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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: AA Confederate Soldier?? Info

It sounds like you have done a lot already. Slave and Servant records can be difficult, but here's a few other places to try.

Your Creole FPC-were probably Catholic, and bi-lingual. Catholic parish records were excellent, especially concerning baptisms/confirmations/marriage. Some also listed the owner's name, in the case of slaves or those recently freed.

Where ever you have owner's names, or possibilities, check for family records/papers/diaries. Here, the most likely sources are libraries, historical societies and universities. Local histories that were paid by subscription, were very popular in the 80's and 90's. They are a good source for information and leads about locally prominent folks. Beware though, since they are PAID, they can be extremely biased, and more than a little skewed. Many have glorified honors, titles, etc. that don't hold up to serious research. But, as an example, they can prove useful....Say that you know one owner in your family tree was named Williams and lived near Natchez. Libraries and historical societies can direct you to local histories of that timeframe. Say, again that you find such a volume, and the only Williams near Natchez is Jonathan. The pages for him may give family members, ancestry, location, etc. Perhaps his father was "Judge" H. Williams...of Sundown Plantation...you now have a possible location for the site of your ancestors, and further names to check. Names lead to probate records, tax records, census records-and sometimes the jackpot of family papers that include sales receipts, day to day diaries and more.

In your ancestor that was a servant of J B Mcrae-He had probably been a trusted houseservant or liveryman prior to the War. If a houseservant, he may have been literate. Either way, there is more likely to be some mention of such a person for two reasons-first he may have been born on that owner's property, or at least have been with the family long enough to gain a high level of trust-that he wouldn't run off, etc. (The same was not necessarily true for laborers) Secondly, that position may have endeared him enough for his mention in family correspondence-example....John has been taking care of my ague, and I told him about Sukey's new baby girl. Now, if that's all the letter said-Sukey may be John's wife or simply someone else in the household. Either way it gives you another lead.

New Orleans newspapers may be useful. Especially the French language Star which held a lot of Creole news. The Daily Delta, True Delta, and Times Picayune are others. Old issues are available on microfilm.

If you didn't get your ancestor's pension records, do so-they can be much more useful than the service record, giving the names of relatives, neighbors and people who served with him, as well as medical conditions, etc.

Since the 96th was formed f rom the 2nd Corps d'Afrique and they did some engineer duty at Matagorda, Texas I would be very interested in any documentation you have of that period. (The book that follows the one I am finishing centers largely around that area of the country since so many USCT wound up there, and later joined the Black Regulars.

Since I am in New Mexico, I know full well the problems of long distance research!!

Best of Luck


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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