Save the dates! The IAAM Center for Family History and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission will present 4 FREE virtual seminars in February. Please join us every Saturday in February for these exciting seminars!
One of the biggest research challenges for African American genealogy is documenting enslaved ancestors who were brought from Africa to the Americas in the Atlantic Slave Trade. More than 40% of those who were forced from Africa to the shores of North America arrived...
A lot of us start researching by jumping online, and we do not start by using our own family archives. You could miss the best information that would keep you routed in the right direction to find your family. All that you need to do to start is look through this checklist and find things in your own house that can tell you about an ancestor. Gather all the records in your house that have a name of a family member on it. If you have never done this, you may not realize the number of items that you will find.
I have always believed we need community to come together to share what they remember about our history and genealogy. As I sit here in Fayetteville, NC writing about Rev. Simon Miller and only having a feeling about his importance, once again someone from the community in Charleston, SC living in North Augusta, SC has helped. We have lost a lot of history, but with community we can recapture quite a bit. I think about what we have captured here: freeman, education, the trade of carpentry, a legislator, AME Church, preacher.
These are my great grandparents, Andrew Johnson and Jane Smith Johnson. I have spent quite a bit of time researching them and their children, but some I have not found besides here in this 1880 Census. At first, I thought Laura Johnson was Lula Johnson Vance, wife of my great grandfather, Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance. Have you ever tried to find a female family member and only knew her birth name?
Greenwood County Courthouse. SC, Robin R. Foster, Feb. 2014 I spent the first eight years of my move to South Carolina in Columbia researching in the archives, libraries, and getting to know cousins there. I have worked my way back to the 1800's in my research....
In looking for Rev. Simon Miller from the historic newspaper article with Richard Harvey Cain (1825-1887), I admit I had to start from scratch. When I wrote Richard Harvey Cain (1825-1887) Served in South Carolina Senate, I knew I would try to find out more on Rev. Simon Miller because he was the one who chosen Secretary of that Conference. Little did I know I would find how important he was.
Richard H. Cain, member of the United States House of Representatives I trust you followed along with our series on the Bishop William H. Heard where we proved researching him could also bring forth many resources that would also document other African Americans....
I want to really encourage those of you with Alabama ancestry that you need documentation for to search the Dothan Eagle in Dothan, Dale County, Alabama. I heard from James Morgan III again last week. He let me know that there was another article in the Dothan Eagle that documented Bishop William H. Heard
Yesterday we identified one place your ancestor might have been recorded as voting in Georgia in the blog post Did Your African American Ancestor Register to Vote in Georgia, Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1868? In this post you could be led to another place to find him, Georgia, County Voter Registrations, 1856-1909. All colors of people are available in this database, but this might be one of the first times your ancestor was recorded by name because it contains the names of emancipated people.
Did Your African American Ancestor Register to Vote in Georgia, Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1868?
After the Civil War, Georgia was divided into forty-four districts of three counties. To register, a voter had to take the oath of allegiance to the United States government and to swear he had never supported the Confederate States of America. Over 95,000 white and over 93,000 African-American voters became registered in the Georgia, Reconstruction Registration Oath Book, 1867-1868. They can be searched at FamilySearch.org.
You can look for your ancestors who were born in Orleans Parish, Louisiana between 1819 and 1906 in the record collection Louisiana, Orleans Parish, Birth Records, 1819-1906.
Today’s featured collection is the Florida State Census, 1885. This searchable collection contains population, agriculture, manufacture and mortality schedules for a special federal census for Florida made in 1885. The census was taken at the request of the federal government, and with the federal government’s assistance. All Florida counties are represented except Alacuhua, Clay, Columbia and Nassau.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is South Carolina, State and Territorial Censuses, 1753–1920. This searchable collection consists of several state and local census records for South Carolina, including City Council of Georgetown census, 1920; South Carolina state censuses, 1829-1875; Union County census, 1869; City Council of Aiken census, 1868; and Village of Edgefield census, 1891.
