Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Alabama State Census, 1866.
About This Collection
This searchable collection is an index of the 1866 state census from Alabama. Originals schedules are held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The census was created to determine how many representatives would be sent to Congress for the state of Alabama.
What’s in This Collection
The head of household was enumerated by name, with demographic information about other household members. Remarkably, the names of former slaveholders are noted for some of the African American families. In some counties, soldiers in the household who were killed, disabled, or died of sickness were noted. The collection’s Learn More page provides further discussion of these records.
Researching From This Collection
Finding an ancestor in this collection helps you pinpoint your ancestor’s location before 1870. If you’ve done so, congratulations, you have broken through the 1870 Brick Wall! Use the location to search for other Reconstruction era records for your ancestors.
Example: King Goodlow, Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama
King Goodlow was enumerated in the 1866 Alabama State Census in Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama. His household demographic breakdown was:
- Males Under 10 Years: 2
- Males 20 to 30: 1
- Males 50 to 60: 1
- Total Males: 4
- Females Under 10 Years of Age: 2
- Females 10 to 20: 1
- Females 20 to 30: 1
- Females 30 to 40: 1
- Total Females: 5
- Total Colored Population: 9
Let’s use this information to search for other Reconstruction era records for King Goodlow. We’ll start by searching for King Goodlow in 1867 Voter Registration Records held at the Alabama State Archives.
King Goodlow, Early Alabama Voter Registrations
Early Alabama voter registration records are searchable online at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. We searched for King Goodlow in the database Alabama 1867 Voter Registration Records Database. We did not find results for King Goodlow, but did find results for King Goodloe in Colbert County, Alabama.
King Goodlow, 1866 Tax Assessment
Early tax records are another resource that can help you locate your ancestor before the 1870 U.S. Census. We found King Goodlow in 1866 tax assessment records in Tuscumbia, Alabama. He was assessed a tax for two bales of cotton:
King Goodlow, Freedmen’s Bureau Records
We searched for King Goodlow in Freedmen’s Bureau records at discoverfreedmen.org. Here we see several results for King Goodlow in Freedmen’s Bureau records.
Name: King Goodloe
Event Type: Employment
Event Date: 1865-1872
Event Place: Tuscumbia, Colbert, Alabama, United States
Image Number: 00435
“United States, Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts, Indenture and Apprenticeship Records, 1865-1872,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2W3-6SMK : accessed 24 January 2020), King Goodloe, 1865-1872; citing Employment, Tuscumbia, Colbert, Alabama, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1900, Records of the field offices for the state of Alabama, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 34; FHL microfilm 2,424,752.
Here we see Tuscumbia listed as Colbert County, not Franklin County. Which is correct? We consulted the FamilySearch wiki page Colbert County, Alabama Genealogy and learned that in 1867, Colbert County was created from a portion of Franklin County, and Tuscumbia fell within the newly-created Colbert County. Mystery solved. Onward with our search of Reconstruction era records.
King Goodloe, Southern Claims Commission Claim
We searched the FamilySearch database Alabama, Southern Claims Commission Approved Claims, 1871-1880 and found a claim for King Goodloe of Colbert County, Alabama. The Southern Claims Commission, created under President Ulysses S. Grant, was an organization of the United States government from 1871 to 1880. The commission’s purpose was to allow Union sympathizers who had lived in the Southern states during the American Civil War to apply for reimbursements for property losses due to confiscations by the military during the war. The FamilySearch Wiki page Southern Claims Commission will give you an in-depth look at Southern Claims Commission records and how to use them in your research.
King Goodloe filed a claim for a horse, harness, hay, corn and fodder taken from him during the Civil War by Union forces. The total value of the items claimed was $353.
Testimony of King Goodloe, Southern Claims Commission Claim
The summary of King Goodloe’s testimony in the claim reveals that he was enslaved by Fred W. Bynum of Franklin County, Alabama:
Testimony of Henry Keller, Southern Claims Commission Claim of King Goodloe
Henry Keller testified in King Goodloe’s claim. Claimants were required to prove, by witness testimony or other means, their loyalty to the Union and the losses they sustained during the war. Henry Keller testified to both. Remarkably, he reveals that King Goodloe was first enslaved by David Goodloe of Franklin County, Alabama and was sold to Fred W. Bynum:
Testimony of Stephen Meredith, Southern Claims Commission Claim of King Goodloe
Stephen Meredith also testified in King Goodloe’s claim. In his testimony, Stephen Meredith reveals that he was enslaved by Mrs. Louisa Meredith of Franklin County, Alabama. He also corroborates Henry Keller’s testimony that King Goodloe was formerly enslaved by David Goodloe, then sold to Fred W. Bynum:
Fred W. Bynum, 1850 U.S. Census Slave Schedules
We searched for Fred W. Bynum in the FamilySearch database United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850. We did not find Fred W. Bynum but we did find a F.W. Bynum. It’s possible that this is the Fred W. Bynum we are searching for, but we cannot be sure with conducting further research. We did not find anyone with the last name of Bynum listed in Franklin County, Alabama in the FamilySearch database United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1860.
Suggestions for Further Research
Reconstruction era records for King Goodlow revealed the names of two former slaveholders. Future research can be conducted in probate records for the families of each of the identified former slaveholders, to see if King is mentioned there. You can also use the information revealed by records in this blog post to find more records for King Goodlow and the former slaveholders identified.
Finding King Goodlow in the 1866 Alabama State Census, then searching for him in other Reconstruction era records, led us to a Southern Claims Commission claim that revealed King Goodlow’s former slaveholders. Have you found an ancestor in the FamilySearch collection Alabama State Census, 1866? Let us know in the comments below!
The FamilySearch Wiki page Colbert County, Alabama Genealogy provides an overview of resources for genealogy research in Colbert County, Alabama, including the county’s history, addresses and contact information for record repositories, and links to specific resources. Because Colbert County was created in 1867 from a part of Franklin County, the page Franklin County, Alabama Genealogy may contain additional resources for your research.
The FamilySearch Wiki page Alabama Record Finder will help you select records to search, based on what you are hoping to learn about an individual ancestor (birth date, death date, etc.).
More FamilySearch Wiki Resources for African American Genealogy
Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.
Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.
Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state.
African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.