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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Name changes for Freed Slaves

I know this question has probably been asked several times before, but I never knew I needed the answer.

Is there a way to find out for sure that an exslave changed their surname?
Where they just allowed to pick a name or did they have to get it documented somewhere in order to keep it? Was there a process for changing it?

I asked because I found out a while ago that my surname was indeed changed. In 1870 my family is listed as Rabb. Not only did Edward Rabb change his surname but he used Ned as a shorten version of Edward. All the older family members I spoke to about it were thrilled because they knew (and never told the younger generation) that there was a name change but they didn't know what it had been changed from.
I also noticed that he was only one black Rabb family listed in 1870 census. Harriet Rabb owned many slaves so could it be that he was also one of the last to change his name? My ggrandmother (the Hendersons )lived next door to the Rabbs so is it logical to say they were also once Rabb slaves? Or am I asumming too much?
Where do I need to start searching this infor?
Thanks for any help or suggestions


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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