robinson: All right, thanks, Josh OK, so today we’re going to talk, give a little bit of an overview of our services and what we do We’re going to talk about some library resources in doing business genealogy research Josh is going to talk about some of the archival and other resources for that kind of research, and we’ll leave time at the end for questions Now if you have a question at any point during the presentation, just let us know and we will do our best to address it All right, so I’m going to go ahead and start with city directories This is a really important business genealogy resource It’s essential in fact You can find business owners, employees and a whole lot more with it It’s similar to phonebooks but it’s more powerful in certain respects because you can search by name, so a company name, owner name, employee name You can search by address, so business or residential And this is often called the street guide in many directories And you can search by category as well This is mostly for businesses And this is going to be similar to your Yellow Pages And in later editions you can search by phone number as the phone became more prominent in Florida society So I want to check out an example today Because directories are so important, we’re going to move to the 1927-1928 Tallahassee directory This is the front cover and you can see it’s got lots of advertisements on there Now in, in our directory here we have an entry for Elijah Adams who worked at the Hotel Floridian in downtown Tallahassee He lived on West St. Augustine Street himself, and he was also the Chief Bellman as well So let’s learn a little bit more about the hotel that he worked at All right, so here we have the Hotel Floridian at the corner of Call Street and on Monroe And we have here that the manager was named M.J. Watts And you can also see here that there’s the Hotel Floridian Co or Company, and this may be the parent company of the Hotel Floridian And as you notice they have the same exact address So we found out about the manager M.J. Watts so let’s find out a little bit more about him All right, here in bold we have his name, Minor J. Watts, and as we learned earlier he was the manager of the Hotel Floridian And we’ve got this, we’ve got this entry here on that line, RDO So what does that mean? Well, it means Resides With Householder, ditto, so the same So basically it means that he lives at the same address as the entry above So we see on the first line Burner Watts who lives at 457 West Brevard Avenue, and that “H” means householder, so primary member of the household So we started with not very much information at all about this hotel and the people who work there,

but now we’ve learned quite a bit So let’s continue our search All right, census records are also a major genealogy resource, and these are available largely on Ancestry and FamilySearch So even if your library doesn’t subscribe to Ancestry, you can still get to a lot of these records on FamilySearch as well Now these are important because they give the snapshot of a household at a particular moment So let’s keep going with our example All right, so here we go We’ve got the 1930 federal census, and on the first line we’ve got Minor J. Watts, who is the head of household in this case On the second line gives his father’s and mother’s birthplace which are in Georgia and his own birthplace as well And the third line gives his occupation as a steward in the hotel industry He’s a wage or salary worker and he’s gainfully employed So he’s likely the same person as in Tallahassee, although we would have to do more research to absolutely confirm that He moved to Birmingham, Alabama, sometime between 1927-28 and 1930 So between the city directory and the census, we were able to do some research to find out more about this person Let’s talk about a few other resources as well Gazetteers are pretty important They’re similar to city directories, but they have a statewide focus They often list cities in alphabetical order and then by names of business owners in those cities And you can often find other miscellaneous information listed in there such as the names of state officials You can also find those in the Secretary of State reports that are part of the State Library collections, and Josh is going to talk a little bit more about that as well We’ve also got some manufacturer directories as well at the State Library They’re similar to gazetteers and they have a statewide focus just like them, but they’re organized by county or industry So one of the things I learned while I was doing research for this particular presentation, in the 1943-44 Directory of Florida Manufacturers which you see there on your right, at that time there were eight companies in Florida that made potato chips and similar food specialties So oftentimes these kinds of resources can supplement city directories and census records and other things like that and give you a different perspective on business genealogy in Florida Now these are available at the State Library We’ve got a pretty sizable run of them and also a handful of other libraries around the state Next I want to talk about newspapers These are a valuable source about historic businesses You can find articles about businesses and their owners themselves and their employees so you can find out about special events You can find out about openings and closings You can find ads in the newspapers from local and statewide businesses, learn a little bit about how they were communicating about their products with the public, also obituaries for important business figures as well So it’s a very handy research or resource and the newspapers can do a whole lot more besides that So the question is where do we find them? Where do we get newspapers? There’s a few places that you can go At the State Library we have a large microfilm of major newspapers around the state such as the Florida Times Union in Jacksonville and the Miami Herald And we also have a large collection of even rarer newspaper microfilm The major newspapers, we will lend them to your library if patrons need them while doing research And some of our rarer newspaper we don’t lend, but they are available here at the State Library for in-house use Many of those papers are also available on the Florida Digital Newspaper Library and Chronicling America These are large digital newspaper databases that are run by the University of Florida and the Chronicling America or the Library of Congress respectively The State Library recently digitized a run of newspapers for the Monticello News in Monticello

