AfriGeneas Sunday Brunch Chat Log - 18 May 2003

Chat with Paul Heinegg

37 Participants

Admin: We are in chat protcol for the presentation this morning
On the right of your screen choose Woodtor_LectureHall and enter.
Please hold your comments or questions until the presenter is finished.
Type ? to raise a question
Type ! to make a comment
Wait until you are recognized by the host, Lynda, before typing to screen.

deloris_williams: Have you been continuing your studies on the families in your book?

coni: first time in a chat room...i am researching francis jesse peck, sr., 1835-1898 - in 1860 he was listed as 'free inhabitant in sandy springs, md - do i need to look for manumission papers or something else that would indicate how or why he was free - have n

lynda: Good morning everyone and a warm thanks (again) to everyone for coming this morning We welcome Paul Heinegg - author and lecturer Paul developed an interest in the history of the Revolutionary War pension files...which is regularly updated based on continuing African American community while researching his wife's African American ancestors in Northampton County, NC

lynda:He has published the family history of most African American families that were free during the colonial period in the Southeast. The histories are based on a seventeen-year study of every colonial court order book on microfilm at the VA, NC MD and DE archives ...the 1790-1810 census, tax records, wills, deeds, Free Negro Registers, marriage bonds, parish registers, and

Let me take a moment to review our format ...and then I'd like to review the protocol for questions and/or statements
If you have a question, type ?
For a statement, type !

coni: peck was not listed...he was a minister in petersville, md - i found his tombstone in april

lynda: If you have more to say in your original question/statement, type '...' (without quotes, of course) ga means you are finished - and give the floor to the next person I will call on you in turn

coni: trying to locate peck's parents and of relatives maybe have been nathaniel peck also a minister

lynda: First of all, I'll begin with our prepared questions Would first like to applaud you for making searchable text of book available free - online. What prompted that decision?

PaulHeinegg: My main purpose in publishing the book was to make the information available to other researchers. But I ran into the following difficulties:
The publisher didn't want to take any risk, so he printed only one or two hundred copies at a time. That made the book too expensive. (The current version is about $100 for 1,040 pages of paperback). The family histories became outdated within a year or two of publishing since I was doing over a thousand hours of research a year. Online I can update the existing family histories and add new ones as I find additional information. I sell a few hundred copies of the book a year, but get about 500 hundred hits per week on the site!

coni: i published my book on will cooper nell at black classic press on the docu-text - very inexpensive..can printed as few as 5 books at a time as needed...

lynda: What percentage of early FPOC have you found remaining in the same location over a long period of time, even though laws were on the books forcing FPOC to leave the state?

PaulHeinegg: I'm afraid I've never calculated a percentage, but I've noticed that quite a number of free African American families that settled in areas of Virginia and North Carolina where they were welcomed during the eighteenth century still have descendants living in those locations today. As these families grew, some branches moved on by the end of the century--just like the white families--to find better opportunities. And some branches of these families fled and moved West during the period before the Civil War when they were no longer welcome. So today you will find members of the Roberts family still living in York County, Virginia, where they originated in the 1600s, as well as in Northampton County, North Carolina, where they were landowners in the 1700s and early 1800s, and in Indiana, Ohio, etc., where they moved to avoid the oppressive conditions in North Carolina after 1830.

lynda: Have you run across many FPOC married to slaves?

PaulHeinegg: The relationship between free persons of color and slaves varied according to the social position that free persons of color held in the community.This, in turn, varied according to the area where they lived and also according to the time in history. In many parts of North Carolina and some Virginia counties during the eighteenth century, there were communities of free African Americans which made up over 5% of the free population and held a status closer to that of poor whites than to slaves. Many were landowners who rented or owned slaves themselves. In such communities marriages to slaves were uncommon. But in places like Goochland County, Virginia, and in many parts of Maryland, free African Americans had closer relations with slaves. Several members of the free African American Chavis family were slaveowners, but Sarah Chavis of Charlotte County, Virginia, was married to a slave. She left a will in 1811 whereby she gave her household effects to her son and grandchild and the remainder to her neighbors who she asked to let her "old man and husband Simon enjoy his liberty as a free man as far as the law at any time shall admit."

