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Enslaved Ancestor Found Using 1914 Ad

Enslaved Ancestor Found Using 1914 Ad

It was while recently writing about Mike Fendricks’ family that I made one of the biggest discoveries in 25 years. I recovered the identity of my 2nd great-grandmother, an enslaved woman named Salina Sherrod. It was my favorite gift this year! This discovery illustrated two concepts I often recommend. First, everyone should write up their […]

Examining Slaves in Inventories

Examining Slaves in Inventories

Inventories are one of the key documents researchers use as evidence to support their assertion of slaveownership. Before 1865, a slaveholder’s estate inventory includes their enslaved property. They vary in the information that they provide, but remain an important source for those researching African Americans. What is an Inventory? The inventory is a report of […]

Never Rely On Just the Census

Never Rely On Just the Census

  Ah, the census. The glorious census. It’s such an important document in genealogy, I would venture to say even a foundational document. But its flaws are many. Those who rely on only the census to reconstruct their ancestral families do so at the risk of recreating a family inaccurately. Take for example the case of my ancestor […]

Marriage Records: Look Out for Multiple ...

Marriage Records: Look Out for Multiple Marriages

Marriage records are a foundational record for genealogists. I have discussed many times  how finding a female ancestor’s new married name led to breakthroughs. Most of us automatically think of that when we suddenly “lose” woman. What hasn’t come naturally for me yet is anticipating multiple marriages. Maybe two marriages is the maximum my mind […]

Estate Inventories: Peek Into Their Live...

Estate Inventories: Peek Into Their Lives

For those doing African-American research, antebellum estate inventories are commonly used to find enslaved ancestors. But all genealogists should make it a regular practice to examine all the items in an inventory. This practice will help us understand our ancestor’s day-to-day lives. Scrutinizing inventories can provide many interesting little details to make a written family […]

A White Father: Direct Evidence

A White Father: Direct Evidence

My friend Aaron has made an incredible find that I wanted to share because it is such a rarity. Many people researching former slaves have encountered interracial children in their family trees. Enslaved women frequently had children with white men. Enslaved women did not own their own bodies and were commonly sexually abused. Sometimes the […]

 
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