about 45 minutes east of Tallahassee, and that was from I believe 1926-1945 And that, by digitizing that collection we were able to provide a lens on life in north Florida, rural north Florida that was very difficult to access before The last thing I want to mention is we also have onsite only the Newspapers.com Southeast Collection Database And so you can come to the State Library and you can do research with a number of titles from not only Florida but also neighboring states that may have reported news about Florida Next I’d like to talk about local histories These are county and city and business histories for all 67 counties in Florida They’re great for highly localized information such as who owned a business and what were the industries in the area Different types of local histories include city and county histories so we have a large collection of county histories And these county histories often mention businesses in the community And there are a number of histories that are by or about businesses as well And we have, many of these are available through interlibrary loan from our circulating collection So if your patrons need to get their hands on them, that’s usually possible Next thing I want to talk about are Sanborn maps These are fire insurance maps created by the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company, and they were designed to assess fire risk, and in addition to that they show business locations in particular points in time relative to other businesses And you can see on this map you’ve got some pink buildings and green buildings and yellow buildings and blue buildings, and these are all different levels of fire risk So these are, these are essential for doing business genealogy and figuring out where businesses were physically situated in real time There’s a couple places that you can go for them One source is the University of Florida They have a sizable collection of Sanborn maps that are in full color, and those are available to the public throughout the world And at the State Library we also have a large collection of Sanborn maps, and that’s available through one of our databases from the Library of Congress And that is available onsite only, but it is a large collection It’s a very large collection So if you are doing intensive research in Sanborn maps, it may be worth your while to visit us I’ve got a few other sources I want to talk about These are not as common as some of the ones I just mentioned, but they’re great for more specialized information So we have a large collection of magazines and several of these are devoted to Florida businesses and give profiles of notable business owners so an example of this is Florida Trend which is the major business magazine in Florida And I believe it’s been published since about the ’50’s or ’60’s so there’s a sizable run there We also have a large collection of trade journals, and so these are arranged by industry or occupation So an example of one is Florida Realty Journey which I believe that was the name in the ’40’s and ’50’s, and it’s now called Florida Realtor which you may be familiar with And again that kind of magazine is going to have biographical information about business owners and realtors and agents and things like that Also some of the academic journals are going to have articles about notable businesses in Florida One of the major statewide historical journals in Florida is called the Florida Historical Quarterly And there are also some regional journals that are academic as well such as the one that comes to mind right now is Tequesta which is the South Florida historical journal And the last thing I want to talk about is the State Library vertical and ephemera file And these are two companion files that provide a wealth of information

So the vertical file is literally a giant file cabinet full of newspaper articles and pamphlets and all sorts of supplemental information for doing research, copies of important newspaper articles So it’s a major research aid when people come into the State Library And if you or your patrons ever have a question about any particular topic, we can provide information out of that file The other one is the ephemera file, and this is a file of things that are often otherwise thrown away, so pamphlets and brochures and programs from shows and things like that, things that usually don’t last very long And we have many of these I believe hundreds of them are available on FloridaMemory, which is our online outreach site And Josh is going to talk a little bit about that in his part of the presentation so I’m going to go ahead and turn things over to him Goodman: All right, thanks, Blake And actually a good point to start out with before I start getting into the archival material is why don’t we take a quick look at how, where that is stored on floridamemory.com I know most of you folks out there have had the opportunity to use FloridaMemory before And a top level search on FloridaMemory if there’s a particular business that you’re interested in, if we happen to have anything on that business, then it should pop up in a top level search But just to go to specifically