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Archive for August 2010


The Beginning Genealogist from Angela Walton-Raji

New Website The Beginning Genealogist, from Angela Walton-Raji
     Want to begin an African American ancestor search, but don't know where to start? Go to The Beginning Genealogist by Angela Walton-Raji to learn how and where to begin.
     The Beginning Genealogist is dedicated to learning sound research methods for African American genealogy. Angela Walton-Raji takes you from the desire to learn your family's heritage, through the research process, and on to documenting and sharing your family history - a long journey.
Highlights of the website:
Basic Documents - Most everyone who lived left a document trail somewhere, but sometimes the information in the documents may conflict. What do you do when this happens?
Oral History - how to plan, conduct and follow up on, oral history interviews with your family members.
Civil War Ancestors - this page is especially relevant in the Lowcountry as so many African Americans left plantations to join Union forces.
American Indian Ancestors - detailed instructions on how to research Native American genealogy.
Researching Slavery Era - It is difficult to find enslaved ancestors before the 1870 Census; the first to list Freedmen with surnames. How do you make the research leap from 1870 to earlier?
Tell the Family Story - OK, you have followed all of The Beginning Genealogist's principles and you have learned your family's history. How do you share that history and preserve it so other can connect with your research?
Instructional Videos - Angela Walton-Raji discusses basic genealogical research.
Beginner's Links - learn where to begin researching your Lowcountry African American roots.
     If you are just beginning your heritage research, The Beginning Genealogist is the perfect starting point. Learn how to begin, how to go forward, how to share what you have learned.

New at Georgia's Virtual Vault: Unindexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930


Georgia Non-Indexed Death Certificates, 1928-1930

     The Georgia State Archives has added unindexed Death Certificates to Georgia's Virtual Vault. This Death Certificate search system is provided as an interim solution until the records for 1928-1930 can be indexed and added to the Death Certificate Collection. Many users have asked for these records, so The Georgia State Archives is providing them with scanned images of the original Vital Records index.
     While you are there, be sure to check out these other valuable collections at Georgia's Virtual Vault: 
     Georgia's Virtual Vault is an extraordinary resource for genealogy research in Georgia. We hope you find some great new leads there!
Happy Ancestor Hunting from LCA!

The Lowcountry Africana Resource Library by Michael Hait: Principles of Sound Genealogical Research


The Lowcountry Africana Resource Library by Michael Hait: Principles of Sound Genealogical Research

 Finding a record on Lowcountry Africana that names an ancestor is exciting. But how can you use that record to further your family research?

Genealogist/historian Michael Hait, Coordinator of the Lowcountry Africana Genealogy Resource Library, offers advice for conducting sound genealogical research, documenting sources and evaluating evidence. Michael's library is growing. We invite you to visit and enjoy!

Here is sampling of the offerings in Michael's Resource Library:

What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?

The Genealogical Proof Standard provides an outline for sound and responsible genealogical research. By subscribing to its standards, you can ensure that your research will be as accurate as possible.

What Constitutes a Genealogical Source Record?

Under the current standards of genealogical proof, source citation and analysis are supreme. But what constitutes a genealogical source record?

Evaluating a Source Record

One important aspect of the Genealogical Proof Standard is its focus on the principles of sound record analysis. Using these principles, you will be able to distinguish between different types of record, information, and evidence and use these distinctions, together with other factors, to determine the reliability of your facts.
In the last article, we discussed the various terms and considerations necessary to properly evaluate source records.  Here we will apply this process to a record relating to the Lowcountry...
The entire content of Lowcountry Africana is, and always will be, 100% free. We invite you to enjoy, and share your comments on, the articles in Michael's Resource Library!

Dr. A.E. Gibbes: Former Slaveholder of Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard and Harry Rivers

Dr. E.A. Gibbes: Former Slaveholder of Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard and Harry Rivers, Colleton County, SC
     In March of 1866, Dr. E.A. Gibbes, former slaveholder and owner of a plantation in Colleton County, SC near the settlement of Adam's Run, wrote to Lieutenant Jesse S. Craig of the 35th U.S.C.T. Infantry, outlining the terms of the labor agreement he had entered into with five freedmen to cultivate his plantation for one year.
     His letter reveals that he was the former slaveholder for freedmen Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard and Harry Rivers. Below is the remarkable letter which connects E.A. Gibbes with these five freedmen:
"Letter of Dr. Gibbes Giving Terms of Contract with Freed People on His Plantation"
Charleston, S.C.
March 9, 1866
Lieut. Jesse S. Craig
35th U.S.C.T. Inftry.
Comd. Post