PaulHeinegg: A free African American named James Revell owned 500 acres in Cumberland County, North Carolina, and left a will by which he asked his executor to apply to the Legislature for the emancipation of his wife Janet. Hiram Revell, first African American member of the U.S. Senate, was also from Cumberland County. But members of the Revell family who lived in adjoining Robeson County had so little connection to slaves that they had completely lost their African American identity by the twentieth century! The status of children depended on the status of their mother, so a free African American man who married a slave would have had children who belonged to her master.My wife descends from a free African American man who had a child by a slave in Northampton County, North Carolina, in the 1830s. He also had ten children by his wife who was free!

lynda: During your research, have you had any help from white families who acknowledge former ownership or blood ties to former slaves?

coni: how did these people become free

PaulHeinegg: I haven't had much contact with former slaveowners. I concentrate on the colonial period when most free African Americans were either descended from slaves freed very early in history (1600s until 1723), or were descendants of white women who had children by slaves.

lynda: What have you found to be some of the best sources for research on FPOC - which libraries house some of the best collections?

PaulHeinegg: The Library of Virginia is the easiest for me to use. They have a wonderful program whereby they mail microfilm on interlibrary loan to any public library with a microfilm reader. Their website contains the list of their microfilm holdings: The county records of the North Carolina State Archives are listed in a paperback book available from the archives, "Guide to Research Materials in the North Carolina State Archives." Some might find it easier to purchase the microfilm listed in the book than to travel to Raleigh. They sell their microfilms by mail for $12 each. Maryland also has an excellent website. They list all their microfilm and manuscript holdings: But they recently discontinued their interlibrary loans and raised the price of their microfilms to $30. ga

lynda: What inspired you to begin your research?

PaulHeinegg: My wife's mother asked me to trace her family history in Northampton County, North Carolina. We were surprised and fascinated to find that many of her ancestors had been free during the colonial period. When we went back for a family reunion in the 1980s, it became obvious to us that the Civil Rights Movement had "passed by" Northampton County with little effect. How then had free African Americans been accepted and allowed to prosper in the county during the 1700s and very early 1800s? I'm the analytical type (engineer) and love to solve puzzles. I started making a data base of all the information I gathered on free families in the county, then expanded into the adjoining counties, then all of North Carolina, then moved on to Virginia since that was where the North Carolina families originated, then South Carolina since that was the destination of many North Carolina families, and later included Maryland and Delaware.

lynda: Thanks Paul ... We will now open the floor for questions ...

deloris_williams: have you continued to study the same families in your book, in particular Evans, Copeland, Green?

lynda: I'll call on you in order - remember to type ? if you have a question - and ! if you have a statement

Lynda: BEAgnew, I think you had a question earlier?

coni: having a difficult time researching from long distance, md archives truly has cutdown on services!

PaulHeinegg: Yes, but I study the records rather than individual families. That is, I try to read every court record, tax list,etc., for every county and gather from that the family histories.

lynda: coni, you had a question earlier?

coni: ?trying to establish how francis peck became free in 1860...manumission - cannot locate his parents Frederick,.md.

PaulHeinegg: I will check and get back to you. I have the microfilm of many Maryland counties (when the film sold for $10 each) ga

lynda: Thanks, coni - I'm sure Paul will get back with you on that

AJStewart62: OK, my ancestor was Clary Revels in Cabarrus County NC, no court records, how do I connect them with the other Revels?

PaulHeinegg: As with any genealogy search, it may not be possible. But have you tried tax records? the archives has microfilm apprentice bonds 1875-1901, court records 1821-1867, tax 1872-1900

AJStewart62: Yes, county librarian says some indentured agreements were informal, no tax records, only indentured record was Elias Revels /William Revels, 1838

coni: !i try to collect death certificates since parents are hopefully listed, but access is difficult...dc has a 50 yr wait period...except for 'estate settlements'

PaulHeinegg: On Revell, I would try ordering the microfilm from the Archives for the period of interest.

BEAgnew: how did most of the free people of color obtained their freedoms in your research?thanks

AJStewart62: For Cabarrus County, since Elias' record was from Cumberland to Cabarrus?