that bit that Blake was just mentioning, FloridaMemory does digitize parts of the State Library’s ephemera and selected documents collection and that can be found right here on our Collections page under Selected Documents There’s a number of different things in here This is … anytime that there are documents in a collection where we haven’t really digitized the entire collection like we have with the other things that are on the Collections page, but we just wanted to take pieces out of it for some purpose If there’s something particularly interesting or something with particularly strong local historical value or educational value, then we will digitize it and put it in Selected Documents So I’m just going to, just to give you an idea of what kinds of things might be in here from specific companies, I’m going to search for the word “company” to see what pops up So you can see we’ve got a few different kinds of documents that you might find associated with companies We’ve got stock certificates here, notes, bonds, that sort of thing, brochures relating to particular companies You can see we’ve got one here that was directed at potential employees, that sort of thing So you just, you just never know what you’re going to find in here This is definitely a good place to go, especially if you’re looking at a company that existed in the late 19th, early 20th century, which is where the majority of the ephemera that we’ve digitized for this collection comes from, so definitely a good resource All right, so let’s jump back into our PowerPoint and let’s talk a little bit about some unpublished sources Most everything that Blake just talked about are excellent published resources that we can use to trace historical businesses But there are a number of archival records that are produced during the course of a business’s life that may not have ever actually made it into publication, or maybe they’re just the raw materials for publication And the first thing that comes to mind in that regard is Articles of Incorporation Now that is sometimes we hear these referred to as corporate charters or letters patent for a business or something like that And what it is, is corporations of course have a number of different rights and obligations and responsibilities under the law, and in order for a business to operate officially as a corporation to sue and be sued, to have a bank account as an entity and not necessarily operating under the names of the different business individuals associated with it, they have to file They have to file an application to become a corporation And that has, that process has existed for as long as Florida has been a territory It’s been recorded in different ways over time, but starting in the 1870’s the law prescribed a way for corporations to be established through Florida’s Secretary of State You would apply Everybody who wanted to be, wanted to sort of incorporate themselves as a company and have stock in that company, they would submit an application for Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State’s Office here, and that would be approved and recorded And so those Articles of Incorporation are a great source of information for historic businesses because

there was a lot of stuff that they had to put in there in order for the corporation to be legally created The names of the incorporators needed to be in there So if you’re looking for a particular ancestor and their involvement with a particular business or maybe they founded a particular business or had a product or something, these Articles of Incorporation can help you confirm that because one of the first things they typically list is the names of the people who were doing the incorporating The name of the incorporation and its primary location of business is also typically included on an Articles of Incorporation entry as well as the names of the principal stockholders who did not necessarily have to be the same people as the official incorporators Sometimes you would get stockholders who would just kind of be giving money into the venture, but they might not necessarily be an officer of the corporation You also get to learn a little bit about the purpose of the company And this can be really interesting not just for genealogists who have ancestors who were involved in historic companies, but it can also be really good for local historians because what companies set out to do and what they actually do are not necessarily the same thing For example, there’s a company that was established in my hometown in Taylor County called the Gulf Coast Traction & Railroad Company or something like that And all they ever really ended up doing was investigating and doing some surveying into getting a railroad put out towards a place called Vinita Beach that was never fully developed out on the gulf coast But if you look at their Articles of Incorporation, they actually intended on building a railroad all the way from Perry making a loop down towards Steinhatchee and then doing an incredible amount of development all along the coast, sort of mimicking the Florida boom that was happening mostly on the east coast at that time There was a lot going on the west coast as well and you can see some of that reflected in Articles of Incorporation like that So where do you find these? Because they were records retained by the Secretary of State’s Office, most of them have come to the State Archives of Florida They are not published They’ve not been transcribed, and they have not been digitized However they are available for public inspection here at the State Archives And if you request copies of the Articles of Incorporation for a specific corporation, the State Archives Reference Desk can scan copies of these or make paper copies of them and send them to you or to one of your patrons The key is knowing how to sort of track one of these Articles