Dear Sir,
     Your letter of March 3rd requesting information regarding my plantation near Adam's Run, &c has been received & in reply I would state, that the lands, premises, & c are leased for one year from Jan 1st 1866 to Samuel Gibbes, Sampson Fenwick, Gainey Singleton, Ancel Guerard & Harry Rivers; Freedmen formerly belonging to me. The terms are Five Bushels of produce to each acre of high land planted to be delivered to me as soon as harvested. I furnish nothing, & have no control over their actions whatever, they being at liberty to contract for labor with who they think proper, irrespective of former owners, & are amenable to the laws, as we all are. I have but little faith in written contracts, as they offer no more security than a verbal understanding between parties disposed to be just, hence this is a verbal contract between persons, who have known each other all their lives, but it was understood, that if the law required one, it must be at their expense. This contract was made as early as the first November 1865, with a reservation on my part, that if the landholders came to any determination, as to what course they would pursue, that I would feel myself bound to c??? with them, but as no such plan was followed, but each has entered upon his own course, I then concluded definitely(?) the terms here named on the 1st January 1866.
     I have been repeatedly invited by them to visit the place, but in consequence of the absence of all comforts, I have not ???? done so, but I now contemplate going up there on Saturday by railroad to Edisto River, & by boat to the plantation, where I shall remain until Tuesday & return, I have no mode of conveyance to Adams Run, but if you will call on the place will be happy to see & confer further with you on Monday.
I remain Yours very Respectfully,
E.A. Gibbes
Document Images:
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     E.A. Gibbes may be Edward Gibbes, listed in Freedmen's Bureau Land Reports for Colleton County. A Dr. E.A. Gibbes is listed on the 1860 Census Slave Schedule holding 46 slaves. 
     Oddly, we were not able to locate Census or other records for the five freedmen listed here. If you have documents or knowledge you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! You can drop us a note at

African American Genealogy Research in the Lowcountry and Beyond: A Resource Guide

African American Genealogy Research in the Lowcountry and Beyond: A Resource Guide
    Researching African American ancestry is challenging for even the most experienced researcher. The Lowcountry Southeast presents additional challenges because of its long and complicated history. Here, we present a resource guide to online, video and print materials to help you get started or keep your family research moving forward!

Research Methods and Getting Started: Online Resources

Tony Burroughs Blog Entry on AC360: Why Tracing Our African Roots is So Difficult
Afrigeneas Beginner's Guide to African American Genealogy: by Dee Parmer Woodtor, author of Finding a Place Called Home: An African-American Guide to Genealogy and Historical Identity (Random House, 1999): The absolute, definitive online guide to African American genealogy!
Building Blocks of African American Genealogy: from, written by Tony Burroughs
The African Roots Channel at many very useful videos on African and African American genealogy research
Oral History Step by Step: from, learn about interviewing family members and others who may know your family's history 
African American Genealogy Examiner: follow Michael Hait here. Michael is developing a series of articles on genealogy basics, such as What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?, A Reasonably Exhaustive Search and Anatomy of the 1910 Census
African American Genealogy Research: by Melvin J. Collier, author of From Mississippi to Africa (2008, Heritage Books) 
African-American Genealogy Basics, presented by Jack Simpson from the Newberry Library in Chicago: free online course in African American genealogy (scroll to the bottom of the page)
History Detectives Video: African American Genealogy Tips: Tukufu talks about the challenges of conducting African American genealogical research and uses examples from the show 

Research Methods and Getting Started: Forums

Slave Research Forum on Afrigeneas: moderated by David Paterson
GenealogyWise: New Social Networking Site Dedicated to Genealogy: like Facebook for genealogists! Since they site launched a week ago it has grown tremendously and now features many resources for African American genealogy research, all created by the research community!
GenealogyWise African-American Interest Groups
GenealogyWise African-American Interest Forums

Research Methods: Books

Black Genesis: A resource Guide Book for African-American Genealogy by James M. Rose and Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG
NEW! Genealogists’ Guide to Documentation and Citing Sources - Emily Anne Croom has developed this free e-book to assist you in citing sources and documenting your research findings.

General African American Genealogy Resources

Afrigeneas : The absolute mothership of African American genealogy: forums, mailing lists, research tutorials, document database 
The USF Africana Heritage Project : Rediscovering records of African American genealogy and history, extensive document database 
African Roots Podcast: by Angela Y. Walton-Raji 
Doll's Genealogy Site: by Doll Hargrove: extensive document collection, historical information, blog and more 
US African American Griots: USGenWeb special project: document database and more
Cyndi's List: The definitive collection of Internet genealogy links
Linkpendium: Astoundingly exhaustive county and state-level links
Christine's Genealogy Website | Who are your people?: Directories of searchable databases, extensive transcriptions, new historical documents coming online here daily
WeRelate: The World's Largest Genealogy Wiki: Customized for African American Genealogy
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database: information on almost 35,000 voyages of ships involved in the Atlantic slave trade
African DNA: Paternal and Maternal DNA testing
African American Military History: comprehensive site with resources on African Americans' service in all major wars

Lowcountry Southeast African American Genealogy Resources (SC, GA and FL)

