"Finding the Freedmen" Louisa County Records 1865-1870
by Elaine L. Taylor
Finding the Freedmen provides relationships between the Freedmen and the people most likely to be their former enslavers. This is a resource for researchers seeking their ancestors who were freedmen in the county, and also for current property owners and descendants of slaveholders who desire to know the names of people that lived and worked on their property or for their families.
Most African-American researchers can find ancestors as far back as the 1870 census. The challenge is how to get through the "Brick Wall," the barrier created before 1865 when enslaved people were only recorded as someone else's property, at best with first names and often simply as a slash mark on a census. What slaveholder's papers or estate documents, or which county records should a researcher look in for their ancestors? Are there any sources that provide evidence of a relationship between Freedmen and others who might be their former enslavers? The answer is, "Yes."
This book brings together public records and family papers containing
information about the Freedmen of Louisa County, Virginia, in the years
immediately after the Civil War. The combined sources are presented in
alphabetical order by the names of the Freedmen and another list by the
names of their employers/where they are residing.
Those sources include the following:
Personal Property Tax Records, Louisa County
From 1867 to 1869, these records, about 6,500 in total, required Freedmen to report where they were employed or residing providing invaluable clues about possible former enslavers.
The Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records
Records include labor contracts, complaints of nonpayment for labor and violence against freedmen, and assistance provided by the Bureau to orphans, the elderly, and those infirm or in other forms of distress.
Louisa County Birth and Death Records 1865-1870
Those records where the informants reported themselves to be "Employer," "Neighbor," or "Friend" are included in this compilation.
Records from plantation journals, family Bible records of the births of enslaved people, and public records containing individuals in Louisa County are included.
Numerous additional annotations include the name and location of the plantations where employers lived, some estate record references, etc.
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