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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Negro Registries
In Response To: Negro Registries ()

Can some one help me understand the so called Negro registries. I am the County Coordinator of the Jennings County, Indiana, GenWeb site and have found a transcription of the Jennings County registry from 1853-Jan 1856. I am going to put it on line but I want to correctly describe what it was? I am assuming it was to certify the people registered were free persons of color and not run away slaves. This section of Indiana was very involved in the underground railroad

* The 1850 Indiana Constitution, Article XIII main purpose was that "No negro or mulatto shall come into the State, after the adoption of this Constitution." After the adoption of the Constitution the legislature passed a statute to enforce this Article. Approved on June 18, 1852 the statute outlawed "Negroes" from coming into the state, instructed the county clerks to notify all "Negroes" who were residents before November 1, 1851 to register, and ordered the creation of a register of "negroes and mulattoes. It also gave power to clerks to subpoena witnesses and to issue certificates attesting to the registration of legal residents.

Although law, it was for the most part ignored with very little compliance.

and from what I see on this registry people are stating they were born in Jennings County in the early 1820's, since the county was not formed until 1816 that is very early and they were definately county pioneers.

* This the point the late Coy ROBBINS and others have been trying to make for a long time. Not just county but state.

"... people of African descent ... were among the early American settlers in southern Indiana. Although their story has never been included in our history books, these brave, courageous souls were among the the pioneers -- both free and enslaved persons."

in Forgotten Hoosiers


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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