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Surnames and Family Research Forum Archive

Re: Granville County, NC
In Response To: Re: Granville County, NC ()

From my research so far and some reading on studies, it is apparent there is a wide variation for the taking of surnames. So far I am pretty sure that at least two of Daniel Gooch enslaved workers took his surname, so there might be a higher liklihood of other black Gooch families being related. It is almost impossible to identify who might have been within the Gooch household before emancipation if they took a name other than Gooch, so this is about the best I can do. I am starting to look at the people in the households and living around them in 1870, but I am not finding enough information to establish if they were former slaves or if they just moved into the area. There is clear evidence after 1870 that black families move alot.

Back to the surname, I have found that in many cases that the process was often not "taking" a name, but assuming the surname that they identified with (I have found several cases where the owners reference the slaves surname in documents, so probably the whites had some knowledge of this as well). These surnames were sometimes evidence of the name of a white ancestor; though it may have been back several generations. Of course there are other reasons they may have taken it too.

My real interst is trying to reconstruct what the plantation group might have looked like including whites and blacks. I am also interested in oral history about the white families, just because black oral history tends to be much richer and often more telling about the individuals. And of course if these enslaved people are children of thier owners, that is an important fact to document and is often very rare to do. There are only a handful of family stories about slaves, but they tend to fall into stereotypical stories/tales/myths that I doubt are factual and very few reference people that I can actually document.

The Ragland connection is a bit farther back for me, but my ancestor Reuben Ragland (c1763-1805), son of Evan Ragland (c1715-1778), was a slave owner. His father had been quite wealthy and died when Reuben was fairly young. Most of the male Raglands moved out of State, but Reuben remained, married and had issue. He too died with minor children and his wife remarried to Zachariah Pinson and there was much dispute over his handling of the estate. Reuben had sons who did no marry or married but did not have children. I have fourteen slaves listed in Reuben's estate and he obtained three others from his father's estate in 1778. However records after his death show some disputed slaves that were not in his probate and are not babies. The 1804 inventory of Reuben Ragland indicates some family structure for at least four people named. Heirs of the Reuben ended up being the female lines of Jones, Royster and Clayton who lived just south of Oxford and in Napp of Reeds district.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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