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Let Us Not Forget Those Who Paid the Price for Us: Mitchell Goggins (b. abt. 1850)

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Paid the Price for Us: Mitchell Goggins (b. abt. 1850)

Above you can see the earliest census documenting Mitchell Goggins. Mitchell Goggins as far as I have been able to tell as of yet was born about 1850 in Abbeville County, South Carolina. He was one of the eldest children of Columbus Goggins. Columbus and Margaret, not sure she is the mother of Mitchell Goggins, are buried in Tabernacle Cemetery, also known as Old Tabernacle Cemetery in Cokesbury, Greenwood County, South Carolina. Tabernacle Cemetery was established in about 1812. Other African Americans are buried there.

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African Americans are Documented in FamilySearch.org Database: United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980 – 2014

African Americans are Documented in FamilySearch.org Database: United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980 – 2014

You can search among the now 34,153,314 index and obituaries for a record of your ancestor. Records are added to this collection as they come available. The database can be found here: United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014. To see results from this database you will need to Find a Family History Center near you.

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Collection Just Released on FamilySearch.org: South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926

Collection Just Released on FamilySearch.org: South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926

I thought you would like to know about another collection released on FamilySearch.org containing birth registers for the city of Charleston, South Carolina, 1901-1926. It is entitled South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926. This collection does give you the ability to find the parents of children. Many of these parents were not enumerated on a census because they were born after 1880.

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Restore the Ancestors Project – How to Index Charleston, SC Birth Registers

Restore the Ancestors Project – How to Index Charleston, SC Birth Registers

Our newest record set, “US, South Carolina, Charleston—Birth Registers, 1901–1926 [Part A]” is very information-rich. The birth registers record the baby’s name, place of birth, midwife or doctor who delivered the baby, the father’s name, the mother’s maiden name, the birthplace of both parents and the father’s occupation. These records will be invaluable for those researching ancestors born in the city of Charleston, and you can help us make this a searchable collection on FamilySearch.

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A Deed Documents Father and Daughter

Last week I shared, “How Using a Timeline Can Help You in Your Research.” I used the census and city directories to make out a timeline for Robert Lee Vance (1858 – ). He was born in Abbeville County, SC. After the death of his father, he moved his family first to Citrus County, FL and then to Columbia, SC. I wanted next to reveal more about his life in Columbia, SC.

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African American Genealogy: How Using a Timeline Helps in Your Research

African American Genealogy: How Using a Timeline Helps in Your Research

Last week, I shared how I knew Robert Lee Vance (1858 – ) was the brother of Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance in African American Genealogy: Tracking Lee Vance, Brother of Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance. I had also found him living in Columbia, SC with his family. This week I want to show you the timeline that I have been using for him. We will add to this timeline next week:

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

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

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:

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Finding Mrs. Virginia Vance Lemon’s Marriage and Death in the Newspaper

Finding Mrs. Virginia Vance Lemon’s Marriage and Death in the Newspaper

To continue to find little pieces of history at a time, African American genealogists just need to patiently keep looking. History is just hidden waiting for you to uncover it in the right place. Mrs. Virginia Vance Lemon was my grandfather’s younger sister. I have found her living in Columbia, living in Greenville, South Carolina, and living in Charleston, South Carolina. Historical documentation is spread throughout the state.

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African American Genealogy: Martha Vance Sold Property to Alice G. Shiver

African American Genealogy: Martha Vance Sold Property to Alice G. Shiver

In Emory Wallace Vance, Sr. is Among the Richland County, SC Grantor Deeds, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr (1901-1973) gave Martha Vance, his step mother, his land and property after the death of his father, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance for the cost of $5.00 and love and affection. Grandma Martha is someone I did not meet in this life, but the children of Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance referred to her as such. They were the children of two sisters, Nunia and Lula Johnson Vance.

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Taking a Second Look at Church Anniversary Book in Family History Library

Taking a Second Look at Church Anniversary Book in Family History Library

I could not wait to take another look at “St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 1873-1987 114 Anniversary Celebration,” which I first went through in 2007 when my daughter and I visited Salt Lake City. At that time, I scanned through quickly for the name of my great great grandfather, Beverly Vance, because I knew his family went to church here early on after emancipation if not before. I saw somewhat disappointed because his name was not mentioned. Neither did it mention his son, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance, who would have attended when a child.

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Some African American Cemeteries Were Once Used by the Enslaver

Some African American Cemeteries Were Once Used by the Enslaver

Have you ever thought about how an old African American cemetery got started? It is usually hard to tell, but newspapers, libraries, and funeral homes are places you can start to find the history of a cemetery. I came across one such cemetery in Greenwood County, SC. It was called Save All Cemetery. I am always curious about when these cemeteries were used. Jim Ravencraft, photographed all the headstones, and I took a look at the birth and death dates that I could make out.

