AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: Free Blacks in Delaware
In Response To: Free Blacks in Delaware ()
Below is a link to a web page discussing slavery in Delaware and emancipation. By the dating of the entries you mentioned, it may very well be that the white Black family kept records of the free African American Evans and Williams families in compliance with local laws or practices. The timing of the entries coincides with the post-Nat Turner panic that swept through slave states. Delaware still had legal slaves in its midst until the Civil War. Thus slaves in Delaware were freed in 1865, just like in the rest of the country, by the passage of the 13th Amendment.
I would suggest that you pursue research at the local county level. Chances are that deed or court order books might contain entries for members of these families. Census searches during the early years will only generate the names of the head of a household, and not its individual family members. Local and private records such as the one you described, are the key sources to information on early 19th century free people of color.
Thanks for posting the Bible and family history data, as I'm sure someone will benefit from it in the future. It's a shame that we have yet to establish a true clearinghouse for manuscripts relating to early 19th century African Americans. Although there are numerous repositories that are more than happy to accept donations, such as where you're planning to deposit the Bible, there is no easy way for us(as in genealogists) to locate these scattered records. I realize that there are numerous archival databases in existence, none however are geared towards the type of research that genealogists do. The descriptive inventories, when published on the web, do help. But for the most part, you'd have to know or guess that certain types of records are held at a given repository, to know to contact that institution. Forums such as this at least, leave behind clues. So again, thanks for posting the information.