of Incorporation down There is an index that is available They are divided into domestic corporations and foreign corporations, foreign in this case meaning not only corporations that were established by people who lived outside the United States but also people who lived entirely in other states So a corporation would be considered a foreign corporation if all of its incorporators were actually outside the state So you have to be prepared to look in both of those places if there’s a chance that the majority of the incorporators for a company that you’re looking for might have been outside the state So what we can do to get ahold of these is if you contact the State Archives Reference Desk (and we’ll have information here at the end, contact information for Blake and myself, and we can certainly help you get connected with those folks) they can look up a specific corporation to see what they can find However there’s a little trick you can use to see if a company was incorporated here in the state of Florida So I’m going to look at that really quick The Secretary of State every year would publish a report documenting the Secretary’s activities, all of the different commissions that the Secretary had signed There was a time when the Secretary’s Office was responsible for issuing driver’s or automobile registrations, and those would be listed There was a number of different things that go into that report, and Articles of Incorporation are one of them They don’t give the Articles themselves, but they will give a listing of new corporations that are established So let’s look at where we would go to get that Let’s see I’m going to go back over here to my internet browser, and I’m going to go to the State Library, State Library’s online catalog which is just library.florida.gov All right, and what this is going to do is let me search the holdings of the State Library, some of which are available online including many of the years of the official reports of the Secretary of State So to get ahold of that I’m just going to run a search for Secretary of State Report And you’ll notice I’ve put Secretary of State in quotation marks And the reason I do that is just so that that specific phrase will be search for, not the word “secretary” and “state” and “report” all separately

And look here I’m getting exactly what I want, report of the Secretary of State of the state of Florida And if I click on the little link that was provided to me, it’s going to take me right to a listing of every edition of the Secretary of State’s report which is done biannually that we can get access to And I’m just going to pull one from 1907 here And just to make this go a little quicker, I mean you can go in and look at the Table of Contents and find what you need that way But what I like to do is use by browser’s search function which I can activate in this browser which is Firefox This also works in Google Chrome and Internet Explorer and a number of others And I can just go ahead and search right for the word “corporations”, all right? And let’s see if one pops up Look there OK, it takes me right to the point in the book where they’re looking at listings of corporations, and you can see how they’ve done it They’ve got the name of each corporation that was incorporated during the time period that’s covered by the report They’ll say what country If it’s a foreign corporation, they’ll say what country’s laws or what state’s laws the corporation was founded under, and it’ll give you a date for when that corporation was established And that’s going to be very important because when you get to the actual Articles of Incorporation in the State Archives records, they are organized chronologically, organized chronologically So when you make your request of the State Archives Reference Desk asking if Articles of Incorporation can be found for a specific company, if you find their listing here in the Secretary of State’s reports, you want to give them that date because that’s going to help the archivist go to exactly the right volume to get that information And let me show you how they’re going to do that so you can kind of get an idea of how they’re going to find these things All right, I’m going to show you another handy website here I’m going to go to info.florida.gov That is the website for our entire division here, the Division of Library and Information Services And this is going to actually get you to both the State Library and the State Archives catalog So we were just looking at the Library catalog, but now I’m going to go into the Archives catalog, all right? And you may have noted on the PowerPoint there that I had in parenthesis a specific series number for those Articles of Incorporation And all of our government records here at the State Archives are organized into series And Series 186, S186 was the one that I was noting for those domestic Articles of Incorporation You can also look at Series 229 as well for foreign Articles of Incorporation But if I go to the Archives online catalog, I’m searching at the series level and I want Series, S186, again note the quotation marks That’s going to keep me from getting a lot of extraneous results I don’t want And it’s going to take me right to exactly the series I wanted, Series 186, domestic Articles of Incorporation This is going to give you a little bit more information about what those Articles include Now again these have not been fully digitized, but what I can get to is catalog records for the different volumes that are within that collection And if I look ere, I can see exactly all the different volumes that our archivists at the Reference Desk would be looking for So you can feel free to include this information in your request If you’re saying I think I’ve got a hunch that it’s going to be in Volume 17 or 18 because I know that the business was incorporated in November 