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African Ancestry in Mississippi
Home > Community > States > Mississippi


This site is hosted by: Gloria J. McCallum

Genealogical Resources on the Internet
Guide to African Ancestored Research



History & Background

When the government of the United States established the Mississippi Territory in 1798, the region around Natchez, which held the bulk of the population, contained about 5,000 whites and 3,500 slaves. Upon entering the union in 1817, Mississippi received slavery as a fully established economic and agricultural system. With the exception of the interior of the Delta region, which remained largely isolated and unsettled until after the Civil War, Mississippi by 1850 had been formed as illustrated by this county map.

In 1817 Mississippi had a population of about 40,000 whites and 30,000 African Americans. By 1860 African Americans made up 50% of Mississippi's total population of approximately 791,000 people. The African American's place was solidly established, regulated by legal codes and fueled by the institution of slavery.

At the time of its admission only the southern quarter and a narrow strip up the Mississippi to the Yazoo were open to legal settlement. The rest of the state was held by the Chickasaw and Choctow nations. By 1835 these Indian nations had lost all claims to their territory. An increasing flow of newcomers to the southern and eastern sections of the territory, mainly from Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and the region above Mobile began to arrive. Those who arrived with sufficient capital quickly took possession of the better dark-soil lands and established plantations, leaving the cheaper uplands for those of lesser means. The French first introduced slavery into the Mississippi territory in the early 1700 and the English, who later settled into the territory, were eager purchasers of slaves.

The African American population was concentrated in the sections where the agricultural plantation was most prominent. The general feeling in the state was that their labor was essential to maintaining the plantation economy, and the African American would work only as a slave.*

Large numbers of slaves lived permanently in town, serving in a wide variety of occupations. In addition to the house servants, there were mechanics, draymen, hostlers, laborers, and washwomen. Some served as apprentices or helpers to white mechanics and builders, or worked in small factories catering to the local market.

Free African Americans living in Mississippi reached their greatest number around 1840, when the census listed 1,336, and they declined steadily, numbering only 775 in 1860. A majority were in the southwestern counties, with 255 in Adams County alone.

In 1860, during the last years of institutionalized slavery, African Americans in Mississippi numbered 437,303, compared with 353,901 whites. They were owned by 30,943 slaveholders, who possessed an average of 14.1 slaves each. The great mass who were of working age were field hands. Relatively small numbers had received special training as artisans or house servants.

Although slavery was abolished in 1865, African Americans living in Mississippi and throughout the south continued to be ruled by codes, institutionalized segregation. and the torment of the Ku Klux Klan.

*Click here to explore Mississippi plantation life. Indepth archealogical studies were conducted by the University of Southern Mississippi on six plantations throughout the state. Including the McCallum farm located in Forrest county and Saragossa plantation located Natchez district

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State & Local Resources

Archives & Libraries

National Archives, Southeast Region,1557 St. Joseph Ave.East Point, GA 30344, Phone (404)763-7477, Fax (404)763-7033, E-mail archives@atlanta.nara.gov States include: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Evans Memorial Library, 105 N. Long St., Aberdeen, MS 39730

MS State Dept of Archives & History, PO Box 571, Jackson, MS 39762, Phone (601)359-6876, Fax (601)359-4263

MS State University, Mitchell Memorial Library, Drawer 9570, Mississippi State, MS 39762, Phone (601)325-3061, Fax (601)325-4263

University of Southern Mississippi, William David McCain Library, PO Box 5148, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5148, Phone (601)266-4345

Jackson-Regional Library, 3214 S. Pascagoula St., Pascagoula, MS 39567

Genealogical Societies

Mississippi Genealogical Society, PO Box 5301, Jackson, MS 39216-5301

Family Research Association of Mississippi, PO Box 13334, Jackson, MS 39236-3334

Jackson County Genealogical Society, c/o Else J. Martin, 6301 Country Lane, Pascagoula, MS 39581

Southern Mississippi Genealogical Society, 72 Boggy Hollow Rd., Purvis, MS 39475

Historical Societies

Historical & Genealogical Association of Mississippi, 618 Avalon Rd., Jackson, MS 39206

Church Records

Mississippi Baptist Historical Society, Mississippi College Library, PO Box 51,Clinton, MS 39056

J. B. Cain Archives of Mississippi Methodism, Millsaps-Wilson Library, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS 39210

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Internet Resources

The sites listed below are among the best resources on the internet for researching African American Ancestry in Mississippi

Genealogy Resources on the Internet - Mississippi

An Adams County Mississippi Slave Record Book - Includes a historic overview of recently discovered Natchez court records documenting over 1500 slave names and owners.

United States Resources - Mississippi

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites - Mississippi

Christine's Genealogy Website

Mississippi Web Sites by County

Freedmen's Bureau On Line *Includes registered African American marriages in Mississippi 1863-1865

Social Security Death Index

Black Marriages of Tallahatchie County, MS

Genealogy Sites for Southern States Includes cemetary, church, marriage, tax & census records for Alcorn, Carroll, and Itawamba counties


*Post a Query

GenConnect Mississippi African American Resources

*Mailing Lists

Subscribe to AfriGeneas- Mississippi

RootsWeb: To receive every posting individually, send a message to MSAFRICANAMER-L-request@rootsweb.com that contains the word: subscribe; For a Digest version, send the command instead to MSAFRICANAMER-D-request@rootsweb.com Using only the word: subscribe

*Surnames

Mississippi African-American Surname Index

*Lookup Requests

Linda Rudd, Census & Vital Statistic Records for Lincoln County, LRudd@aol.com

Darlene Williams, Kemper County 1860 Slave Schedule. DWilli4162@aol.com The schedule list slaveowners & number of slaves.

Volunteers are needed for lookups and research. If you have resources and the time, please contact me with your name, email, and the resource(s) you have access to. Thank You...GJM

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Placed online: 13 September 1999 | Updated: 8 January 2003
1029 searchers have visited since 13 September 1999
Questions or comments:
Gloria J. McCallum
Copyright © 1999 by Afrigeneas