Copyrights @ Journal 2014 - Designed By Templateism - SEO Plugin by MyBloggerLab

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Untangling the Genealogy of the Former Slaveholder and Enslaved

Share
The life of the slave holder was extremely complicated and can be very sensitive subject matter for slave owning descendants and the descendants of those formerly enslaved. If you discover in your research that slavery was a part of your family history, you automatically are faced with decision as to how deeply you want to explore the relationships between these two groups of people. Some of you will be brave enough face the realities and follow a desire to gather the facts and get the record straight, but you lack the understanding of how to do so. This article is the first in a series meant to offer guidance in untangling the past. It will cover ways to help you identify the existence of slavery in your family and those involved through the use of
  • oral history
  • census records
  • records between 1865-1870

Oral history

Write down your memory of stories or oral history that was passed on to you mentioning your family having been involved somehow in the enslavement of others or having ancestors who were enslaved. Ask other family members if they have any knowledge about the existence of slavery in the family.

Does anyone recall your family having or being servants? Sometimes formerly enslaved people continued to live with or serve the slave holding family for generations after slavery ended. If your ancestor had or was a servant, was your family acquainted with other members of their family? How did you come to know them?
Is there a servant’s quarters on the premises of your ancestor’s property? Does anyone in the family remember ancestor’s having any ties or interaction to people that could have been forged during slavery?

Record the information that you discover about people and events. Keep in mind that details can get distorted over time. Not all oral history is accurate, but it can be a help to lead you to actual documentation where it can be proven or disproved.

1880 US Census

1900 US Census "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12342-41116-96?cc=1325221&wc=M94B-Q7N:704303751 : accessed 30 Nov 2013), South Carolina > Union > ED 69 Goshen Hill Township; citing NARA microfilm
A search of the 1880 US Census did not result in locating an Anderson Chick, however a search for Sarah Chick led to the discovery of an Anderson Eigner living with his mother, Eliza, and siblings next door to Sarah and her nephew, John Henderson in Goshen Hill, Union, South Carolina.

Anderson appearing with a different last name than Chick could have thrown the researcher off the trail had not it been for Sarah Chick living next door. No family oral history existed which mentioned any other surname used other than Chick.

1870 US Census

1870 US Census "United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11771-43676-86?cc=1438024&wc=M94H-TDH:971780602 : accessed 30 Nov 2013), South Carolina > Union > Goshen Hill; citing NARA microfilm publication M5
A search of the 1880 US Census did not result in locating an Anderson Chick, however a search for Sarah Chick led to the discovery of an Anderson Eigner living with his mother, Eliza, and siblings next door to Sarah and her nephew, John Henderson in Goshen Hill, Union, South Carolina.

Anderson appearing with a different last name than Chick could have thrown the researcher off the trail had not it been for Sarah Chick living next door. No family oral history existed which mentioned any other surname used other than Chick.

Name changes
Anderson changed his name at least three times between 1870 and 1900. He went from Maybin to Eigner, to Chick. All those years he lived in close proximity to of Pettus Chick. Questions begin to surmount as a result of these unexpected discoveries:
  • Why did Anderson change his name to Chick?
  • Why did Eliza name her second eldest son, Pettis/Pettus?
  • Why did Anderson name one of his sons Pettis?
  • Why did Anderson and Eliza remain living so close to this family?
  • Was Pettus Chick a former slave owner?
It is not uncommon for formerly enslaved people to change their names. Some took on a completely new surname; others kept the surnames of former slave owners.
It is no longer possible to move forward to discover more about either family without researching the lives of each person from both family groups. Before moving back to the 1860 US Census, it would be more useful to learn more about records that can fill the information gap between 1865 and 1870.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

Now Study Your Last Name with Genealogies on FamilySearch.org

Search The Guild of One-Name Studies on FamilySearch.org I received the press release included below about collections of The Guild of...

GeneaBloggers

RootsTech 2017 Ambassador

RootsTech 2017 Speaker