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Slave Mortgages

Slave Mortgages

Human collateral provided much of the capital for slaveholders to purchase more land and more slaves. This, in addition to enslaved people’s free labor, created much of the 18th century wealth that US growth and development depended upon. Edward Baptist elucidates how slavery drove capitalism in his book, The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery […]

How Many Slaveowners Were in the South?

How Many Slaveowners Were in the South?

This is the third in a series of posts (see previous posts here and here) where I am asking us all to consider reevaluating some of our beliefs surrounding slavery. People everywhere like to make the point that: “Only one in three southerners held slaves.” Why do people say that? It’s often a part of […]

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. […]

Slaves are in the FAN Club, Too

Slaves are in the FAN Club, Too

Genealogists often use cluster research as a research strategy. As a shorthand, you will often hear people call this idea finding your ancestor’s “FAN” club: their friends, associates and neighbors. Expanding your focus to a group of people as opposed to one couple or one nuclear family dramatically increases your chances of solving tough research problems. […]

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 […]

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 […]

 
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