Free Persons of Color…continued

Beginning in the December 2008 episode of this Virginia Genealogy Blog, I started a bibliography of  “Free Persons of Color and All Other Free Persons.”  Now, I want to broaden that list to include studies of importance on slavery in Virginia.

There is much interest.  And a considerable amount of new research–genealogical and historical–for you to draw on.  Free persons of color are more intelligible when studied within context of slavery.

Add these studies to your reading list:

  1. Bancroft, Frederic.  Slave Trading in the Old South. Columbia SC:  University of South Carolina Press, 1996.  Bancroft was a contemporary author.  His work is here edited with a new introduction by Michael Tadman.  Many specific examples are presented.  Good index.
  2. Breen, T.H., and Stephen Innes.  “Myne Owne Ground:”  Race and Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1980.  A study of Black Virginia family migrations–Johnson, Rodriggus, Cane families featured.
  3. Gammell, Paula.  “Review:  A Critical Evaluation of Sally Hemmings Children, A Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence,” East Tennessee Roots 9 (Number 2): 159-71.  Gammell calls for separating fact from fiction, truth from Lies, proof from speculation.  See pages 148-59.
  4. Kegley, Mary B.  Free People of Colour:  Free Negroes, Indians, Portuguese, and Freed Slaves. Wytheville VA:  Kegley Books, 2003.  Data drawn from Augusta, Wythe, Montgomery, Giles, Pulaski, Lee, Russell, Scott, Carroll, and Washington counties.  Some examples from Powhatan, Chesterfield, Goochland, Northumberland, Richmond, Louisa, and Henry counties.  Well indexed.
  5. Leary, Helen F.M.  “Sally Hemmings Children:  A  Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 89 (Sept 2001): 165-217.  Important article.
  6. MacDonald, Joy.  Online database, Handley Regional Library Archives website Covers 1795-1862 for old Frederick County (including Berkeley, Jefferson, and Shenandoah until 1772, Page until 1831, and Clarke and Warren until 1836).  Personal property tax lists which contain expanded information for some years–spouse, age, occupation.
  7. Schweninger, Loren, etal.  Runaway Slaves:  Rebels on the Plantation. New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999.  Computer-generated Runaway Slave Database: 1790-1816, 1838-1860.  Some 8,400 entries from Newspaper ads appearing in VA, NC, SC, TN, LA.  Extensive, chatty footnotes.
  8. Tadman, Michael.  Speculators and Slaves:  Masters, Traders, Slaves in the Old South. Madison WI:  University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.  2nd edition of book first appearing in 1989.  Includes extensive list of sources and Appendix 2:  “Structure of Planter Migrations.” Highly recommended.
  9. Williams, Gary M. “Links Before Emancipation:  Afro-American Slave Genealogy in Virginia,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 32 (Number 1):  3-10.  Discussion of the complexities of slave naming patterns–unraveling the origins of the names requires determining the origin of the slaves on the plantation as well as tracing the genealogy of white owners–often white owners on several plantations.  Important article.

Watch the evidence carefully–this is the advice of most of these studies.  What appears as the easy answer, is frequently wrong!  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  At the Colorado Family History EXPO 25-26 June in Longmont CO,  I will speak on the importance of Naming Patterns to prove origins of American families.  When you register for the conference at you can access my handout online.  The information in this handout alone is worth the cost of the conference.  True story.

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