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African American Genealogy:  Finding Descendants of 2nd Great Uncle, Henry Smith of Laurens County, SC

African American Genealogy: Finding Descendants of 2nd Great Uncle, Henry Smith of Laurens County, SC

African American genealogy is not easy. Having an enslaved family makes it so difficult to trace your family, but I have been blessed to discover that they my family knew branches of the family back then. They kept in touch without the modern-day technology that we have today. I am more blessed to realize that my strong desire to piece my family together does not go unnoticed by those unseen visits I get when I am in the middle of figuring the relationships out. I am not alone in this research, and I am indeed grateful that I can prove it using historical documentation. This extra help, I believe, can be had by you if you so desire.

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Henry and Mary Smith Met on the Plantation of John Skinner Smith in Laurens, SC

Henry and Mary Smith Met on the Plantation of John Skinner Smith in Laurens, SC

After I had discovered that Henry Smith was the brother of Jane Smith Johnson McCoy from the letter of my grandfather, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr., grandson of Jane, I decided to look into the descendants of Henry and Mary Smith and the enslaver of Henry Smith, John Skinner Smith of Laurens County, SC. When working with African American genealogy, I knew I was so fortunate to have been given more clues with yet another interview.

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Emory W. Vance, Sr. Is Among the Richland County, SC Grantor Deeds

Emory W. Vance, Sr. Is Among the Richland County, SC Grantor Deeds

Of all my finds thus far, finding my grandfather, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr. among the Richland County, SC grantor deeds has been the greatest to date. The thought that I could find out what happened with him came into my mind in 1985. I had heard my grandparents talk of their life in South Carolina, and I had heard reminisces from their children over the years. The answers I needed were not forthcoming.

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African American Genealogy: Morris Brown AME Church and the Lemon Family

African American Genealogy: Morris Brown AME Church and the Lemon Family

Remember in Tracing the Lemon’s from Columbia to Greenville to Charleston Using City Directories I found Rev. R. I. Lemon and his wife, Virginia Vance Lemon, who is my great aunt. I was able to see that they lived in Columbia and moved to Greenville and Charleston. Virginia is someone whom I am definitely interested in learning more about; she is my grandfather’s sister.  A study of her life will help reveal more about myself.

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African Americans in Antebellum Church Records: Bethel United Methodist Church, 1804-1880

African Americans in Antebellum Church Records: Bethel United Methodist Church, 1804-1880

Antebellum church records can be an important resource for African American genealogy as the records often predate public records founds that document births, marriages and deaths. Last week, I shared three resources at the room for South Carolina History at the Charleston County Library,  Register of St. Philip’s Parish, 1720-1758, Register of St. Philip’s Parish, 1754-1810, and Register of St. Philip’s Church, 1810-1822.  This week I would like to also share another resource which can help identify enslaved ancestors and free persons of color who attended Bethel United Methodist Church from at least 1804 until 1880.

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“Old Abbeville:” Scenes of the Past That Are Not Forgotten

“Old Abbeville:” Scenes of the Past That Are Not Forgotten

This is how African American genealogy moves forward: slowly, methodically. When I moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 2005, I came across Lowry Ware’s name among the library book shelves at Richland Library. I looked for what I could find there on Beverly Vance (1832-1899), and I found the person who was his half brother and former slave owner. I found several books written by Lowry Ware and others. I learned early on that researching Beverly would be very hard on me emotionally. It involved reading books by Lowry Ware and others that were well spoken of except the formerly enslaved like Beverly.

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African American Genealogy: When the Pieces Come Together – Guyton Family Bible, Oakley Plantation, Berkeley, SC

African American Genealogy: When the Pieces Come Together – Guyton Family Bible, Oakley Plantation, Berkeley, SC

One of the biggest challenges in African American genealogy is the sometimes sparse body of documents we have to work in. We’ve been working for years to digitize documents in the Lowcountry, first as Lowcountry Africana, and now as the IAAM Center for Family History. Along the way, many archives, organizations and individuals have worked at our side to scan, digitize and index records that are significant for African American genealogy. Today, we experienced some of the fruits of our friends’ and colleague’s efforts when some pieces of a puzzle fell into place.

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African American Genealogy: Will John Drayton of Charleston, SC Please Step Forward?

African American Genealogy: Will John Drayton of Charleston, SC Please Step Forward?

Have you ever found yourself researching a person with a common name? One time I was helping someone research her family history at the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, South Carolina. We located her ancestor’s will, and she was browsing through. When she got to where the enslaved that her family owned was listed, she called me over to take a look at what shocked her. The page was full of names of the enslaved, any every one of them had the same name. African Americans have a hard time when it comes to research.

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How Lower Richland Heritage and Genealogy Society (LRHGS) of Hopkins, SC Brings History Forward

How Lower Richland Heritage and Genealogy Society (LRHGS) of Hopkins, SC Brings History Forward

We attended this month’s Lower Richland Heritage and Genealogy Society LRHGS’ Kindred Connection: Sharing Our Stories. The funding for this project came from Richland County Conservation Commission. This meeting was hosted by Dedra Harvin at Jerusalem Baptist Church in Hopkins, South Carolina. As I sat the back, I noticed the place was packed. Everyone was listening intently to the recorded interviews being shown upfront.

