2/6/99 7:41:41 PM	Opening "WoodtorChat Log 2/6/99"

Slave Research: Finding The Last Legal Slave Owner


Good evening to each and every one of you

It is my pleasure to welcome you  here 2nite

We will be in protocol when the speaker begins

we will start in about 2 minutes.

It is also my pleasure to introduce GFS Ivy who will assist

me in fielding your questions and answers.

GFS Ivy will also keep the queue when the Q&A begins

It is further my pleasure to  introduce GFS Alva

who will introduce our guest tonight


GFS Alva:	

Tonight we are very happy and most fortunate to have with us	

Dr Dee Parmer Woodtor, whom most of us are familiar with.	

She is the author of "a Place Called Down Home".	

and she has worked as a Chicago-based writer and researcher	

who developed her original manuscript while working

at the Chicago Newberry Library

whre she was an outreach foordinator for their Afro-American 

Family history Project.

Tonight she will speak to us on the use of records with the names

of slaves embedded and show us ways to find the lst slave owner.

without further ado,  it is my pleasure to present Dr. Woodtor,

Please go ahead Dr. Woodtor./ga


Thank you. The title of the book is Finding a Place called 

Home pub by Random House, this February.


THe key to slave genealogy is having the last slave owner's name.

If you look at your charts, by the 5th generation, you will 

have to find slave owners for each of those lines.	

This is a difficult task, but not impossible.

I'll divide my talk into 2 parts

Part l: Slave Owner's Name Known 

Part II is Slave Owner's Name Unknown

For a known slave  owner's name you will want to 

do the following:


(1) Know the history of the county very thoroughly

That means, knowing who (Europeans) arrived there 

st, how they got there etc.

This will definitely tell you where they came from 

icluding your ancestors who came with them.

The best way to get a local history is for small 

southern counties is to:

call the local public library at the countyseat & 

ask for the reference librarian	

Then ask her who runs the local historical society, 

what sources are available on the sounty's history etc.


She will put you into contact with a live body,hopefully 

or send you a resource list.

Note that most counties have some kind of written 

local history, and you can often find them in larger 

genealogy libraries.

Once you have the county history, you're ready to begin 

serching for the individual slaveowner.	

Note that I'm emphasisizng the context of research because 

it's always impt.


Focusing on the known last slave owner, you will:

1: locate a genealogy on his family 

2: use that genealogy as a baseline. 

Take note that the info in the slaveowner's genealogy 

has to be taken at face value, but you will have to watch f

or errors and not not pass them along in your own research.

Create a chart of the slaveowner's family (a pedigree chart).


Step 2: Begin research on the slave owner's activities in 

the local court records.


You are looking for deeds (Deed Books) and Wills (Will Books)

The genealogy should have told you when he died.


If he died before the end of the civil way, you're in luck. 

Also remeber you are going back in time. So start 

with 2 years after he died, and work back to locate:

(1) his will 

(2) the inventory generallylocated in a book called 

Inventories & Estates and 

(3) all of his land transactions.  

This is a lot of work. If not in the county, consider 

hiring a researcher who knows the local corut records. 

Your talk with the local historical society should have 

yielded some names of local researchers!

Once you locate all of these documents, you're ready to 

dig further. Now you want to look at the county's tax 

records. (Not all counties had individual taxes but a 

good # did.) The tax records will be your first cut at 

number of slaves owned over the years.

Next you will want to fill out your research on last slave owner.

You do that by locating his 

(1) church affiliation 

(2) a census profile as far back as you can go.

His land ownership using a visual diagram like a plat 

map and legal descritpions of land owned.

Now the cut becomes 

(1) large scale owner vs. 

(2) small scale owner	

Large scale means plantation country such as LA, 

MS, parts of VA, Ga, SC etc.

Small scale could be anywhere but KY & TN especially.

If he was a large scale owner, you will be looking 

for major archival records in major libraries and archives.

If a small scale owner, you will not find documentation 

in these institutions.


For small scale owners, best bet is to locate a descendant 

who will likely have family's papers!

Have I talked enough? Or should I continue.

GFS Alva:	

please continue)


OK. Part 2: When owner's name is not known

This is problematic, but it too depends on knowing 

he local county history very well indeed.The key is 

to create a pool of names of likely slave owners.

