You may have noticed that I have added a new page to this blog: Black History. Luckie at Our Georgia Roots has challenged researchers, particularly those with Southern roots, to take the opportunity of researching slaveholder ancestors to unearth information on the slaves of these ancestors and share it, including putting it online. A number of subsequent discussions and responses have been prompted by the initial discussion on Our Georgia Roots. Several online sites, including Afrigeneas, have been suggested as appropriate recipients of the information.
I am a “relative-but-not-total-newbie” to genealogy, having started about four and a half years ago. I spent most of my first year in genealogy getting a general idea of what was known about my family lines and also made a few discoveries of my own. In the second year, I started to research each level going backward in time and entering that information in my genealogy program, and am currently entering information on all my known great-great grandparents. This is not yet in-depth research, but it helps to clarify which families I wish to investigate more closely. Much of the “low-hanging fruit” for families with less common names has already been picked, so a lot of what I plan to do is to work on brick-wall ancestor with surnames such as Smith and Moore.
Luckie’s challenge therefore provides me with an opportunity to tackle some other types of interesting challenges, and for that I am grateful. This is something that I hope will eventually be of use to other researchers, but it also has the potential to provide a fruitful new direction in my own research.
At the great-great-grandparent level, there are two families on which I intend to focus, the Brinlees and the Floyds. From the Slave Schedules to the U.S. Federal Census, I know that my great-great grandfather Hiram Brinlee Sr. owned slaves. Since the schedules provide only the gender and age, ascertaining their identities is probably going to require a good bit of ingenuity. I will need to learn what additional records I need to look for that could provide this information.
The other ancestor of interest in this area is my great-great-grandfather George Floyd. I have not been able to find any mention of him on the Slave Schedules, but there are family stories indicating that he was indeed a slaveholder. In addition, the 1870 census shows a Black family by the name of Floyd living nearby.
I will be posting about what I know and what I am able to find on the slaves of these families in the coming weeks and months.
Although I am aware that the most critical area to cover would be slave records, I would like to extend the scope of the information I post to include post-Civil War information to which I have access, hence the page name of “Black History.” Some of the information, such as that contained in old newspaper articles, can be found online – most of them I obtained through a paid subscription to a particular newspaper’s archives – but since I am going to transcribe these articles and use them anyway I can make the information immediately accessible. And there is at least one item that is not publicly accessible to my knowledge. It is a letter from A. C. Thurman, representing the Black community of Dallas, to Sheriff William Henry Lewis (my great-great uncle). My copy of this letter is a photocopy, but I do not know whether the original still exists and am not aware of any repository being in possession of it. This letter and a bit of background will be the subject of my next Transcription Tuesday post.
I am sure as my research pushes back through previous generations I will encounter more slaveholding ancestors, and I resolve to share whatever I can find out about those slave families as well.
The relevant posts will bear the “Black History” label and so can be accessed under the labels at the bottom of this page; the general index will be on the “Black History” page (the link is at the top of this page). One existing article has already been indexed: Tinner Hill: Desegregation, Graveyards, and My Fireplace. More articles to come.