One of the things that has contributed greatly to my growth as a genealogist has been regularly reading genealogy society journal articles. Researchers looking to grow in their skills would do well to begin exploring these, and let me tell you why.
Why Read if I am Not a Professional?
Beginning genealogists often believe that if an article isn’t specifically about their family or place, that it isn’t relevant. Consider this.
We read the journals to learn about sources and research strategies. It doesn’t matter really what the subject matter itself is.
You read to understand how the writer solved the particular problem at hand. How they solved it can be applied elsewhere. When I finally understood that, I was off and running.
Important for Slave Research
For those of us researching enslaved ancestors, we know this is some of the most difficult research the field will ever see, for a multitude of reasons.
I have a collection of slavery-related journal articles that have shown me the “how.” They’ve also in many cases introduced me to new sources and new ways to use them.
Below, I share my list with you and encourage you to order copies and add them to your own collection of research tools.
If you are a member of the National Genealogical Society you can go online and download most of these articles. Or, you can view and copy the articles from a research library or archives.
I prefer National Genealogical Society (NGS) Quarterly, but it’s not the only genealogical journal. There are also publications like The American Genealogist, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and state journals like The Virginia Genealogist. A personal favorite for me is the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, since I’m in and write about Maryland families.
Find one you enjoy and can subscribe to or regularly view (at your local library or archives).
African-American/Slave/Slavery-Related NGS Articles
Morna Lahnice Hollister, “The Kennedy-Burns Family of South Carolina and New York,” NGS Quarterly 106 (December 2018): 245-262.
Nancy A. Peters, “Hiram Cochran, Freedman of Abbeville County, South Carolina,” NGS Quarterly 106 (September 2018): 165-180.
William A. Cox, From Slavery to Society: The Jerry Moore Family of Virginia and Pennsylvania,” NGS Quarterly 103 (December 2015): 281-304. (Winner)
Michael G. Hait, “Free and Enslaved: John and Melinda Human/Newman of Talbot County County and Baltimore, Maryland,” NGS Quarterly 103 (June 2015): 115-127.
Morna Lahnice Hollister, “Goggins and Goggans of South Carolina: DNA Helps Document the Basis of an Emancipated Family’s Surname,” NGS Quarterly 102 ( September 2014): 165-176.
Paul K. Graham, “A Love Story Proved: The Life and Family of Laura Lavinia (Kelly) Combs of Atlanta and August, Georgia,” NGS Quarterly 101 (December 2013: 245-266. (Winner)
Michael Hait, “In the Shadow of Rebellions: Maryland Ridgelys in Slavery and Freedom,” NGS Quarterly 100 (December 2012): 245-266. (Winner)
Ruth Randall, “Washington and Lewis Giboney, Company G, 102nd Regiment, United States Colored Troops: Runaway Slaves or Free Men of Color?” NGS Genealogy 99 (September 2011): 227-233. (Notes)
Morna Lahnice Hollister, “Using Freedman’s Bank Registers to Trace Enslaved Families: A South Carolina McFall Example, NGS Quarterly 99 (June 2011): 125-32. (Notes & Documents)
Alycon Trubey Pierce, “Slave Records Correct Cato West’s Confused Ancestry,” NGS Quarterly 99 (March 2011): 5-14.
Melinde Lutz Sanborn, “Zipporah in Her Own Right: An African in Early Boston,” NGS Quarterly 97 (March 2010): 15-30.
Daniela Moneta, “Virginia Pughs and North Carolina Wests: A Genetic Link from Slavery in Kentucky,” NGS Quarterly 97 (September 2009): 179-194.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Documenting a Slave’s Birth, Parentage and Origins: Marie Therese Coincoin, 1742-1816: A Test of Oral History,” NGS Quarterly 96 (December 2008): 245-266.
Ruth Randall, “Family Lore and Effects of Slavery on the Black Psyche: Rosa Grammar’s Choice,” NGS Quarterly 97 (June 2009): 85-96
Ruth Randall, “A Family for Suzanne,” NGS Quarterly 95 (December 2007): 281-302.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Which Marie Louise is ‘Mariotte’? Sorting Slaves with Common Names,” NGS Quarterly 94 (September 2006): 183-204.