This collection contains voting registers for the North Carolina counties Orange, Beaufort and Chatham for the years 1868-1898. This searchable database includes images taken from microfilm of original records held at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. For a detailed look at this collection, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Florida — Voter Registration Records, 1867–1905 . The collection consists of voter registration records for Hernando, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. John, Sumpter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties for years 1867-1905.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Texas–Voter Registration, 1867-1869. This collection can be especially helpful for African American genealogy because the records were made prior to 1870, and can help you tighten up your ancestor’s timeline between 1865 and the 1870 U.S. Census.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Louisiana, Orleans and St. Tammany Parish, Voter Registration Records, 1867-1905. Early voter registration records can help you locate your ancestor in records made before the 1870 U.S. Census. Voter registration records can also help you fill the twenty year gap between the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1900 U.S. Census (most of the 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed by fire).
This searchable collection with images contains marriage certificates, marriage licenses, monthly reports of marriages and other proofs of marriages compiled by the Freedmen’s Bureau between 1861 through 1872. The records are part of National Archives Record Group 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.
Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts highlighting new or important research collections at FamilySearch! We will be posting a highlighted collection every day during February. For each collection, we’ll give you a general overview of the collection and what information it contains, show you a sample image from the collection and offer some hints for researching from the highlighted collection.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1860.This searchable collection includes an index and images of slave schedules listing the names of slaveholders and the age and gender of those they enslaved in 1860. The 1860 Census Slave Schedules were made at the same time the 1860 Census was made. With very few exceptions, the slave schedules list only the name of the slaveholder. The schedules are arranged by enumeration district, just as the 1860 U.S. Census was arranged, and information reported was for the official census enumeration date of June 1, 1860.
Today’s featured collection is Georgia, County Delayed Birth and Death Records, 1870-1960. This collection contains delayed birth records gathered from probate courts in multiple counties in Georgia for the years 1870 – 1960. Document images are available for most counties in the collection.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Texas, Harrison County–Delayed Birth Records, 1860-1933. This collection contains delayed birth records for Harrison County, Texas for the years 1860-1933. Some of the pages are damaged and some of the title boards are incorrectly labeled. The original records are housed at the Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall, Texas.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.
This is a searchable collection with images. The collection contains images of the National Archives’ carded name index to pension files for veterans who served in the military between 1861 and 1916 and applied for a military pension. These records are part of the National Archives record group RG 15, Records of the Veterans Administration and were taken from the National Archives microfilm publication T288. To learn more about the records in this microfilm publication, you can access the descriptive pamphlet here.
Descriptive Recruitment Lists of Volunteers for the United States Colored Troops for the State of Missouri,1863-1865 : NARA, RG94, M1894
This collection consists of descriptive lists for black volunteers recruited for the army from the State of Missouri, 1863-1865. The original records, held at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland consist of 55 descriptive recruitment books and 3 bound indexes. The records are part of the records of the Colored Troops Division, 1863-1865 within Record Group (RG) 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917 and were taken from the National Archives microfilm publication M1894. For more information about these records, please see the descriptive pamphlet prepared by the National Archives.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Alabama State Census, 1866.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.
Daniel Alexander Payne, History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Volume 2, New York, Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1922, 367-368,...
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957. These records are lists of black and white students prepared by the counties and school districts for the years 1850-1892, 1908 to 1957 to determine each county’s education funding needs. The early records include only the names of students and the school attended. More recent records added the age of the child and a parent or guardian’s name. School records can be a viable substitute for birth records and can bridge the gaps between U.S. Census years. To learn more about these records, please visit the collection’s Learn More page.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. This collection was built from a database provided by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and is a name index to Army Serial Number Enlistment Card Records, which covers the years 1938-1946, excluding officers, in the United States Army including the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps. This index, which is not complete, covers about nine million men and women. The collection’s Learn More page notes that the collection may contain scanning errors.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987. This searchable collection contains an index and images of death certificates from the Virginia State Department of Health. Certificate images are provided courtesy of Ancestry.com. To learn more about this record set, please view the collection’s Learn More page.