1908, anything you can do like that is going to help the reference archivist get right there to it You’ll also note some numbers here off to the right-hand side of the entries Once you get to a certain point in the early 20th century, the Division of Corporations or its predecessors here in the Florida Department of State started numbering corporations And you’ll oftentimes see references to a corporation’s number on its stocks and bonds or on its different documentation that you have on a historic business And if you can get ahold of that number, use that as well in your request to the State Archives Reference Desk because as you can see, they may be able to use that number to help them determine exactly which volume they need to pull to get to the business that you’re looking for All right, so I’m going to jump back into our PowerPoint real quick Something else that you can look at down the line is sunbiz.org After the late 1950’s roughly the Series 186 that we were just looking at kind of peters out There are a couple of other small groups of records that do similar things, but after a while those records have not yet been transferred to the State Archives Once you get to about 1953, they’re still with the Division of Corporations, and the reason for that is that a number of corporations that were established after the ’50’s are still in existence, and so the Division holds onto those records

so that they can continue to get annual reports and have everything all together in one file But what you can do to look and see if the Division of Corporations has information on a particular, on a particular company is you can go to sunbiz.org which redirects to this page here for the Division of Corporations And you can go into, look at, if you go into Search Records, all right And it gives you a couple of different, a couple of different options for how to slice and dice the records If you’re searching by name, that’s corporation name not necessarily an individual associated with a corporation For that you would want to look into Officer, Registered Agent, Registered Agent name or something like that But if we were to, say we were going to look for a company called, oh, let’s say we were going to look for the Florida Power Company We know that’s one that’s here in the state, Florida Power, Florida Power and Light They’ve been around for a long time, okay? And if I type in Florida Power, it automatically goes to that part of the database where Florida Power first appears One word to the wise is that this is not this database is not as forgiving as Google It’s not going to … if you miss a letter in here, it’s likely to just not turn anything back at all So let’s say for example … I promise I don’t do this on a regular basis, but let’s say that I misspelled Florida Power by one word, by one letter If I put that into Google, it’s going to do that thing where it’s says we’re showing you results for Florida Power with an “e-r” instead of “u-r” But watch what happens if we do it here It doesn’t take me to any of those Florida Power results that we had earlier So please do be very careful to spell everything correctly Also put in the bare minimum that you need to get the name of the company because if you put in too much extraneous information like putting in Company instead of “C-O” or “L-T-D” or something like that, you may run into some trouble All right, so that’s Articles of Incorporation Now prior to the 1870’s corporations did not register by going directly through the Florida Department of State Instead if a corporation really wanted to create a corporate body, and most companies didn’t in the really early days Like if you had a general store or you had a, I don’t know, a clothing goods thing or you had a sawmill or something like that, you typically didn’t get an Article You typically didn’t register your corporation outright because the amount of money that was transferring hands and the way that the law was structured at that time it just wasn’t that big of a deal to most business people So a lot of your local businesses before about the 1870’s are not going to have Articles of Incorporation But companies that did are things like banks and railroad companies and canal companies and anything where there was a lot of money involved, and especially where people were posting a good bit of money and they needed to have some way to organize how the profits were going to be distributed by a company And so oftentimes what would happen is those companies would seek a legislative charter for their business, and that’s simply Articles of Incorporation that are enacted through an act of the Florida legislature For example, here on the screen you’ll see that we’ve got an act to incorporation the Newport and Gulf Railroad Company Now if this company had been established, say in the 1890’s or the early 1900’s or something like that, they probably would have sought Corporate Charter or Articles of Incorporation through the Secretary of State’s Office However because this company did that prior to the 1870’s, if they wanted a Corporate Charter they had to go through the legislature So the good news is that even though it’s in a separate system from Articles of Incorporation, these are actually even easier to get your hands on because all you need is to get a look at the Acts and Resolutions of the State Legislature and then the Territorial Legislature before that So I’m going to show you real quick how to do that Okay, let’s get over to the internet here, and I’m going to go the Library’s online catalog, library.florida.gov And the best way to get to those acts and resolutions is to type in acts and resolutions And I’m putting them in quotes once again because I don’t want every single thing in the library that has the words “acts” and “resolutions” in the title I want that specific phrase, acts and resolutions And you can make yourself an even better shortcut by specifying whether you want territorial or state I’m going to type in territorial this time for the sake of the example Oops, let’s say territory There we go All right, acts and resolutions of the legislative council of the territory of Florida And just like we did with those Secretary of State’s annual reports,

