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African American Genealogy: Tracking Lee Vance, Brother of Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster

We have a hard time tracking family of ancestors because some left the place they were living in droves due to persecutions or the search for jobs to take care of their families. One such person was Lee Vance of Abbeville County, South Carolina. He appeared on the 1870 Census and 1880 Census for Abbeville County as an elder child of Beverly and Matilda Dunlap Vance.  Lee Vance was listed as third oldest in the household of Vance’s in 1880:

"United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBK-S3L?cc=1417683&wc=QZ24-W5N%3A1589414013%2C1589414117%2C1589414580%2C1589395184 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > ED 12 > image 18 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBK-S3L?cc=1417683&wc=QZ24-W5N%3A1589414013%2C1589414117%2C1589414580%2C1589395184 : 24 December 2015), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > ED 12 > image 18 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., n.d.)

Lee was listed as fourth oldest in the 1880 household:

"United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6WS9-CSH?cc=1438024&wc=92KC-PTT%3A518655201%2C519483101%2C519491701 : 14 June 2019), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > image 38 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
“United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6WS9-CSH?cc=1438024&wc=92KC-PTT%3A518655201%2C519483101%2C519491701 : 14 June 2019), South Carolina > Abbeville > Cokesbury > image 38 of 55; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

It seemed as if he had died or something because I could not find him after 1880. It was not until I discovered Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance and Calvin Vance living in Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina in the city directories that I knew he too had moved to Columbia. Robert Lee Vance and Mary were living in Columbia. At first, I did not recognize this was Lee.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.

Robert Lee Vance had married Mary A. Robinson, and one of their children was Lillian Henrietta Vance.

They had lived for a time in 1900 Florida before moving to Columbia:

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

He was listed as Lee Vance in the 1910 Census in Columbia, SC with the same wife and some of the same children on Green Street:

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.

Robert Lee Vance and Mary were list in the Columbia city directory as having moved to Huger in 1917:

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.

In the 1903 Columbia city directory, you can see how many African Americans there are with the last name Vance. The is an asterisk beside their names. Calvin and Lee are brothers to Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.

Sharpen the Saw

It took many years to prove Robert Lee Vance was the same Lee Vance which was the same brother to Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance. I found him in Florida and Columbia so far. I have more things to reveal in upcoming posts.

For now, can you take a person that you found on an earlier census but cannot seem to find on a later census? Use different resources to locate that person. Remember, I had no one to tell me what happened to them. I have recently discovered more to share. I am doing this so that you will have an example that will keep you from giving up.

Our ancestors had to move from different places to flee persecution and to find jobs. Use the tools available to find them. Share your experiences in our Facebook Group

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