County Birth Registers, 1881-1930 are now available online at FamilySearch.org for those who are researching Alabama ancestors. The records come from multiple county probate judges in Alabama.
I feel that it has been well worth our while tracing resources along the timeline of Bishop William H. Heard. This section covers about the last thirty or more years of his life. He has been a great person to take a look at because the records found on him mention many other people who lived in the same places he did. So, you can once again like the other blog posts, pick a period along the timeline and read about the event I found and find the names of people he was involved with. The last blog covering the timeline of Bishop Heard was Documenting William H. Heard Between 1881 and 1904.
In the blog post Finding Documentation for Your Ancestor’s Timeline we began gathering documents that will help us construct a timeline of his life. Today, we search for resources for documenting William H. Heard between 1881 and 1904.
Search for your South Carolina ancestor’s death between 1915 and 1965 in the collection South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965.
Alabama Death and Burials, 1881-1952 is an index of records that may have appeared in previously recorded International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections. The records are not complete for any particular time period, place or region. It is strongly recommended that you verify any records you find with original documentation. See Legacy Collections. For more information on this record set, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
If your ancestor supposedly moved to New York City and died before 1950, you can search to see if you find your ancestor’s death in this location showing you proof that he or she migrated. The records represent the five boroughs of New York City. Each borough covers a different time period.
With Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994, you can determine when you ancestor migrated to Illinois. The record set covers the years 1878 to 1939 and 1955 to 1994. This record is an index that tells you the age of your ancestor and the date and place where he or she died. You will learn where he or she was born. If this is given, it can help to identify that you have the right person.
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915.
You can search Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 for your ancestor to see if it reveals that he or she moved from someplace else during the Great Migration. This collection is made of several types of records.
How wonderful to have this primary resource for your ancestor. These birth registers give the names of their parents. So, you do not to need to rely on the death record of your ancestor as the main source for this information. 1901-1926 is rather late, and most would consider the information would be known by descendants. If you consider that enslavement ended only in 1865, many of these records represent the first generation or second generation born outside of enslavement. South Carolina, Charleston County, Charleston, Birth Registers, 1901-1926 can assist many African Americans who are unsure about the parentage of their ancestor born between 1901 and 1926.
Today’s featured collection is North Carolina, Wake County, Death Records, 1900-1909.
Today’s featured collection is Oklahoma School Records 1895 – 1936. This particular collection holds school census records as well as rosters for the counties that existed before and after Oklahoma statehood, which occurred in 1907. This collection is significant because it reflects the two territories: Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. After 1907, the new state of Oklahoma is reflected with all of the new counties. For more about this collection one can visit the Family Search website to Learn More about this collection.
The first bit of advice we give to everyone who’s thinking of starting their ancestor research is “Find the person in your family who collects the funeral programs.” Why? Because Homegoing programs celebrate a person’s life within their circle of loved ones, and most every loved one is mentioned in the funeral program.
Did you know that FamilySearch has many free resources for documenting your ancestors who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? Here, we will take a look at ten free FamilySearch resources for documenting USCT veteran ancestors, and the information they contain.
The Log Hut in Elbert County, Georgia, on the plantation of Thomas Jones, where Bishop Heard was born. June 25, 1850, Heard: From Slavery to the Bishopric, 1969, Arno Press, Inc. Now, we will take the timeline from the blog, Bishop William H. Heard’s (1850-1937)...
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is Tennessee, Shelby County, Memphis, Board of Health Death Records, 1848-1913. This collection is searchable.
You can look up obituaries for any ancestor who passed away between 1862 to about 1992 in The Online Obituary Index online at the Beaufort County, South Carolina Library. The index includes the names of over 24000 people whose deaths were published in the local newspaper.
