Friday, February 7, 2014

Presidential Library for Slave Research

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum
Did You Know?
A slave was sold every 3.6 minutes between 1820-1860 totaling about two (2) million slaves.  Almost four (4) million persons were enslaved by 1860 (3,950,528) by 398,975 slave masters.

These facts posted at the entrance of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum exhibit in Springfield, Illinois either entice visitors to explore the Lincoln era or bypass these dark years of Civil War facts posted on walls and plaques.Perhaps the latter explains the constant flow of patrons to the adjacent Subway.

Know the Era Statistics and Social Implication
Knowing Civil War era data and statistics may assist the genealogists in solidifying pre-civil war ancestors' social and historical climate. Analyzing state Civil War era as well as local, regional, and national events and political climate, will assist in developing your ancestor's war-era life. The divisiveness caused by this war was not just between Missouri and Kansas or north vs. south.  It was reflected within families, neighbors and broader communities. 

Slavery or Slave Owner Research
African American Slavery Research
Quarterly postings of its New Genealogy Resources are available on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum website. Hosted on the Illinois Historical Preservation (IHPA) is the "Generations of Pride",  an African American chronology from 1619 to present day; and a listing of African American Genealogy Resources at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. 

Slave Master Research
Slave research is extended to slave masters.  Did your ancestor increase his net worth through slave "property?"  Did your ancestor not enumerate slaves in the 1850 and 1860 slave census? Perhaps this clue will illuminate your ancestor's political, religious or economic standing in the community and on the issue of slavery.  Perhaps your ancestor's pre-civil war emancipation of slaves reveals a bit on the issue.  Melvin Patrick Ely's book Israel on the Appomattox "describes how Richard Randolph [white], a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, left land upon his death for his former slaves to build new lives for themselves..."[1] In this story, Randolph's character unfolds through slave research.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (ALPL) Research
Genealogists often overlook the resources held at the various Presidential libraries, however much is awaiting the researcher. There are 13 Presidential libraries that are governed by the National Archives, but others, like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (ALPL), is governed by a state agency and/or preservation organization.  

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (ALPL), in Springfield Illinois, has been progressive in preserving pre-twentieth century genealogy.  This library actively invites family researchers to visit its growing genealogical collections.

Kathleen Brandt

Originally posted 10 Sept 2011

[1] NPR website accessed 10 Sep 2011. Book in author's personal library.

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