Art: Have difficulty connecting Waldens', Scotts, Allen's in Ohio ca 1820-30 to NC folks any suggestions? I find NC births's in 1850 Census records. and freedom registrations in Ohio

PaulHeinegg: I haven't calculated a percentage, but it was about evenly divided between slaves freed in the 1600s and the descendants of white women who had children by slaves and free African Americans. I stopped about 1820 in most counties. You can start with court records for 1820-1830.

Art: thank you

lynda: Any more questions? Remember to type a ? (and send) and I'll acknowledge you

PaulHeinegg: Art, contact me by my email address on my site if you want me to look up what court records are available on microfilm

Terry: Firstly, I cannot thank you enough for your research and for making it public on your website and in published form!...In following the Findleys from 1712 (trying to connect withm ine in Patrick Co., Va)... I�ve found a few additional lawsuits for freedom which have helped in establishing lineage and relationships. ...The names of the Plaintiffs are unknown, of course, and the defendants are Clay familly members or associates...Can you suggest where I can find any additional lawsuits, i.e., Indian descendants vs. slavesholders?

deloris_williams: have you come across anything on Copelands in Halifax/Warren Co.NC, the first was Cato in 1800- 1820, but he doesn't appear to have had children?

PaulHeinegg: Have you been in touch with G.C. Waldrep? There's a file I at the LIbrary of Virginia which I referenced but never actually read myself. It's referred to in the article in, I think, VMH. ga

Terry: Yes, I have copies of that. There were two additional ones that I found and circumstantial evidence of the existence of additional suits, but nothjing conclusive. ga

PaulHeinegg: I have a few Clay inventories which are on my site. ga under the file on Indians

Terry: Thanks.

CarolJC1124: Looking for KINCAIDs in Burke County, NC (1850s) and WHITTINGTONs in Carteret County, NC - 1770s. KINCAID may have originated in Portsmouth, VA prior to 1850 Do you have their names in your data base

PaulHeinegg: Haven't found Kincaid or Whittington, but they may have been free after 1820 when I stopped. ga

CarolJC1124: Whittingtons were free in 1700.

PaulHeinegg: I'll look again, but I didn't come across them in any of the early tax lists. They should have been counted in Craven County ga

deloris_williams: Sorry, but I'm unclear if you were answering about the Copeland when you mentioned Dr. Waldrep?

PaulHeinegg: No, Findley. ga

deloris_williams: Yes, have you come across anything on the Copelands of Halifax/Warren co.?

coni: thanks, everyone, especially to paul...very interesting

PaulHeinegg: Aren't Copelands in Halifax on my site?

deloris_williams: Yes, they are, but I've run into a brick wall with Benjamin who first appeared in 1850 Warren?

PaulHeinegg: I have a Benjamin in Hertford in 1820

vkn: Paul, Lynda, ET and all this has been a tremendous presentation. So glad you have provided us this opportunity.So glad you are willing to continue Clap clap clap Bravo!!! Bravura!!!!!!

ET: Great job, Paul!

lynda: Thanks everyone for coming - anymore questions?

PaulHeinegg: You can contact me through my email address on my site. Happy to answer any more questions.

Terry: Many thanks!!!

trisha: can you list your site name


trisha: thank you

lynda: The site is in the URL list (above) Just press the 'drop-down' and select :) All the sites mentioned in this chat are there

ET: All of the web-sites that Paul has given here are listed above in the window "URL List". Open that window and scroll down to the URL of on it now and it will open in a second window.

deloris_williams: Were there people who may have been freed later by the Quakers

Terry: In your research, did you come across any migrations from VA or MD into the Chester Co. PA area?