Bishop William H. Heard’s (1850-1937) Autobiography Documents Enslavement to Bishopric in A.M.E. Church
After rereading “One More Day’s Journey,” by Dr. Allen Ballard, I decided to get the autobiography which was cited in his notes on the section, Bravery Amid the Terror in chapter 12, on page 274, From Slavery to the Bishopric in the A.M.E. Church, by William H. Heard. Bishop Heard was born enslaved in Georgia on 25 June 1850.
I remember finding out One More Days Journey: The Story of a Family and a People, by Dr. Allen B. Ballard existed from a family reunion while I was living in Joliet, Illinois. I visited the library to discover they had the book that would lead me and my family to South Carolina.
In my search for Beverly Vance (1899-1832), I came across Hurrah for Hampton! Black Red Shirts in South Carolina During Reconstruction by Edmund L. Drago in the Richland Library in 2005. I found the reference to Beverly.
I ordered this book to document my great great grandfather, Beverly Vance (1832-1899) years ago. The author of the book states that he included black officeholders during Reconstruction. If you have researched African Americans for any period of time you recognize how hard it is to find records to document them. I proudly found a short paragraph in the directory:
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.
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.
Each year, the Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Charleston holds an all day fall workshop on family history research. This year's workshop is today, Saturday, October 12, 2019. The IAAM Center for Family History will present...
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.
Isaac Singleton was born 15 January 1883 in Mowberry (sp), Charleston, South Carolina. He applied for this delayed birth certificate on 24 October 1956. He was 65 years old at the time living in Ravenel, SC, the same place where his parents lived.
I am always looking for my family, but I often see other people’s ancestors that amaze me as much as mine. They used to live in the same communities at one time. They are buried in the same places my ancestors are and sometimes life takes them to faraway places.
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.
We have been studying the whereabouts of the enslaver, James Kincaid Vance (1818-1897) in Abbeville County, South Carolina. We have followed him and his family from the 1850 and 1860. We found his son, James Wistar Vance (1845-1887), living next to Beverly Vance (1832-1899) in 1870 in Abbeville County, SC.
In African American: Finding Out a Little More about the Enslaver, we found James K. Vance in 1850 and 1860 on the census. By the time 1870 came around Beverly Vance (1832-1899) was no longer enslaved and was named in the census. He is at home with his wife and children:
Why would you want to trace the person back in time who enslaved your family? Because if you know he was the person who enslaved your family, you want to follow him wherever he lived because at any time you can find out clues about your family even though you do not see their names mentioned.
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.
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:
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:
I know I am very busy these days, but you can catch up with me if you know what you have to talk about happens to be important to you. This time, little did I know that what Rebecca Byrd had to discuss with me was just as important to me.
African American Genealogy: Where was Clarence Anderson Chick before Fayetteville Teacher’s College and after Benedict College?
In Documenting Your Ancestor in 1940, I first gave Clarence Anderson Chick’s death, WWI Draft Registration, and appearance of he and his wife, Helen, in a Fayetteville City Directory. It said they both were teachers at Fayetteville State Teacher’s College in Fayetteville, NC.
Sometimes you can search and search a historical record and not find your ancestor. It does not mean that he or she is not there. They could have still been recorded in the collection you are searching, but they did not use their formal name.
The first military action of the United States Colored Troops in South Carolina was an expedition organized by Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, commander of the 1st SC Infantry (later redesignated 33rd USCT).
I attended this St. Paul Baptist Church in Gadsden, SC. I was invited several times by my cousin, Pastor Betty Fair Harris. I went on some Sundays and to vacation Bible school, but it was not until after one their anniversaries where I was seated with Betty when I learned that my grandfather, Emory Wallace Vance, Sr. Had given them the land.
I found two more birth announcements for Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Vance. This one was for an infant son who Mrs. Vance gave birth to. Unfortunately, he did not live long after his birth. They had one three year old daughter. This may have been one of the children that she told me she had and lost.
