What is the Court of Appeal in Cases of Capture?

Privateers played a major role in American naval activities during the American Revolution. With permission from the government, privately owned ships could attempt to capture an enemy ship. If the capture was judged to be legal, the contents and ship would be sold – and the profits redistributed to the crew. At the start ofContinue reading “What is the Court of Appeal in Cases of Capture?”

Common Migration Patterns

You’ve gotten your ancestor back to the 1820s – and gotten stuck. You’re pretty sure the family had ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. How do you find them? Pay attention to migration patterns. While it’s little discussed in our study of American history, your ancestors weren’t settling randomly. Instead, they were following othersContinue reading “Common Migration Patterns”

What was the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia?

Founded in 1780 by Esther de Berdt Reed, the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia raised money for the Continental Army through door to door fundraising. The organization raised over $7,000, which was used to clothe soldiers. Although heavily critiqued, the Association was one of the first American examples of organized political action by women. The family’sContinue reading “What was the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia?”

The HMS Jersey and the other Revolutionary War prison ships

Relevant laws and policies: 1776: The Hulks Act allowed the use of decommissioned ships as prisons. March 1777: “North’s Act” suspended habeas corpus and allowed Americans to be prosecuted for treason/piracy. 1778: A policy set out the requirement that prisoners taken from a privateer were immediately to be jailed. 1779: Continental Congress moves to holdContinue reading “The HMS Jersey and the other Revolutionary War prison ships”