PaulHeinegg: Yes, but I did not research that period. There are some interesting cases in parts of Eastern North Carolina about 1800 when Quakers tried to free slaves and the slaves were arrested and sold. North Carolina required Legislative approval for manumissions, and they did not approve many.

deloris_williams: Our feeling on Benjamin Copeland is that he may have been freed at some time around 1850, then later other family members showed up

Terry: Would that have been prior to 1790?

coni: ?does anyone have info on hinsonville, pa? the amos brothers of lincoln u were in that area - the amoses were amongst the quakers in chester co

PaulHeinegg: But the Copeland family had been free since the 1700s. ga

deloris_williams: Cato Copeland was free in 1800- 1820 but he doesn't appear to have had children

PaulHeinegg: Benjamin was born before 1776. ga

coni: ?there was a copeland who was with john brown at harpers ferry - is this the same copeland :37:22 : deloris_williams:Many of these other Copelands showed up in Halifax/Warren Counties first in 1850, but my Ben lived into the 1880s

PaulHeinegg: Could well be. ga

CarolJC1124: Where can I find information on Burke County & Beaufort County, NC for 1790?

PaulHeinegg: Burke has surviving apprentice and court records, census, etc. ga

deloris_williams: Coni, I don't know if they were related, but these Copelands seemed to appear on and off in Halifax from the 1800's but none seemed to have male children

Art: I think y'all forgot me :) Does FPOC work intersect with Saponi e.g. Dempsey, Moss, Haithcock, Jefferies in NC early 1700's?

PaulHeinegg: Yes, Art. They are one in the same.

Art: Thanks Paul

CarolJC1124: Thanks, Paul

ET: Thank you ALL for helping us with this "more formal than usual" format. It has helped greatly to keep things in order.

lynda: Thanks to everyone for coming This is the end of our 'formal' chat Please stay awhile and chat

Trisha: ::applause::

AJStewart62: Thank you Paul and Lynda, great job!

selma: clap, clap

Art: Yes, great job one and all

vkn: Yeah!!!!!! Paul!!!!!!!!!!!!

vkn: Yeah Lynda!!!!!!!!!

PaulHeinegg: Thanks.

lynda: clap clap clap :) :) :)

CarolJC1124: Excellent job. clap clap clap

vkn: Yeah ET!!!!!!!!!!

trisha: thank you all, very informative

Terry: Thanks to all participants!!!

vkn: Yeah AfriGeneas Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!

vicky: good job everyone!!!

coni: forward with more research to make the puzzle of ancestry work - great job

Art: Paul, would you like follow-up information on those who left NC ca 1820-30?

PaulHeinegg: Art, I'm still working on Virginia, late 1700s and early 1800s tax lists for at least another year or so.

Art: okay, I understand:)

lynda: I think we should take this time to mention our forums - where you can get additional support: : the FPOC forum

PaulHeinegg: Art, someone sent me copies of a book they wrote on descendants in, I think, Ohio.

Art: I see

ET: And thanks to our wonderful host, lynda, for making this possible.

vkn: ( Paul is considering assisting with the FPOC forum)

lynda: : The Main Forum Please don't hesitate to post your questions to these wonderful forums

PaulHeinegg: Yes, thanks Lynda for your help. And thanks to the preparer of the prepared questions.

Lynda: The FPOC forum is for research on those who were free before the Civie War period (manumitted) The General Forum is for any research question or problem or comment Or for connecting to those researching in the same area, time period Any more questions or comments ga

ET: These chat rooms can be used at any time by anyone who'd like them. Just agree with someone else on a time, room and date, and chat about your genealogy.

AJStewart62: I notice we are getting a few surname boards; what's the criteria?

PaulHeinegg: Art, I checked and that book was about Illinois and contained the Allen, Bass, Taborn, Ivey, Chavis, etc. families.

Art: thanks Paul...those same surnames are found in Logan county Ohio prior to 1850

ET: Actually, AfriGeneas is developing surname mailing lists..The mailing lists are basically for surnames that are very common....requests are being taken.

vicky: where do you post requests ET?

ET: Standby...I'll try to find that info...

Art: Bye for now,......Thanks to everyone for this session..very informative and time well spent

lynda: Thanks for coming Are there any more questions or comments ?

vicky: Very good Job Lynda, cant wait for the next session

Lynda: If not, then I would like to end this session with a great big THANKS to Paul ...

ET: Try this:

PaulHeinegg: You're most welcome. No trouble at all.

lynda: Thanks also to vkn ET and everyone who attended and contributed Perhaps Paul will agree to come again! Thanks, Paul - just got a big YES!

PaulHeinegg: Sure. Any time

coni: hopefully - and thanks

vicky: wonderful!!! and thx

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