this is going to take you right to all of the different volumes that have been digitized Fair warning, some of these are a little large so I’m actually going to go to one I’ve already downloaded just for the sake of time All right, and let’s see, I’ve got that on my desktop so I’m going to look at that really quick All right, I’m going to go right to This is one I downloaded for 1847 All right, and if I open this up I can do a Control F search, very similar to that I did for looking through the Secretary of State’s Office And you can look through the Table of Contents of these For example, let’s go ahead and do that All right, see how we get a list here of the titles of all the different acts And if there is an act establishing a corporation in this area, it’s going to look very similar to the one that we showed you in the PowerPoint It will say something like an act to incorporate the so and so railroad company, or an act to incorporate the so and so mercantile company of Jacksonville, Florida, or something like that You can also keyword search These have had text recognition software run over them so there’s that Now there is another kind of legislative record that may be useful to you It’s similar to Legislative Charters but slightly different It’s called a Legislative Franchise Now if you’ve ever had an ancestor or you know of somebody who ran a ferry, or they had a bridge and they managed a bridge or something like that, the legislature oftentimes would grant a franchise for a ferry or a bridge or some other kind of public service, sometimes a road You know, the legislature might actually appoint specific individuals to, you know, to create a road between point “A” and point “B, something like that This is the kind of business that sometimes family lore will say, well, great-great-uncle so and so used to run the ferry over the Ocklawaha River, over this or that river And the way you can find legislative and these would be if it was a state or county charter then you can actually find those things If it was a county franchise, that’s going to be in the records of the County Commissions of the individual counties But if it’s a larger river and the state actually gave the franchise, which under state law you kind of had to and territorial law as well, nobody could privately obstruct a navigable waterway without having permission of the legislature, without having a franchise And so you look for those in a very similar way For example, right here I’ve got an act to authorize William Keer to erect a milldam across the Ochlockonee River, the Ochlockonee being here in north Florida It separates Leon and Gadsden County and eventually it empties out into the Gulf But what this is essentially doing is naming William Keer as being someone who’s allowed to put this dam up across the Ochlockonee River Again it’s obstructing a navigable waterway and so you had to get permission from the legislature to do that This can be really handy in cases where you’ve got a history of a family member or maybe your community historian who’s working on the history of some bridge or road or something like that, so very helpful there as well OK, trademarks, all right? So trademarks Nowadays we typically see these registered at the federal level, but the way that the law worked in the late 19th and early 20th century is that people would often register trademarks at the state level as well In fact we see cases where companies would actually put, they would have this stationery where they would actually send the exact same letter out to all of the states at once saying, all right, here’s what we would like to trademark and we want that registered and protected And what a trademark is, is when a company has a logo or a phrase or a something that they want to retain the rights to They can go through the U.S. Patent Office to get that phrase or that symbol or that whatever trademarked within certain confines of the law, and the state used to register the same thing In fact I think we still do But anyway we have records of those trademarks, a pretty substantial number of records from trademarks in that Series S23 here at the State Archives of Florida And I’ve got an example over here to the right-hand side of the slide showing you what those, what those records look like Now the applications change over the years, but what you essentially get is the members of a corporation or individuals can get trademarks as well would write in an application for a trademark, and then they would usually cite why they qualified for said trademark And then they would describe in great detail what exactly it was they wanted to trademark,