After all these years, I finally was able to find three of my grandparent’s children’s birth announcements in “The Palmetto Leader.” The first one I found was on the first page of the paper. It is my mother’s birth announcement. I could not wait to tell her of this finding and e-mail a copy of it to her.
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.
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.
Announcing the Restore the Ancestors 2019 Project: Help Us Index Records for African American Genealogy
The Center for Family History at the International African American Museum, FamilySearch and BlackProGen Live have announced the launch of Restore the Ancestors 2019, a volunteer community effort to index FamilySearch records of interest for African American...
You might be researching family members and come across one that no one in the family can tell you much about. You know it is your job to tell as much about them that you can find. Sometimes information you can discover from family can link you to historical information online or offline. With African American genealogy, funeral programs are very important.
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.
Have you ever gotten stuck searching a female ancestor in African American genealogy because you did not know the name she used before she was married? Well if you remember Martha Vance (1884-1978) in Emory W. Vance, Sr. is Among the Richland County, SC Grantor Deeds,...
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.
Rev. Ulysses S. Rice, Jr. (1925-2014) was the great grandson of Henry and Mary Smith. Emory Wallace Vance, Sr., my grandfather, was Henry’s sister’s, Jane Smith Johnson McCoy’s grandson. With African American genealogy, the simplest relationships have to be scoured...
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.
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.
When you conduct African American genealogy, you must consult oral history interviews, those you took and ones that exist before you began. I would be remiss if I claimed to do all this research on my own. On the Johnson-Vance side of my family, I was very fortunate...
This is the best African American genealogy oral history interview that I have shown you so far. I interviewed the interviewee before and after meeting her, and now that she has passed, I am still finding more.
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.
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.
Hopefully, you have seen how much city directories have helped in finding family especially when they moved from place to place. I first shared with you how I use city directories in African American Genealogy: Comparing City Directory Resources. Now, I would...
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.
We had a lively discussion on last Tuesday's episode of BlackProGen LIVE! "Biology of a Document: From Analysis to Plan," about getting the most from the documents we have gathered in our African American genealogy research. The episode focused on analyzing each...
I visited the room for South Carolina History at the Charleston County Library in Charleston, South Carolina because I wanted to show you that you should not neglect to check Charleston church records back in 1720-1822 for African American genealogy. That’s...
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.
Historic newspapers are an important resource for African American genealogy. Runaway slave ads, jailor's notices of captured runaway freedom seekers, notices of estate sales, private sales and sheriff's sales that include the names of enslaved ancestors are all...
Last month I accessed a book online entitled “Census of Abbeville Village and Abbeville Voter List May 1885,” compiled by Lowry Ware held by Larry A. Jackson Library at Lander University. I really had found another way to identify African Americans in 1885 and...
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.
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.
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.
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.
After you find an obituary about an ancestor, what else are historic newspapers good for? Newspapers can tell you a great deal about what went on in your ancestor’s time period. African American newspapers bring to light burials, education, masonic lodges, ministers, political activities and so much more. They reveal much more about the everyday lives of our ancestors.
The Palmetto Leader covered articles from all over the country, but it also told about the news in Charleston, South Carolina. This African American newspaper revealed stories about churches, universities, and schools. It kept up with the social scene, reported...
African American Newspaper Online: The Palmetto Leader, News Reported from South Carolina and Other States
Recently, I was going through the official site of Richland Library in Columbia when I noticed there is an online version of The Palmetto Leader. It has been added as part of the newspaper collection digitized by University of South Carolina. To have this African...
If we as African Americans were to just take ministers from one area and research the area and research the other counties and states that they serve, we would learn more about their families, people in the new areas, and churches in the new areas. We could find out...
In the last two posts, we have been reviewing The Dial, an African American newspaper that existed in 1914. The editor was Rev. Conley Lincoln Henderson, and Rev. Robert F. Fox was the associate editor. Let’s now go back to our first scheduled cleaning as a community...