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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: oral genealogy vs.documented genealogy

I agree that this thread is very informative.

Present and Accounted For!

Our late father always told us that our great grandfather, Milton Howard, as a child, his parents and an older brother and an older sister, who were also children, were kidnapped from IA and forcibly sold into slavery to an AL planter named Pickett in about 1850. He also said Milton Howard told them he married another slave and fathered several children, but "nothing is known of them." In 1860, at about age 15, Milton Howard escaped slavery, without either family, eventually returning to IA.

I have always believed these stories to be true. But after researching our family history, I am not sure if Milton Howard was actually referring to his biological family when saying "nothing is known of them" or "his wife and several children."

Milton would have been about age 13 when he married and fathered children. Not impossible, but unlikely. Further, a late uncle once met someone in New Orleans who knew either Milton's biological family or his "wife and several children." Again, we do not know which family.

We do not have any written records on Milton Howard's "wife and several children"-only oral history. And I do not know if I should take the story literally or figuratively. But our family really wants to know if the story is true, as Milton Howard later married 4 more times and possibly fathered close to a dozen children.

We have researched Milton Howard back to 1864, when he enlisted into the Civil War and became a USCT member. Previous to that time period, our research is sketchy. Freedman Bureau records still need to be researched as well as slaveholder amd probate records.

We can only hope that our oral history questions will be answered with further research.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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