Monday, August 4, 2008

Digging up the past

This is an excerpt from a letter to one of my cousins who has shown interest in my family history research...

4 August 2008, Monday
Hi Cousin,

I’m writing to tell you some news about the family history. I think that I mentioned that I had been looking at wills to see if I could find our family being passed down as property. Well, I think I found Great-Grandma Mamie’s mother and aunts and uncles in someone’s will. First, I’ll list all of these people with their parents and then list what I found on the will.

Great-Grandma Mamie’s mother’s name was Harriet and her mother’s name was Esther. Esther (born about 1830) married Daniel (born about 1825) Boykin and these are their children, all born before slavery ended: Clara (1850), Betsy (1852), Sarah (1856), Harriet (1854), Troy (1858), James (1859), Abram (1861), Henderson (1862), Mary (1862), and John (1863).

I found these names on a will for Allen Barbary Sr.:

Alvin, Tilla, Reow, Furney, Susan, Abram, Henderson, Charles, Sarah, Primus, Louza, Albert, Milly, Catherine, Serena, Sowell, Catherine, Harriet, Hamlet, Lydah, James, Joseph.

Since Henderson and Abram were not common names in any of the records I found, I believe that this is them! I also think that either Allen Barbary Sr. was related to the Boykins or married a Boykin female. Also, Allen Barbary Sr. died in 1853, so this is our family in 1853.

I have not found Esther or Daniel on any wills as of yet, but I’m still looking. I thought I had found Daniel on a will for Tobias Boykin, but this man died before Daniel was born, so I was mistaken unfortunately.

My next step is to get these wills and find out who received our people and find wills from their older relatives to see if I can find our people’s parents and grandparents and see continue tracing our family. Wish me luck!

PS: I also wanted to mention how these people named slaves. There were names like Yellow Sarah, Dark Sara, Cuff, Cupit, Lovelace, Satirah, Tener, Cato, Right, Freece, Tamer, and Chainy. These people put less thought into naming slaves than they did naming animals. It was terrible. But then I would see names like Mingo and Kizzy and these are African names. So it looks like sometimes, we did get to name our own.

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