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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Court minutes source of free negro records

In the couyrt minutes for Rappahannock county, VA I found several sources for free negro records of my ancestors and others. I have not yet seen the Free Negro register - I am waiting for the film from LDS, but I already have the Librar of Va personal property tax list for 1837-1850 and found 3 of my free ancestors listed there - in fact about about 35-38 free negroes were listed for each year. However I did not find any women, but when I started viewing the county court minutes books I found Registration of Freedom records under "R" in the index for some of the same people - but even better for many of those whose names did not appear in the tax lists. Then I found even more under the index of "L" for "List of free negroes delinquent in taxes" it was a treasure trove for the actual record gave complete names - the years that I found were 1851, 1857 and 1858 so far. There were 17 for 1851, 28 for 1857, and 34 for 1858. I don't know if those names appear in the Personal Property tax listings but I think they don't because they could not pay taxes. I have those years on order so I will check.

This confirms my theory that my ancestors were free but very poor, I found several of them on the listings for delinquency. I had found in earlier minutes where my great great grandmother had "Bound out as apprentices" her 4, 10 and 14 year old sons. Yes 4 year old baby!! However the following year she went back to court to have those apprenticeship rescinded. So I assummed she was a strong woman who would go before the court in those days and stand up for her children!! And she won. the court rescinded 2 out of the 3. Those court minutes are a very rich resource!!

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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