16 August 2014

HOW CAN I FIND MY GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER'S SLAVE SHIP AND PLACE OF BIRTH?

QUESTION for ANCESTRY WORSHIP GENEALOGY

HOW CAN I FIND MY GREAT GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER'S SLAVE SHIP AND PLACE OF BIRTH IN AFRICA?

ANSWER:

There is no one way this is done, when it is possible.  Learning the actual nation can be about DNA rather than following documentation as the documentation may not exist.  Slave Ship databases may help you learn about what ships went where but do not have slave names.  But in order to gather information to set you on the right path you still have to methodically go back in time and learn as much as you can about the history and culture of that time and place. Don't take wild leaps going back 100 years or more. Also expect to research around her, following her children and other relations you may have never met.

You have shown me your great great great grandmother is on the 1870 census and so let's take a good look at that census page.

Here is what I think:

First this is only five years after Emancipation and yet she is living in a farmstead with a planter and her daughter and their family where she is listed as being the mother in law of the head of household.  The value of this farmstead is such I believe that this planter did not earn a huge sum of money in five years.  I also see that the neighbors are listed as W while he and his family are listed as B.  They are not living in a B ghetto.  I believe that pre emancipation this person was free so look at the regular U.S.  census (free person's rather than slave registers) and continue backward as far as you can, to come up with a possible date of freedom.  Maybe the planter was born free.  Maybe he bought the freedom of his wife and mother in law.  If so there may be records of the transactions or court hearings.

Then there is the issue of his wife who would be a child of your GGG Grandmother.   I see based on children that they have been together for a good 10 years before Emancipation. I want you to follow her and her family forward.  I want you to see if you can get a possible death era or date for her.  Then check with the present day county of their location to find out where any possible death records might be kept.  it is possible that if the daughter lived as many years as her mother than she just might be on a civil register.  If they didn't have civil records in this time and place, perhaps church records.  You want to find the daughter's death record because it may name her parents even if it is a notation by a priest at her funeral Mass.  Likewise following the GGG Grandmother forward  you may try for a record of her death, hoping that there is familial information on it.

Obituaries are not out of the question and local Louisiana historical societies and libraries may help.

You show that on the 1870 your GGG Grandmother is listed as coming from Africa and family history is that she came into New Orleans.  You want to check New Orleans resources.  Make some phone calls and find out what they have or know that might help you.

Additionally the surname of the family group in 1870 is not the surname spelling that was brought forward.  Be sensitive to that.  I ran a Freedman's bank record check for this surname and came up with nothing.  However the English variant had many records.  My sense is that this family had no Freedman Bank account because they were already free.

Ancestry has some New Orleans slave ship manifests.

Here is the SLAVE VOYAGES (TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE SHIP DATABASE)  it lists ship names and captains.

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall (who is of Russian and Polish Jewish ancestry and a historian) is highly respected for what became a life's work and great contribution to slave research.  This is a link  about her work:

THE LOUISIANA SLAVE DATABASE AND THE LOUISIANA FREE DATABASE: NPS GOV GUIDE   (I believe this is a compact disk for purchase.)

A couple years ago another database became available from the Archdiocese of New Orleans.   ARCHIVES LOUISIANA - CATHOLIC CHURCH -BAPTISMALS SLAVE AND FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR   It begins with a note about how it was written in Spanish and to convert French names into their Spanish equivalents - or at least be sensitive that this may have happened.  Try for her daughter first since you know her birth year from the census.


GOOD LUCK!  Check in with me after you've done all this!

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