Saturday, February 28, 2015

Introducing the Slave Name Roll Project

Not surprisingly I enjoy watching genealogy programs on television. I marvel at the struggles African-Americans have to go through to find out anything about their slave ancestors before 1870. Many times, the key clues are found in the documents of their owners. Slaves were valuable property and were often bequeathed by name to an heir.

As a way to give back to my African-American genealogy colleagues, I am going through my ancestors wills and property records and posting any information about a named slave I find. In this way the names of slaves and their owners will be posted on the Internet and available through search engines to current and future researchers. If you would like to join me in the Slave Name Roll Project, simply submit a comment to this post which includes link to your posts and I will include on the Slave Name Roll Project page on this website. If you do not blog or have a website, just list your information in a comment on my blog.

Tobacco slaves in Virginia c1670; image courtesy of Wikipedia

Each year during Black History Month, I will remind everyone of this project so it become a continuous effort.

I would like to thank Cathy Meder-Dempsey of Opening Doors in Brick Walls because her post for Black History month (parts 12 and 3) gave me the idea. I would also like to thank Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy, who generously let me steal her Honor Roll Project concept.

Slave Name Roll Project

We begin the project with slaves owned by families living in three states: Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

If your ancestors owned slaves, will you join us in contributing to the Slave Name Roll Project?

32 comments:

  1. Great idea Schalene! I look forward to letting you know whenever I add a new post about a slave I find in my research. ~ Cathy

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  2. I agree with Cathy, this is a great idea. I really like how a post by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, led to one by Schalene. Those posts culminated into this project. Thank you both for your contribution and for leading the charge on this project.

    On a personal note, I would like to thank in advance those who add to this project. Please note, there is no judgement nor should there be any shame. Through this collaborative effort, many descendants of slaves may find the answers they were searching for and break through a few brick walls. I am looking forward to this project which has already started with Cathy and Schalene blog posts. From what I know (and I could be mistaken), my slave Ancestors were from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Virginia. I am looking forward to seeing this project unfold. Thank you. ~ Bernita

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  3. Great idea! I have several old " Friend of Friends Friday " posts that I will submit when I get a chance to run them down.

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  4. Great idea! Here are links to two relevant posts from my blog:

    Friend of Friends Friday: A True Account of the Sales of the Negroes Belonging to the Estate of Skelton Hardgraves Decd
    http://so-many-ancestors.blogspot.com/2014/09/friend-of-friends-friday-true-account.html

    Friend of Friends Friday: Sale of Wm. W. Miller's Slaves
    http://so-many-ancestors.blogspot.com/2015/01/friend-of-friends-friday-sale-of-wm-w.html

    Skelton Hardgraves was my 5th-great-grandmother's brother. I am not related to William Miller; I came across the sale notice while browsing Tennessee newspapers. I posted it because I thought someone might be looking for those people.

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    1. Beth, thank you! I've added them to the project page.

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  5. Such a great idea; I've often thought about how do preserve their names when you find them listed in a will. Anyone searching for slave ancestors must have such brick walls to break through.

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  6. Ok..I found one for Maryland -http://ancestorsinthenews.blogspot.com/2010/09/friend-of-friends-friday-frederick.html?m=0
    and 3 for Virginia -

    http://ancestorslivehere.blogspot.com/2011/02/friend-of-friends-friday-samuel-fryar.html?m=0

    http://ancestorslivehere.blogspot.com/2011/02/friend-of-friends-friday-estate-of.html?m=0#comment-form

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    1. I added the the last two links. I will need to study the first one more to figure out how the owner is. Thank you!

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  7. Such a great idea! Unfortunately, I also have great....grandparents who owned slaves! I will see what I can discover and get names to you if possible! Helen

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    1. I think we can only record; we can't judge. I'll look forward to whatever you find!

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  8. If we are not blogging about this issue, but we find names, where do you want us to send that information? Thanks, Helen

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    1. Anyone can leave a comment with information they have about NAMED slaves on the Slave Name Roll project page: http://tangledrootsandtrees.blogspot.com/p/slave-name-roll.html

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  9. Here's mine. http://bembryroots.com/2015/03/01/giving-them-names-bembry-family-slaves/

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    1. Thank you so much. You've done some great research! I had one question about the location at which Thomas Bembry sold his slaves. I asked it as a comment on your post.

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  10. Schalene, I finally got around to sharing the the Project with both the Houston and National branches of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. Hopefully it will spread to the other local branches.

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  11. I think this is a great project! I haven't yet found any ancestors with slaves, but I've included this post in my NoteWorthy Reads post for this week (http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2015/03/noteworthy-reads-5.html) to pass the word on.

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    1. Thank you so much for helping to spread the word! I love your Noteworthy Reads.

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  12. https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/slave-name-roll-littleton-mapp-virginia-north-carolina-south-carolina-georgia/

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    1. Jeanne, thanks for contributing! I've added the link to the list.

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  13. In my research I've recently come across slave owners in the family that had some information on slaves they had on their property. The information isn't terribly precise, but I wanted to make sure the information was out there. Researching folks with established names and access to rights and education etc is hard enough; I can't imagine how difficult it is to research folks who were slaves and servants.
    --
    http://home.comcast.net/~p.a.miller/genealogy/narr/tranquility/
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    http://www.hpo.ncdcr.gov/nr/GV0009.pdf
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    http://www.rootsweb.com/~afamerpl/plantations_usa/NC/cedarlawn
    .html
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    http://www.ibiblio.org/orphanage/history/
    ---
    http://www.ncgenweb.us/ncgranville/other/gran-landmarks.pdf
    --
    Hope these are useful.
    Happy Hunting.
    -Andrew

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    1. Andrew, thank you so much! You've really gathered a lot of interesting information about Granville County. I enjoyed reading it. Sadly, the Oxford Orphanage site has closed down the alumni database. Such a shame. I didn't see any slave names listed in the form about Red Hill, though it sounds like some place! If I overlooked the names, please let me know. The other links have been added.

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    2. Hi, Andrew and all,
      Just wanted to update the link Andrew gave to my site (I had to move it). The first link in Andrew's post is now at http://www.pamiller.net/genealogy/narr/tranquility/
      Regards,
      Pam in CA

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  14. Schalene: I found slaves mentioned in a book of wills from New Jersey. It is not a relative of mine, so I do not have much information, but I took a screen shot, and would be glad to send it to you if you like (since I can't post images in this comment section. The will of a Joseph Story mentions first names of 3 Negroes. It is in the New Jersey Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817, Vol. XXXXI, pg. 362 (1810-1813. It is online at Ancestry. (Let me know if you want me to send an image).

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    1. I'm sorry I just saw this comment. Please send to psd11719 @ gmail.com (no spaces).

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  15. Here is my latest post for your roll: http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2017/02/releasing-the-slaves-of-asa-thomson-fayette-county-ky/

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  16. Another entry for your roll: http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2017/07/will-of-abraham-estes-mercer-county-ky-1788/

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  17. Here is today's post link: http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2017/08/john-smiths-1803-will-muhlenberg-county-ky/

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  18. One more link for Harrison County, KY: http://emptybranchesonthefamilytree.com/2017/09/william-holland-of-harrison-county-ky-1814-will/

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