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Can Historical Newspapers Help Me Determine My Freedman Ancestors?

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Andrew and Cora Vance

Andrew and Cora L. Vance birth of daughter, Colored (The Washington Herald) Washington, District of Columbia, 25 Jan 1922, page 3, column 2, Newspapers.com

 

This blog will show you three things:

  1. You must do the necessary research to reach back to the pre-1870’s.
  2. You must research each person you find to get to know them and find the link back.
  3. You must look at whatever types of records exist for each person. In this case, we could not have gone back without newspapers. Select the historical newspapers that were generated in the area your ancestor lived. There are many different companies. Which one has the issues published in your ancestor’s area? See United States Newspapers.

Next, I had researched Andrew Lykes Vance’s side, but next I need to search Cora Lee Chappelle Vance’s side of the family. When Dominique DeLorenzo posted about Chappelle’s, I remembered the problem I wanted to solve in researching Cora’s line. At the same time, Jan Mitchell-McDermott, from the group, began sending me a wealth of records identifying Cora’s line and her marriage to Andrew. It took 3 hours before she was finished.

The first record she sent me is the first I shared above. It’s a record of the birth of one Andrew and Cora’s baby girl, Geneva Beatrice Vance 1922-1999. Jan really surprised me when she even had found a wedding anniversary photo of Andrew and Cora:

 

Mr and Mrs Andrew Vance

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew L. Vance celebrate 50th wedding anniversary, (Evening Star) Washington, District of Columbia, 9 Jun 1962, page 23, column 7, GenealogyBank.com

 

I had not ever seen a photo, so I was overjoyed. In the short paragraph, I got an address, where Andrew and Cora retired from, as well as their descendants. It is important to start from the beginning when you trace back so you are sure about who you are researching when you get back to the pre-1870’s.

 

Andrew Lykes Vance Obituary

Vance, Andrew Lykes, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 25 April 1966, column 7, page 35, GenealogyBank.com

 

This obituary for Andrew Lykes Vance which names his wife and children helps me to know I have the right family. The strongest proof is Mrs. Geneva Douglas. She was the daughter, Geneva Beatrice Vance born in 1922.

 

blog 50 Image 4 Lafayette Vance

Vance, Lafayette, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 17 April 1973, column 7 , page 35, GenealogyBank.com

 

This son of Mrs. Cora Vance and the late Andrew Lykes Vance, Lafayette Vance, also helps me to know I have the right person, Cora Chappelle Vance. We are going to trace her, but we need to make sure we do not ignore these important clues. These newspapers give us an idea of who makes up the family in the later years after the 1940 Census.

 

Obituary for George Chappelle

Chappelle, George, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 5 July 1959, column 2, page 38, GenealogyBank.com

 

In DC in 1939, George Chappelle died. This was the brother of Cora Vance. 

 

Blog 50 Image 6 Bethuel Hill

Hill, Bethuel (Beth), Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 14 Nov 1976, column 4, page 56, GenealogyBank.com

 

In 1976 in DC, Bethel Hill dies.  She is also tied to Mrs. Cora Lee Vance. She is her niece.

 

Obituary for Sarah Taylor

Taylor, Sarah, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 19 Feb 1956, column 4, page 28 , GenealogyBank.com

 

On February 17, 1956, Sarah Taylor leaves to mourn her loss a sister, Cora Vance and a brother George Chappelle. So now we can search for a brother which makes life easier.

 

Blog 50 Image 8 Spurgeon Taylor

Taylor, Spurgeon, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, column 7, page 45, GenealogyBank.com

 

Spurgeon Taylor was a nephew to Cora Vance. Sarah and Cora were sisters.

 

Blog 50 image 9 Dorotha Chappelle

Chappelle, Dortha, Obituary, Evening Star, Washington DC, 7 March 1981, column 5, page 39, GenealogyBank.com

 

Cora Vance and Olillion (sp) Jordan are the aunts to Dortha Chappelle.

Now, let’s find Andrew and Cora on in the 1940 Census:

 

Blog 50 Image 10 1940 Census

Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Year: 1940; Census Place: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia; Roll: m-t0627-00557; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 1-141

 

They were living in Washington, DC. In 1930, they are shown as living in Washington, DC.

 

Blog 50 Image 11 1930 census

Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.

 

In 1920, they are in Washington, DC:

 

Blog 50 Image 12 1920 Census

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

 

Jan came across the Marriage Register for Andrew Vance and Cora Chappelle in 1912 in Clinton, Laurens, SC:

 

Blog 50 Image 13 Marriage

Ancestry.com. South Carolina, County Marriage Records, 1907-2000 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017.

 

In 1910, we finally find Cora living at home with parents, George Chappelle and Carolina Chapppelle:

 

Blog 50 Image 14 1910 Census

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

 

Here are George and Caroline Chappelle at home in Clinton, SC 1912 City Directory:

 

Blog 50 Image 15 1912 city directory

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

 

From George Chappelle’s death certificate, we get clues for the names of his parents, George Chappelle and Mary Chappelle.

 

George Chapple Death Certificate

South Carolina Department of Archives and History; Columbia, South Carolina; Year Range: 1925-1949; Death County or Certificate Range: Laurens

 

From Caroline’s death certificate we get clues for her parents, Bob Adams and Sarah Fuller.

 

Caroline Chappell Death Certificate

Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1965 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

 

In 1900, Cora Lee Chappelle is the youngest child at home of George and Carolina:

 

1900 Census

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

1900 Census

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

 

In 1880, George and Carolina have older children at home:

 

Blog 50 Image 19 1880 Census

Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Year: 1880; Census Place: Hunter, Laurens, South Carolina; Roll: 1233; Page: 148C; Enumeration District: 102

 

George was recorded on the 1880 Non-Population Schedule:

 

Non Population Schedule

Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Hunter, Laurens, South Carolina; Archive Collection Number: AD273; Roll: 12; Page: 22; Line: 1; Schedule Type: Agriculture

 

Sharpen the Saw

This was really great having Jan send me the records that got me back so far:

Andrew Lykes Vance and Cora Lee Chappelle Vance > George and Caroline Chappelle > George and Mary Chappelle

Can you pick someone on your tree to research back to the 1870’s? Let us know who you pick in the Facebook Group. Do not forget to use newspapers to get back to the 1940 Census. Next week, we will try to discover who among the ancestors of Cora is among the pre-1870 records.  

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