From the Chase Chronicles - July 1930.
"Readers of the Chronicle may recall seeing the warning of Mr. John Carroll
Chase against patronizing a certain concern in Philadelphia that was
offering to supply family genealogies for ten dollars per copy, the name of
the purchaser to "be embossed in gold on the cover".
The country has been flooded with post cards in the past year, all
containing the same descriptive text, enlarging, upon the early illustrious
English ancestry of the family, the only variation in the cards being the
name of the family of which the person addressed was a member.
The attention of the Post Office Department in Boston and Philadelphia was
called to the matter early in the year by Mr. Chase, numerous inquiries
having been made of him about the concern by the representatives of many
families, but it was not until August 11 that a fraud order was issued, as
set forth in the following clipping from a Philadelphia newspaper of recent
GENEALOGY TRACER ACCUSED OF FRAUD
J.M. SEAVER, PRESIDENT OF SOCIETY, FACES CHARGES OF MISUSING MAILS IN SCHEME
"J. Montgomery Seaver, thirty seven, president of the American
Historical-genealogical Society, Broad and Norris sts., was confronted with
State and Federal charges today.
George C. Baker, superintendent of mails at the postoffice announced a fraud
order against Seaver's organization had been issued at Washington yesterday.
At the same time Seaver was being held in $500 bail for court on charges
growing out of a collision.
Postoffice inspectors investigating the Historical Genealogical Society's
activities reported he had arranged a plan for selling books purporting to
give the records of various families back to the time of William the
After the investigation Horace J. Donnelly, solicitor of the Postoffice
Department at Washington, reported the plan to be "a scheme for obtaining
money through the mails by means of false and fraudulent promises"
Mr. Baker said the fraud order provides that all mail sent to the Society's
office will be returned to senders stamped "Fraudulent: Mail to this address
returned by order of the Postmaster General."
The method of obtaining subscribers for the genealogical books was to obtain
through telephone directories or other means, a list of persons having
ordinary names and to write these persons urging them to buy a book for $10
showing their descent from royalty or nobility.
Exploits of bearers of the name were described in the letter, Mr. Donnelly
said, and there was a similarity in the achievements of the ancestors, no
matter what name was given them. The solicitor declared that a "Battle Hymn
of the ______ Family" was included with each book, the name of the
individual solicited being printed in the blank space.
The Philadelphia postoffice, the inspectors found, has been receiving 300 to
400 pieces of mail daily addressed to the society. The inspectors denied
Seaver lived up to a promise to refund money if the genealogical books were
returned as unsatisfactory."