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An African American Experience: Honoring Susie King Taylor and Her Journey of Escape

An African American Experience: Honoring Susie King Taylor and Her Journey of Escape

I read Susie King Taylor’s (1848-1912) autobiography where she told of her enslaved experiences with grandmother, Dolly, escaping to freedom, working as an army nurse and teacher, returning to Georgia to marry Russell Taylor, and moving to Boston. Over a week ago, I learned on Facebook that Hermina Glass-Hill has put together a commemoration to honor her life, and of course, I had to go. August 6 was her birthday. The celebration literally changed my life. We in South Carolina give some attention to Susie and the fact that she served with the 33rd US Colored Troops, but going to the place where she went to church and going to the site where she escaped from enslavement definitely had a huge impact on me.

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What Does Joe Wah, Chinese American, Have to Do with My Family?

What Does Joe Wah, Chinese American, Have to Do with My Family?

The first surprising bit of information which I came across was that Joe S. Wah was Chinese American, and that he married African American, Janie Arnold Wah June 15th. If you will remember from last week’s post, African American: Are You Working the Cemetery for the Pre-1870 Clues?, Park Arnold, buried at Save All Cemetery, is father to Charlie Arnold. Janie Arnold Wah is his daughter. It became obvious early on that the people interred in Fairview are friends and neighbors and even relatives.

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African American Genealogy: Are You Working the Cemetery for Pre-1870 Clues?

African American Genealogy: Are You Working the Cemetery for Pre-1870 Clues?

Greenwood, South Carolina has African American cemeteries that are properly cared for, but unfortunately there are several that have people born before 1870 buried in them. They are at risk of becoming illegible. Researching these internments has brought great joy to me. In many cases, I have started with the gravestone, the first evidence that the person existed.

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African American Genealogy: Substitute Records for Births in South Carolina

African American Genealogy: Substitute Records for Births in South Carolina

In Documenting a SC Birth, we discussed how to find your ancestor using birth certificates. Not everyone was recorded on a birth certificate, and birth records are the hardest to find. Fortunately, you can use substitute records to find clues to the date and place where you ancestor was born.  Use the record types discussed below where you may discover more about your ancestor’s birth.

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Documenting Your Ancestor After 1940

Documenting Your Ancestor After 1940

It is so important to document your ancestor using the most recent records first because you can learn so much about them enabling you to locate them on earlier records. For most researchers, the latest historical record where they have found their ancestor is the 1940 Census. Perhaps you have yet to discover records that were generated later than 1940. It is highly likely that ancestors born before 1900 appear on these records.

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How to Locate a Marriage Record

How to Locate a Marriage Record

After successfully documenting your ancestor’s death using various resources such as an obituary, death certificate, and existing headstone, the next major event that you will want to document is a marriage record. Marriage records are a little more difficult to access because often only the index is available online. This post will discuss how to locate a marriage, and suggest substitute records that you can use to show a marriage took place in case you cannot locate an original record.

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African American Genealogy: More Ways to Document a Death

African American Genealogy: More Ways to Document a Death

In How to Document a Death, we shared a few of the most common resources for learning more about your ancestor’s death. The death event generated many different ways to learn more about a person. Even if a person is not present in a record where they were mentioned consecutively in the past, that can become a clue to the possible date of death. You will learn the most by making it a point of including a few more record types in your search.

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African American Genealogy: How to Document a Death

African American Genealogy: How to Document a Death

One of the most common events that beginning researchers attempt to document is an ancestor’s death. Most become familiar right away with death certificates, but when there are challenges finding or accessing a death certificate, it is helpful to know about additional records. It is a good practice to search these additional records in case there are errors or incomplete information on the death certificate. 

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Sample the Low Hanging Fruit First

Sample the Low Hanging Fruit First

In Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned and Relying on One Source Type, we discussed the pitfalls that family historians can unknowingly fall into.  Another very common mistake is rushing back too quickly in an imagined race to find direct ancestors.  This more often that not creates research challenges. Below we share better principles to follow in discovering ancestors.

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Family History Research: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

Family History Research: Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned

Family history research is one of the most rewarding adventures that you can experience. What makes it most rewarding is how it brings family members and communities closer as discoveries are made. There are many ways to have success in the process of finding, recording, and sharing what you learn, but there are also common mistakes that researchers share. Whether you have just begun or if you have been on your genealogy journey for a while, follow the wisdom below to avoid pitfalls along the way.

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Family History in Photographs

Family History in Photographs

As we embark on our journey in family history, we sometimes neglect the resources right within our reach. We spend time online searching for records that may already be in the homes of our extended family. Before you set out to look for resources to document your ancestor, you need to exhaust the resources found at home or in the possession of family members. This is a first in a series of posts on resources for family history in your home.

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