In my last post, I vowed to find out who owned my ancestors. I’m not quite there yet, but I have been toying around with some possibilities. There are two surnames I’m focusing on right now: Tindall and Dobbins. Alfred and Rachel Dobbins were my maternal grandmother’s maternal grandparents. Seaborn and Hannah Tindall, as you may recall, were the parents of Frank Gilley, my paternal grandfather’s maternal grandfather.

Here is a crash course in the first steps in identifying ancestors who might have been enslaved. Below is the 1870 U.S. Census taken in the Florence section of Stewart County, Ga. In it, Alfred Dobbins is listed as a head of household.

This Census lists my great-great-great-grandfather, Alfred Dobbins

Many slaves took the surname of their last slaveowner. Using that logic, I decided to look up any white Dobbins living in the area around the same time. This is what I found:

According to the 1870 U.S. Census, Moses Dobbins and his family lived near my great-great-great-grandfather, Alfred Dobbins. Because of the shared surname, I will try to figure out if Moses once owned Alfred

So, it looks like I’m on to something, right? Now that I had identified my ancestor and a white landowner with the same last name living nearby, I checked the 1860 slave schedules to see if said landowner listed any slaves whose ages matched with my ancestor’s.

What did I find? Click MosesDobbins1860SlaveCensus to find out.