Lowcountry Africana: free website dedicated to African American genealogy and history in SC, GA and FL. Searchable document database
Lowcountry Africana Digital Library: more than two thousand primary documents for SC, GA and FL
Gullah Roots by Wevonneda Minis: Gullah Roots is the collective term for family history projects of Wevonneda Minis, who writes Kinship, the genealogy column of the Post and Courier, daily newspaper, in Charleston, S.C. 
Sankofa-Gen Wiki: community-created wiki database of plantations and the slave trade
African American Cemeteries Online: by B.J. Smothers of Afrigeneas, includes extensive cemetery transcriptions for the Lowcountry Southeast
Christine's Genealogy Website | Who are your people?: Directories of searchable databases, extensive transcriptions relevant to the Lowcountry, new historical documents coming online here daily
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: search for ancestors who served in the U.S. Colored Troops
The Freedmen's Bureau Online: Transcriptions of Freedmen's Bureau records for several states, from Christine's Genealogy Website. Extsensive transcriptions for Lowcountry FL, GA and SC. A must for your Lowcountry research toolkit
Black Loyalists: Our History, Our People: Hundreds of Lowcountry African Americans evacuated the Lowcountry with British troops after the American Revolution and migrated to Nova Scotia. Follow their trails here 
Digital Library of American Slavery: abstracts of court and legislative petitions related to slavery, many SC, GA and FL records here
Slavery Era Insurance Registry: records of slavery-era insurance policies on enslaved people, many SC, GA and FL records listed
The Large Slaveholder Project: Essential starting point for identifying slaveholders by state
Documenting the American South: from the University of North Carolina, an extensive collection of digitized manuscripts and plantation journals, many Lowcountry resources fully digitized
Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements: The more than 2,900 transcriptions of Revolutionary War Pension Statements here contain a wealth of information about slaveholders and enslaved people in Georgia, The Carolinas and Virginia. Anyone may contribute transcriptions to this all-volunteer effort.

South Carolina African American Genealogy Resources

South Carolina – African American History and Resources at a world of resources for African American history and genealogy in SC
Lowcountry Plantations by Johnie Rivers: extensive database on plantations of the SC Lowcountry

South Carolina City Directories - Online

Charleston 1851, Charleston 1852, Charleston 1882, Charleston 1888
Census of the City of Charleston, South Carolina: for the Year 1861: full-text online at Google Books. Many free African Americans are listed in this Census.
African Passages: The Ashley River Corridor, Charleston, SC: from UNESCO, this site is a multimedia journey through the African American history of rice plantations along the Ashley River in Charleston, SC.
Grimke-Drayton: by Bill Grimke-Drayton, descendant of the Drayton family of Drayton Hall and Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC. Bill's website and work unite descendants of plantation owners and descendants of those who worked on plantations. Write to Bill:
Gullah Galz Ink: by Ramona La Roche, author of Black America Series: Georgetown County, SC (2000, Arcadia Publishers). Preview this book online at Google Books!

Georgia African American Genealogy Resources

Vanishing Georgia: incredible online collection of primary materials related to Lowcountry GA history, a must-visit if your research includes GA!
Our Georgia Roots: Digging-up our Georgia lineage one Ancestor at a time!
African American Funeral Programs from the East Central Georgia Regional Library: more than 1,000 funeral programs, most from Augusta
Wilkes County Inventories (1853-1869) I: from Luckie Daniels and Our Georgia Roots
Camden County Georgia Deeds, 1786-1881: is an extraordinary complete abstraction of Camden County deeds which name African Americans, from 1786-1881, transcribed and shared by Tara Fields, from her website, The Crypt. 
Doll's Genealogy Site: by Doll Hargrove: extensive document collection and historical information for Macon County, GA

Georgia City Directories - Online:

Savannah, 1888
Georgia Manumission Statute – 1851
Georgia State Archives
Georgia | Camden Co. – The Crypt: Camden County deed records, marriage records, census information, family histories, works by other researchers and, cemetery records (10,000 burials and counting).
Georgia's Virtual Vault
Greene County Heritage: A rich multimedia collection on Greene County, GA history: biographies, music and other sound recordings, images, timelines. A beautiful and fascinating site! 

Florida African American Genealogy Resources

Jacksonville City Directories, 1867-1925: Online images at the Jacksonville Public Library
Florida Memory Collection - from the State Library and Archives of Florida: collection of primary materials on Florida history and heritage
Florida History Online: an incredible compendium of resources and documents on the early history of Florida. Extensive materials on African American history in Florida
Looking for Angola: The Search for a Maroon Community on Florida's Southwest Coast: Learn about the history of Angola, one of the last maroon communities in Florida

Lowcountry Archives and Repositories

Charleston County Public Library: The South Carolina Room houses a non-circulating collection of books, maps, microfilm, and other research materials.

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