Genealogists of any level can tell you how good it feels to find a clue and solve a mystery. My latest discovery is particularly gratifying because it is notoriously difficult to find enslaved ancestors, and I’ve been searching for this particular detail for seven years.
My third-great-grandfather was a man named Alfred Dobbins. I had long suspected he was once the property of the Dobbins family, having belonged to Moses Dobbins Jr. of Stewart County Ga., and before that, Moses Dobbins Sr., of Walton County, Ga. I had found quite a few documents that brought me to this conclusion–including an 1867 oath stating that Alfred Dobbins was a Georgia native, but not from Stewart County–but I couldn’t find a document to confirm my hunch. Until this morning.
I finally found probate papers for Moses Dobbins Sr., a rector of the grammar school at the University of Georgia who died in Walton County, Ga. in 1847. I was able to find an inventory of his belongings, and there listed among his slaves was a 23-year-old man named Alfred.
“That’s him!” I thought! “This is my great-great-great-grandfather!”
This inventory of the goods and chattel belonging to Moses W. Dobbins shows my third great-grandfather, Alfred Dobbins. He is listed among the slaves belonging to Moses Dobbins.
Everything matched up– if Alfred was 23 years old in January 1847, he would’ve been born around 1824, which is what the other documents stated.
I also noticed something else familiar– the names of the enslaved who Moses Dobbins had bequeathed to his wife, Edith. My earlier research had brought me to Edith Dobbins’ will, dated 1848. I also noticed that the names on the inventory list seem to be namesakes of Alfred’s children, including Laura Dobbins, my great-great-grandmother.
Now that I have confirmation, I’ll see if I can connect any other dots and find Alfred’s parents and/or siblings.