|Search The Guild of One-Name Studies on FamilySearch.org|
You might raise the question: "How can the Genealogies database benefit people researching African American ancestors?" I have been researching my great grandfather "John Henry Foster" for decades. He died in 1899, and he would have been born after 1880 which means he would not appear on a census. The only record I have for him is his marriage to his wife Mary Elizabeth Patterson (Mayliza) in Mississippi.
After his death, the family lived in Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi. I would like to learn as much as possible about this family before taking a research trip. Since researching the family group has not helped determine anymore about John, perhaps studying the people with the same name living in this geographical area will provide clues.
I am hesitant to exclude down to only African American people with the surname Foster because it might cause me to miss important clues. Even though a person may not be African American, a person with the same last name living in the same area may lead to a former enslaver, and I do not know as of yet if Fosters were enslaved or free prior to 1865. Anyone by that name living in the area prior to 1900 may lead me to historical documentation.
- Access the collection by going to FamilySearch.org
- Enter your surname (I also entered Mississippi for a location)
- Click Search.
|Result of searching "Foster and Mississippi" in Genealogies Collection at FamilySearch.org|
Next, figured out how to locate the Guild of One-Name Studies Collection on FamilySearch.org from The Guild of One-Name Studies is Now Available at FamilySearch.org. When you search the Genealogies collection, you need to click the "All' button next to the blue "Search" button. Select Guild of One-Name Studies from the list (See the screenshot of this search above). Then click search. You will get results from only that collection.
I know Foster is probably not the original name for my family as far as I can tell, but it is interesting to know the earliest mention of that surname. One of the earliest Foster mentioned in the collection is Bridget Foster (supposedly married in 1767) from Liverpool. Now get this! I could actually research the Fosters who came from places in England (births, marriages, etc.) AND migrated to the United States AND migrated or had descendants who migrated to Mississippi. This could connect me to people who might have enslaved my family. I am envisioning courthouse records already. I just need to exhaust the possibilities in the database. Long shots right? Well, it is better than what I had before, nothing!
I could also trace the Foster's living in the area that my Foster's lived in Mississippi to see if they are related to me or if they are part of the slave holding family. This could link me to clues about my own family. Anyway, I hope you can appreciate this little synopsis of how I include new collections to my own research. If you want to learn more about The Guild of One-Name Studies, visit Guild of One-Name Studies on FamilySearch Wiki and Guild of One-Name Studies.