In May of 1817, slaveholder Jacob Eggart of Charleston, South Carolina filed a manumission (emancipation) petition in the Court of Common Pleas for “Julia and her child Harriett, Julia the mother being about 20 years and her child Harriett about 10 months old.”
Please click on the document images below to view larger:
Suggestions for Further Research
If you find a certificate of emancipation (also known as manumission) for an ancestor in Charleston, there are several record sets you can consult to pick up a further document trail. Here are some starting points:
- If your ancestor was free, you should be able to find them in census records for census years after their emancipation.
- The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has microfilmed records of the State Free Negro Capitation Tax, a tax free people of color were required to pay annually. The twenty-nine books in this publication list names of many free blacks who lived in Charleston between 1811 and 1860.
- You may be able to locate your free ancestor in city directories. Ancestry.com has digitized Charleston’s city directories in the collection “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.” You can view print copies of Charleston city directories in the South Carolina Room at Charleston County Public Library.
- Your free ancestor(s) may have owned property. You can check the Register of Deeds in your county of research interest.
- You can browse the free FamilySearch collections “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977” and “South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964” for probate records such as wills, estate inventories and estate accounts for free black ancestors. These will be interfiled with probate records of free white citizens. Note that these collections are not indexed, so you will need to browse the index pages of individual volumes to see if your ancestor’s name is listed. If you find your ancestor’s name, note the page number and browse to that page number on the microfilm.
- You can search for more recent probate records and marriage records online at the Charleston Probate Court. You will need to order the actual records as this is an index.
 Certificate of Emancipation, Jacob Edgar to Julia and Her Child Harriett, 13 May 1817. Miscellaneous records, 1771-1868, v. 6K 1860-1868, https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSLV-LLGV?i=56&cat=476811, Frame 57 of 351, accessed 12 Sep 2017.