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What Did Slavery Look Like?

What Did Slavery Look Like?

President Lincoln spent a lot of time studying the map above, created by the United States Coast Survey. The darker the shading, the higher the percentage of enslaved laborers. Slavery maps such as this and several new databases help us understand the experiences of enslaved ancestors. At a glance we can see the density in […]

Freedmen’s Bureau Record Uncovers Likely

Freedmen’s Bureau Record Uncovers Likely Slaveowner

I made a big discovery recently courtesy of Familysearch’s newly indexed Freedmen’s Bureau Labor Contracts. A Little Background Several years ago, I used cluster research to trace my Tennessee ancestor Mike Fendricks back to his Alabama roots. At a standstill with Mike, I traced the roots of Dee Suggs, a man Mike lived with in […]

Deed Record Bonanza

Deed Record Bonanza

I’ve discussed deeds in this blog before and why they should be a cornerstone record in researching the lives of your ancestors. In this post, I show how using deeds connected a family from the 1850s through the mid-twentieth century. Levin Waters Levin Waters and other ancestors lived in Somerset County, Maryland in a little community called […]

The Ku Klux Klan Hearings

The Ku Klux Klan Hearings

In 1871, the U.S. Government held hearings on the rampant violence in the South by the Ku Klux Klan and other white terrorist organizations. The official name of these records is the “Report of the Joint Select Committee Appointed to Inquire Into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States.” However, they are often referred […]

Thomas S. Sudler Account Book

Thomas S. Sudler Account Book

I’ve written before about the information that can be found in what I call Community Papers. These Papers include account books, diaries, ledgers, loose papers, family records, etc. These are the papers of (usually) prominent men and families. They might be large slaveholders, doctors, merchants or lawyers. Almost every library and archives has these kinds of […]

Perry Simpson Found in Freedmen’s Bureau

Perry Simpson Found in Freedmen’s Bureau Records

I found the proverbial needle in a haystack when I found my 4th great-grandfather, Perry Simpson, in Freedmen’s Bureau records. I have searched in thousands of pages of these records through the years and that is no exaggeration. Perry Simpson’s Complaint I found his name in a Register of Letters Received in the Field Office […]

Who’s Your Daddy? Bastardy Records

Who’s Your Daddy? Bastardy Records

One of the hidden gems inside court records are the aptly named “Bastardy Bonds.”   These records, like much in genealogy, are another reminder that human behavior hasn’t changed much. Anything that happens now also happened in the past. Children born out of wedlock, like today, was a common occurrence.  People also had kids with other people while […]

Follow the Witness: They May Have the An...

Follow the Witness: They May Have the Answer

Many of our artificial brick walls are caused by our inability to extract every clue from each source. One of my favorite suggestions is to tell people to Follow the Witness. Many of the most common sources we use, such as deed records, probate records and marriage records, are legal documents that in many cases needed […]

 
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