Curtis Brasfield, “Tracing Slave Ancestors: Batchelor, Bradley, Branch and Wright of Desha County, Arkansas,” NGS Quarterly 92 (March 2004): 6-30.
Christopher A. Nordmann, “Jumping Over the Broomstick: Resources for Documenting Slave Marriages,” NGS Quarterly 91 (September 2003): 196-216.
Cameron Allen, “Lucinda Depp and Her Descendants: A Freed Black Family of Virginia and Ohio,” The Genealogist 17 (Spring 2003): 3-36.
Del E. Jupiter, “Matilda Madrid: One Woman’s Tale of Bondage and Freedom,” NGS Quarterly 91 (March 2003): 41-59.
Katherine E. Flynn, “Jane Johnson, Found! But Is She ‘Hannah Crafts’? The Search for the Author of The Bondwoman’s Narrative,” NGS Quarterly 90 (September 2002): 165-190.
Douglas Shipley, “Teaming Oral History with Documentary Research: The Enslaved Austins of Missouri’s Little Dixie,” NGS Quarterly 90 (June 2002): 111-135.
Mariann S. Regan, “Generations of Slaves,” NGS Quarterly 106 (June 2018): 123-13.
Gary B. Mills, “Can Researchers ‘Prove’ the ‘Unproveable’? A Selective Bibliography of Efforts to Genealogically Document Children of Master-Slave Relationships,” NGS Quarterly 89 (September 2001): 234-237.
Ruth Randall, “An Interracial Suit for Inheritance: Clues to Probable Paternity for a Georgia Freedmen, Henry Clay Heard Sherman,” NGS Quarterly 89 (June 2001): 85-97.
Rachel Mills Lennon, “Mother, Thy Name is Mystery! Finding the Slave Who Bore Philomene Daurat,” NGS Quarterly 88 (September 2000): 201-224.
Del E. Jupiter, “From Augustina to Ester: Analyzing a Slave Household for Child-Parent Relationships,” NGS Quarterly 85 (December 1997): 245-275.
Rudena Kramer Mallory, “An African-American Odyssey through Multiple Surnames: Mortons, Tapps, and Englishes of Kansas and Missouri,” NGS Quarterly 85 (March 1997) 25-38.
Donna R. Mills, “Racheal ‘Fanny’ Devereaux/Martin of Alabama and Florida, A Free Woman of Color,” The American Genealogist 70 (January 1995): 37-41.
Curtis Brasfield, “To My Daughter and the Heirs of her Body: Slave Passages as Illustrated by the Latham-Smithwick Family,” NGS Quarterly 81 (December 1993): 270-82.
Ruth Randall, “Robert Stanhop: Dehumanized-Ignored-Reinvented,” NGS
Quarterly (June 2017): 131-138.
C. Bernard Ruffin III, “In Search of the Unappreciated Past: The Ruffin-Cornick Family of Virginia,” NGS Quarterly 81 (June 1993): 126-38.
Gary B. Mills, “Tracing Free People of Color in the Antebellum South: Methods, Sources and Perspectives,” NGS Quarterly 78 (December 1990): 262-78
Johni Cerny, “From Maria to Bill Cosby: A Case Study in Tracing Black Slave Ancestry,” NGS Quarterly 75 (March 1987): 5-14.
This list is by no means all-inclusive, and if you know about some I haven’t included but should, please contact me.
Until then, happy reading, family!
I am an engineer by day, but my true passion lies in genealogy. I have been a researcher, writer, lecturer and teacher for over twenty years. This blog is where I share family history methods, resources, tips and advice, with an emphasis on slave research, slavery and its aftermath. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my family’s past. I’ve taken back– reclaimed– some of that lost memory, especially that of my enslaved ancestors. I hope you’ll sign up to receive my posts—if you do, you’ll get a free PDF with some of my favorite tips! And please do share posts that interest you.