whether it was a word or a phrase or a particular image And what’s so cool about these records and something that I think local historians would really latch onto is that typically if it was an image that the company was trying to trademark they would actually include copies of the images And let me tell you in doing the research for this I looked through and found so many beautiful cigar labels, cigar box images, you know, impressions that were meant to be stamped onto bottles, orange crate labels All kinds of things like that are in these trademarks It’s absolutely incredible So how do you get your hands on these? Unfortunately these also have not been digitized However they are available here at the State Archives for public inspection And if you can name a specific corporation that you’d like to see if there is a trademark, we do have indexes that we can use to determine whether we have a trademark for the company and then we can get copies of the application, and whatever happens to be in that trademark file can be granted to you A word of caution is that sometimes trademarks of course can get renewed so even if they were, you know, even if they were done before the, before the era of copyright or before that moving wall where copyright is an issue, it may still not be possible for you to necessarily publish a trademark that was registered But we can certainly at least show you the records So the way that you do that is if you’ve got the name of a specific corporation that you’d like to see the trademark on, then contact the State Archives Reference Desk and say that you’re interested in knowing if there is a corporation represented in Series S23 that would have a trademark for that company And those records are going to be available for corporations that registered trademarks between 1902 and 1973 with a few exceptions But for the most part that’s where it’s going to go The Division of Corporations also registers trademarks through sunbix.org I believe, and anything after 1973 you would go through the Division of Corporations to get records about those OK, the last kind of record that I have on my agenda here is to look at tax records A common rule of thumb, if there is one kind of, if there’s one kind of record that the government is never going to lose track of, it’s when either you owe them money or they owe you money One way or the other the records are generally there Tax records are fantastic for tracing businesses because businesses from a very early time period here in the state and then earlier territorial Florida were taxed separately from individuals Now that being said, oftentimes the taxes that were charged for a business landed on the same line as the taxes that an individual who ran that business was charged for his own household The main kind of tax record that you’re going to want to reference if you want to use tax records to look for evidence of an individual having had a particular business are tax rolls Every year the tax collector, or excuse me, tax assessor of a county would go around to all the householders in the county and would determine what the value of their assets, the taxable assets are And if they were a business person, depending on what the tax laws were that year, they would also tax your licensure as a doctor or the fact that you had a general store or something like that And I should say that that changes from year to year For example, you’ll see I’ve given you a list here of some of the things that have been taxed in Florida over the course of the years I mean, pocket watches, billiards, tables, carts and carriages It really depends from year to year what is being taxed, real and personal property But for a number of years if you were a doctor or a lawyer or a general store owner or if you had a Tin Pan Alley or anything like that then you would be taxed on that And so on a record, on a tax roll like this, if say one of these guys had owned a business (oftentimes it’s over on this right-hand side of the spread), if they had owned such a business you would see a tally mark here If it was one where they were taxed by the item, like if they were taxed by the Tin Pan Alley or by the billiards table, you would see a tally on how many they had over here If it was something were they were taxed on the value of it, so like pocket watches and different things, then you would get an amount over here that they were being taxed on But that’s certainly a good way to trace things as well And of course tax rolls are good for just tracing, for just tracing family histories in general because since they’re done every year, you can often times trace family members moving in between censuses So I definitely recommend the tax records for that So those are in Series 28 which we have here at the State Archives of Florida

Those are not digitized They’re not available online, but what I can do for you is going back to the State Archives, oops Going back to the State Archives Catalog I can show you how to figure out exactly which tax rolls we have for your county So if you go into search our Catalogs on info.florida.gov and go into the Archives Catalog remember I said that was Series S28 so if I put S28 in quotation marks like this, and I run a search, it’s going to take me right to the series of records that I want I’m going to click on this It’s going to tell you a little bit more about this series of records, but if I click on the file folder icon over here, look here All right, I can get … I can go to my county and get exactly the years that the State Archives has tax rolls I should mention that sometimes the county, the Clerk of Courts for the county or the tax assessor or collector for the county sometimes would hang onto copies of these records because they needed them to actually do the tax collection each year So some of those records have survived at the county level and some of them have not Some of them have actually donated them to us here at the State Archives So if you’re not able to find the tax roll for the year that you’re looking for, you’ll note that these are mostly going to be mid to late 19th century But once you get into the 20th century they more often than not stayed at the county level or in some rare cases they did come here to the state level But if you don’t find the one that you’re interested in, give the Reference Desk a call and say, hey, I’m looking for a tax roll from this county, for this year Do you have, do you guys have that in your collections here or is that someplace else? Because if it’s not in this series, sometimes that’s because the county donated it to us separately outside of the copies that were sent to the state comptroller for tax collection All right, I think that gets us I think it does Let’s see