The pool of names is based on (1) knowing where your 

ancestors lived in 1870-i.e. the legal land descritpion

You can infer that often from the 1870 census records


If you have their preicse location, then any propertied 

white person who lived near them should go in the pool

The rule here is proximity.  So using the 1870 census, 

any  propertied whites listed 10 pages before and after 

your ancestor are likely to have been your ancestor's

 slave owners.

There are of course exceptions as in case of migration 

out of county. Another way is to use the Agricultural 

censuses to add names to pool.


Once you crate a pool of names, to the courthouse 

you go using the same search described earlier.

Critical to this is having all possible names of people 

in your line from the 1870 census and their liekly 

ages as you go back. If your ancestor was head of HH in 

1870 was 45, he would probably be found in docuemtns of one 

of those slaveowners in your name pool.

His wife and children, may have been on a neighboring plantation.


The point is that without a slaveowner's name, you

hae to recreate the whole community and look ery closely 

at all transactions to find your ancestors listed as 

as slaves when an owner dies or sells a slave etc.

What will aid you is having the local history, and any 

gen books that have abstracted the wills/deed for that 

county. Even so, you will hae to become very familiar 

with the courthouse records.

Another case is when you assume that your ancestor 

carries last slave owner's name. 

Just add that name to the pool and start with it first.


That pretty much summarizes it in skeletal form.

I'm open to questions, discussion.



RE: Ag Censuses. 

On microfilm at Federal Record Center in Atlanata.


What if the propertied persons were Black? GA/


If propertied persons were bblack 

-- you mean slaveowners?





Black slave owners would be no different 

from the whites. But note that often Black 

slave owners held family memebers as slaves 

-- a kind of protective custody.


Getting back to Ag Censuses: 

They were deposited in NARA regional archvies -- 

so the ones for the South are  in Atlanta.






(1) Will Books 

(2) Deed Books 

(3) Tax Records 

(4) Tract Books

(5) Mortgage Books 

If you've never done research in courthouse: 

(1) write to state archives asking for a genealogy packet.

In that packet you will find a list of books etc. 

One of those books or brochures will

describe how the court system was organized in the state.

Note that the general term for will and deed records 

is conveyance records.Note also that courthosue names 

and terminology varied from state to statee and often

and often cunty to county.




County boundaries changed -- often. 

Use Everton's Handy Book as a quick reference for 

boundary changes.


I know the last two owners of my 3 g grandmother, 

but would like to find her first owner. How do I? GA 


The 3GG grandmother's owner -- do you know how she 

came into this family



No do not.  ga


There should be some record indicating how he acquired her. 

Again, you will have to know his genelaogy. Look to see who 

he inherited property/slaves from. /ga


Alva had a question!

GFS Alva:	

Is it not possible, or probable that in th case of black


may have been slaves themselves at an earlier period... so	

you would have to do the same thing, just for earlier?


Exactly. The key is that you are tracing your ancestors 

genealogy through the slave owner's genealogy.

The slave owner inherited slaves, migrated, granted slaves 

to his children etc.Imagine the pedigree chart you use now 

and for every white perosn on that chart, imagine your ancestors 

being dispersed all over this whtie family's chart.


Are the Freedman's Bureau records helpful? How do you use them?



Freedmen's Bureau Records: 

Absolutely and once you reach this period, it is a must to

examine them.

Freedmen's Bureau: 

(1) Some records are on microfilm 

(2) Most ARE NOT

You want to find in those records: 

(1) labor contracts between your ancestors and their former slave


(2) registers and rosters 

(3) hospital records 

(4) even bounty records from Civil War 

The key here is using the printed inventories to these records.


How are the Freemen's records organized...by location, name?



At the National Archives in DC. 

The preliminary inventories are a must before going.

Record Group 105: Preliminary Inventory of the Records 

of the Field Offices of the Bureau Ask that the reference 

division xerox the secion pertaining to your state.

Study this section before going. Also, Newman's Black Studies

Black Studies will tell you which records have been


Which bounty records -- military or land etc.



Land?Thank you. GA/

Which bounty records?


