Sunday, November 6, 2011

African American Research in Society Journals

Are Your Ancestor’s In Plain Sight?
Are you receiving society journals to assist you in your research? There are County genealogy quarterly journals, like that of Itawamba Settlers, Itawamba County, Mississippi. There are State genealogy journals; like the Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal; and even town genealogical newsletters. The advantage to receiving and reading these journals is that they often publish transcribed newspaper articles, publish local an index of a local cemetery records book , or highlight land and legal (deeds, wills, etc) papers. But are you a subscriber? Have you missed an opportunity to research your ancestor? 
Society memberships usually carry a nominal fee, but I find the journals (sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly) to be extremely valuable. They are very helpful, when I’m researching a religious group or ethnic group.

I find it particularly helpful in African American research. Why? Sometimes family researchers stumble over fascinating things; often out of place and of no value to their own family research, but perhaps revealing of their local area research. They may decide to publish their findings in a local Journal as have John M. Abney and Carole Meltzer Goggin, who have published articles in the Missouri Genealogical Society (MoSGA) Journal.  In just one Journal, XXXI, No 3, 2011, published recently, several articles on slave and African American research were highlighted.  And although I’m featuring the MoSGA Journal here, these types of articles printed in genealogical journals are the norm not an exception. The key is to be a subscriber, and I must admit, I join these Societies for the Journals. But, there are other benefits of being a member. 

From One Journal
Life of Henry Valle (Colored)
John M. Abney highlighted the Life of Henry Valle (colored) known as Uncle Guito.  Henry M. Valle travelled to California and returned to Missouri with his master and purchased his freedom. He later returned to California to amass enough money to purchase his wife’s freedom. He also was one of 50-84 African Americans who helped defend Fort Davidson, Pilot Knob, Mo, from Confederate attacks Sept 1864.   This article held the transcription of Valle’s obituary printed in the Iron County Register, 27 March 1910.

African American Civil War Draft Registrations
Abney also extracted and compiled the African Americans Appearing on Civil War Draft Registration Registers for Missouri’s Third Congressional District. is the source of these extracted records, but Abney, has concentrated his MoSGA journal article for African Americans in the 3rd Congressional District to include county of residence, name and age.  Personally I was surprised there were almost 300 entries listed in this rural Missouri Congressional district.

Manumission Records at Jefferson County, MO.
Carole Meltzer Goggin in her article of A Few Jefferson County Marriages That Were Recorded At the County Seat – Herculaneum not only prints an index of marriages (not African American), but inserts a paragraph to inform the researchers that scattered in early Land Record Books of Jefferson County, Mo, were manumission records.
Why were manumission transactions recorded in Land Record Books? This was common practice in rural areas where there may have only been one place to record property acquisitions and transactions.  And slaves were property.  Keep this is mind when researching for manumission records in any county.

Colored Marriages, Jefferson County, MO
Goggin also provides us with a name index of almost 100 “colored” marriages extracted from the a book dated 1818-1847. However, she warns us that contrary to the dates on the book, the actual marriages recorded are from 1867-1879. 

Slave Extractions in Government Records
“Isam Williams appeared in Court and acknowledged bill of sale to RACHEL BANFORD, thereby manumitting and setting her free.”
This is just one of the entries Goggin extracted in her article Slave Extractions from Jefferson County Missouri Government Records.  The extractions included a free colored who “Emanumits” his wife, sale of slaves, and a slave who was indicted for manslaughter.  

Reasons to Join the Society 
I’m not sure you need more reasons to join the society that prints and publishes on the area of your interests and research.  I have stumbled over more than a few articles that have catapulted my research. 

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers 

1 comment:

  1. The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. African & African American Studies. The Student Research Journal