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Supreme Court Records

Supreme Court Records

Court Records have been a favorite source of mine for many years. Several of my earliest lectures focused on using this source, and recently I created a Beginner’s Guide to Court Records to introduce new researchers to their use. Many of the richest records that mention our ancestors are found in the records of the […]

Slaves in Pre-Marital Agreements

Slaves in Pre-Marital Agreements

In our search for ancestors who were once slaves, let’s not forget that they were often named in pre-marital agreements. This is one record that is often neglected in our research. I have mentioned before the need to research the slaveholder’s wife, since we know that this was often how men gained ownership of slaves. […]

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 […]

Finding the Garrard Slaveholder

Finding the Garrard Slaveholder

Finding the Garrard slaveowner for my great-grandmother Mary Garrett is a fascinating case for study. She married John Wesley Holt and they settled in Hardin County, TN and raised a large family. Mary was from neighboring Decatur County. Her mother’s death certificate (also named Mary) identified her parents as Mason and Rachel Garrett. The 1870/1880 […]

Criminals In The Family

Criminals In The Family

Every family tree has its share of criminals, vagabonds, shysters, thieves, polygamists, deserters, roughnecks, liars and cheats. While lots of things change, human behavior doesn’t. Joseph Harbour One of my shadier ancestors was Joseph Harbour, my 4th great grandfather. He was born in September 1852 in Hardin County, Tennessee. In the early years of my research, […]

Alabama Convict Records

Alabama Convict Records

Recently, an interesting set of records appeared on Ancestry: “Alabama Convict Records, 1886-1952.” I lecture on court records, so these types of records always get my attention. If you watched “Slavery By Another Name” which aired on PBS in February, these records will be familiar. You can watch the whole episode online. I highly also […]

Finding the Slaveowner: Hyman Family

Finding the Slaveowner: Hyman Family

Court Records are extremely valuable in genealogical research. For those researching enslaved ancestors, they are even more so. They can also help us with the difficult task of finding the slaveowner. Arden Hyman I’m helping my godmother Carole with her Hyman family research. Her enslaved ancestor was named Arden Hyman, and his roots were in […]

 
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