There we are I think that gets us to the end of what I was interested in I think we’ve got some time for questions, don’t we, Melissa? Melissa: We do So if you guys have any questions, you can type them into the Chat panel or you can raise your hand and we’ll get you unmuted Melissa: We’ve got a question What are the hours of the State Library and do you need to make a reservation? Goodman: No, you don’t No reservation required The State Library and the State Archives share a joint reading room and so you get the best of both worlds when you visit us If you have particular materials for either the Library or the Archives that you are interested in, give us a heads up, and the Archives can either pull those documents for you or the Library can grab some materials off the shelves It will make your research a little bit quicker Melissa: And what are the hours for those? Goodman: Oh, yes, the hours are 9:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday We do have some special Saturday hours coming up I believe from this November to about September So one Saturday a month we’re going to be opening up from 9:00 to 3:00 And if you’re doing intensive genealogy research and you work during the week or you travel, this would be a great time to come in Robinson: That’s an interesting I’m glad you brought that up, Blake, because that’s something that we’ve been seeing a lot more folks coming in and taking advantage of those Saturday hours I mean we encourage folks to get groups together We realize we’re up here in Tallahassee far away from a lot of folks who would like to do research with us but just can’t get it done during the week We’ve often thought that this a great thing for genealogical societies and historical societies to maybe get up a group of folks to come on in And let us know if you’re planning on doing something like that We can make some recommendations on the kinds of records where you can get the most bang for your buck during your visit And we certainly would appreciate and welcome groups like that

Melissa: We’ve got a question Were Articles of Incorporation ever registered at the county level? Goodman: That’s actually a very good question Yes, they were Certainly counties do sometimes have books of Articles of Incorporation in their official records And as a matter of fact from my home county, in Taylor County they’ve got a nice, thick book of them There were a lot of timber companies and different groups, development companies and things that registered corporations at the county level In order to take advantage of many of the, many of the state’s protections and provisions for corporations, you had to be registered at the state level as a corporation but that didn’t mean the corporations didn’t oftentimes start their lives being registered at the county level And the folks who would hang onto those records if they exist for your county would be the Clerk of the County Courts They show up in those official records that were retained by clerks Melissa: Great, does anybody have any other questions? Robinson: I’d just like to say one thing, Melissa You all have probably figured out by now that this kind of genealogy research is a little bit different than your day to day genealogy research In that kind of research you’re focusing very heavily on ancestors and what they did What were their movements? What were their occupation? Things like that In this kind of research it’s helpful to focus not just on your ancestors who may have been involved with the companies but also on the companies themselves You can say in a certain sense that the company is a part of your family if you think about it that way And so only by really pursuing that company history too are you getting the raw material, those names and those dates and those places that you really need to do the level of research you need to do So that’s just my bit of advice from this whole project Goodman: That’s an excellent point The Articles of Incorporation, one of the best things about them is, yes, sure, it’s great if your ancestor is on there But it really says something if your ancestor is willing to, you know, go in and form a company with three or four other people It suggests a relationship that you may not have known existed before, and it gives you something to go on because oftentimes people who incorporated businesses together had other kinds of relationships, family relationships, community relationships, went to the same church, lived in the same neighborhood It’s really important for taking those next, when you’re taking that next step and going beyond just establishing a family tree and actually building profiles of your ancestors This is, this is a really good way to do that Melissa: So we’ll stay on for another couple of minutes to make sure we get any questions answered so if you’ve got them, put them into Chat or raise your hand We’ll get you unmuted Robinson: All right, and Susan, let’s see, it says through my Florida Pioneer certification, I discovered my ancestor did incorporate a business but never realized these records were available Absolutely and Susan, I’d be curious to know when about your ancestor did that We may be able to help you get your hands on those Articles of Incorporation Excellent, excellent Melissa: Great Anybody have any other questions or comments for Josh and Blake? We thank you guys for presenting this information today It’s been so informative Robinson: Thank you all so much for joining us today Don’t forget this genealogy series is continuing so keep an eye out in your emails We’ve got a new one coming next month Melissa: And stay tuned for the follow-up That should be coming in the next day or two That will include this recording assuming it recorded well, and PDF of the slides and any resources that these guys deem helpful Thank you, guys, and we will see you online again next time