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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Registry for free persons of color?


While researching Clinton County, Illinois I didn't find a registry, however I found a transcription of a Register of freedom documented in a late 19th century Clinton County, Illinois history.

I contacted the courthouse and I was told that there was no single registry however, those records (an unknown number) are embedded with other deed records.

The interesting thing for me was that the document for my wife's family was dated in 1852--which is two years after the 1850 Compromise/Fugitive Slave Act. This part of Illinois and where many other free people of color lived, was a place and time where they were in threat of Blackbirders or slave catchers. So based on this, it is my assumption that my wife's family member registered himself (along with his father and two white men=credible witnesses) to make his status as a free person known before the court.

On another note, I was told that there are unindexed records of court proceedings that document free blacks that were captured/sold and there were petitions filed to have them return. This is the Clinton County, Illinois area.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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