The key period of time for many African Americans searching for their Southern ancestors is with the 1870 U. S. federal Census. This census was the first to name individual blacks by name. Anything before then was by a listing of the enslaved people with Wills, estate sales or slave schedules.
One region of the South known as the Low Country covers the eastern coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia and into northeastern Florida. In the 18th and 19th centuries it ws the section of the country for major rice production in the low tidal marshes. The online site of LowCountry Africana tries to assist the researcher in this region.
Among the more interesting links the site has is the listing of former slaves or second generation freed slaves who were interviewed with the Federal Writer’s Project of the mid-1930s. This compilation has a couple hundred names in alphabetical order. Their location in South Carolina, Georgia or Florida is listed along with the name of the former slave holder or the name of the plantation they lived on. Alongside is a link with a brief description and the connecting link for the actual typed interviews for the Federal Writer’s Project of these former slaves.
There is such a variety of individuals, all with their own story which has been preserved. There is Charley Barber from the Barber Plantation in Winnsboro, S. C., along with John James owned by Madison Brooks in Spartanburg, S. C., or Randall Lee owned by the Miller family of Jacksonville, FL, and Edith Napoleon owned by Sammis family of FL and the Floyd family of GA.
The site features other collections relating to African Americans from the Low Country of the southeastern region of the United States. There are scanned digital images of Wills and inventories from plantation estates. A Will written by James Shoolbred from Charleston, S. C. in November 1847 clearly listed the given names of his slaves and what was to happen to them after his death. This document lists the names of slave who were parents and the names of their children.
These types of sources are one of the main methods to retrace the footsteps of African American ancestors prior to 1865.< Return To Blog my great grandfather, Henry Murphy roots began in Faison,Duplin county, nc. I am trying to find his parents. Records indicates nc. to be their birthplace. Is there any help you can render? Thank You