Land records at the Bureau of Land Mngt in DC/Maryland?



If I can remember. 

It is a maze. If you are referring to land issued by Feds 

for white settlers,	then you would want to locate one of 

the many abstracts or indexes that have been published by state.

That will give you the patent number.

You use the patent number to request the record from

Bureau of lang Management in Md.

I used this method once for a slave owner, but found

that I had all the info in an index to land patents fr that



Dr. Woodtor, are you going on a book signing tour?


Yes. I will start mid-Feb. I'm waiting for my instructions now.

So far, I know it DC, NY, Atlanta, Houston, LA


Is it the same for Native American land owners?


If they had land registered, it would be the same process./ga


I just purchased your book and would like to send it to you 

for an autograph.  Where do I send it?



P.O. Box 252, Evanston IL 60204-0252 /ga


GFS Alva:	Shall we give Dr. Woodtor a few minutes for a sip of

water ^>^


what is the name of the book


Finding a Place called Home: 

An Af-Am Guide to Gen & Historical Identity/ga

GFS Marol:	Excellent presentation and equally excellent


GFS VKN:	Great Presentation Dee

Rison625:	CLAP CLAP CLAP for Dr. Parmer-Woodtor

Kajeabdul:	Ditto

GFS Ivy:	Clap Clap Clap Clap.....!!!!

AGood89949:	Clap,clap,clap!!!!!!!


Ditto, Thank you for the information, look forward to

purchasing your book, any idea when you will be in the

Los Angeles area?


Is Dr. Woodtor working on a new book?

MHigg71503:	ditto

SLF:	Ditto


Bipsylou:	Ditto

Ronbatiste:	CLAP CLAP CLAP!!!!!

Rison625:	Thank you Dr. Parmer Dr. Woodtor	



Thanks everyone. End of Feb, early March for Los An. 

I'd love to edit a book on Black gen searches. 

There are wonderful stories out there!/ga


Will this talk be archived somewhere?


Yes within the next 2 days in the Forum libraries.

Will post to the list when they are up for downloading.


Great chat and presentation. I am in Palatine, IL

CLWDS9:	thank you. clap clap

SLF:	Standing O

Rison625:	Standing O

SandraBM:	Standing O

GFS Alva:	

Our thanks to you Dr. Woodtor for this most 

informative presentation!

We are very appreciative of all the 

helpful information.

MHigg71503:	Standing O

Tawmicmar:	Standing O

Lorrem:	"

EAdams0197:	Standing O

MaryT73352:	Ditto

Evross358:	Ditto

Heflinam:	"

CLWDS9:	Standing O

AA6JZ:	Standing O

GFS Ivy:	Standing O

Reborn2h2o:	DITTO

GFS Marol:	Standing O, BRAVO!



Dee my very special thanx to you for the 

richness you have provided	to each of us.

GFS Alva:	

** Please tke note that DParmerwoo is also a member of 

the Afrigeneas Mailing List.


Hard to tear myself away from here.


Good night  Thanks for inviting me



Nite all and GOD BLESS


Good nite to all  Alva thasnks for the notice.

GFS Alva:	

Thanks to all of YOU for making this special..


Glad I dropped in


Thanks everyone. I really hope the info helped./ga


This was a lot of information -

Thanks to our GFSs for bringing it to us

GFS Alva:	

You're most welcome MaryT; we try...

(big smiles on hosts faces)	

It was a rich experience Dee.  

Many many thanks.

GFS Ivy:	

Dr. Woodtor, this was EXCELLENT!!

Please come again!!


Dr Woodtor will you join us again?


Of course!/ga


Will we informed when Dr. Woodtor 

be in the L.A. area? Can't wait


Kaj we will ask her to post to afrigeneas!


Special thanks to you for inviting us.  

Reallllllllllly appreciated the notification.

Good night all and God Bless


I'll post the tour as soon as I find out./ga

GFS Anita:	

Good night to all...This was a wonderful evening!!!!


< the lights are dimming>	

A special thanx to Alva, Ivy and Anita for all of your work!!!!!

The log is closing

Love and Peace to ALL!!!!!!!!!!


2/6/99 10:06:09 PM	Closing "WoodtorChat Log 2/6/99"

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