Finding Records for African-Americans Prior to 1870

Slave Schedules
Tax Records
Databases – Louisiana
Probate Records
County Records
Plantation/Farm Records
Manumission Records

Enslaved persons were not noted (by name) in the, most, census schedules prior to 1870 (the first census after the Civil War and Emancipation.) This is known as the 1870 Brick Wall. Over the next few weeks, I’ll talk a little more how to break down brick wall. It is critical to start with yourself and then work your way back with proper documentation. This is critical so that you don’t spend time researching a family line that isn’t yours. Some people are fortunate enough to have oral history passed down which tells which ancestors were enslaved. Others have to do the research the hard way. To find out about enslaved people you must also research the life and records of the enslaving family. Enslaved people were considered property so often their names were listed with other farm resources, tools, animals. Enslaved person were often times used as collateral for loans. Names were also listed in wills and probate records. In South Central KY Sandi Gorin and Michelle Gorin have transcribed many county courthouse records that are available for purchase. See if anyone has done this for the area you are researching.
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

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