My research has led me beyond 1870 and into the days of slavery, where my desire to know may be at odds with others’ desire to forget. I have searched for the beginnings of my bloodline in wills, deeds, bills of sale, estate papers and newspaper clippings.
But I’ve found out so much more about the families that may or may not have owned my ancestors. I’ve retraced the steps and they have taken me places I never imagined: to South Carolina and a man who fought in the Creek Indian Wars in Alabama. To a Confederate solider who is said to have attended to Gen. Robert E. Lee during the Civil War.
I’ve come across dozens of names of slaves, but none of them are my people. I feel like I’m literally clicking all around the slave-slaveowner connection. Or maybe I’ve unknowingly thumbed past an ancestor’s name in one of the hundreds of pages I’ve read.
Thanks to U.S. Census slave schedules, I know the names of possible slaveowners, but the slaves themselves are simply reflected as tallies indicating age, sex and color. So my search continues for those who some would prefer remain nameless and faceless.
While researching these families and witnessing virtual family reunions via genealogy forum threads, I’ve often wondered if my queries about my ancestors and their connections to these families would be received with as much interest in zeal as the others. Well, I’m tired of wondering. I have some queries to post. Stay tuned!