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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Fields:a few suggestions

To make a case for a connection, I would first suggest that you obtain a copy of the records showing Littleberry receiving his wife Elizabeth's inheritance, to determine if any land was involved. If it was, then you should do a deed search to track the transfers from owner to owner. Perhaps these records will show the connection between Littleberry and William.

If no land was involved, then you should look at any other deeds after this period, as Elizabeth's inheritance may have provided the money to enable Littleberry to purchase land.

You should also look at wills, probate and estate records for any of the Fields or Thomas families, to see if family members are named. These records might provide direct or indirect connections.

I don't think it a far stretch to say that Littleberry was also known as Berry in records, but you need to be careful. There may have been more than one individual with that name of the same generation or same age, and you would need to make sure that you don't confuse them.

Linda Threadgill's post about Littleberry's death has given you a plausible reason as to why you couldn't find him in the 1850 census. What is curious is that the Fields family doesn't seem to be in the 1850 & 1860 censuses, or rather, they may not have been enumerated in them. Searches through county records should determine the actual case, for if they appeared in the records, then you know they were probably overlooked. I would focus on the early 1850's, as Virginia levied a special tax on free Negroes around that time, and the adult male Fields should have been taxed regardless of property ownership.
The Library of Virginia has microfilm on the 1850's taxation of free Negroes. Tpically the lists appear at the end of the property tax lists. In some counties, they were compiled separately and are amongst the county's loose papers, rather than the amongst the Virginia State Auditor's records.

You should also consider looking in the newspapers between 1840 and 1850 for a death notice of Littleberry's wife. If the family was well known and entrenched in the community, something may appear about her death. Since the 1840 census showed a woman to be of the right age as Elizabeth and Littleberry is listed as a widower in 1850, she may have died some time between 1840 and 1850. If Elizabeth may have owned property, she may have left a will, so check county records during the same decade.

Finally, you should check the county court records prior to 1836 for Littleberry, as the 1836 free registration said that he was renewing his papers.

I hope these suggestions help with your research.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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