DISCOVERY: Slave Name Roll Project

Do you really have a brick wall prior to 1870 when researching African American ancestry? It is good to analyze if you are the one putting up the wall or is it really the records and resources. Being able to step outside the box and view things a little differently will help. Analyzing records is key. It is important to understand the records-asking why was it created, when was it created, know the laws in place when records were created. Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist does an excellent job providing tips and examples of how important it is to know the law. (
The blog, DISCOVERY: Slave Name Roll Project I am sharing is one to follow. Read her past blogs and gain some tips and steps on breaking down those slave research walls. Share your findings!

Daughter of Slave Ancestry

The 1870 brick wall is no less surmountable in cyberspace than it is in the analog archives of today’s courthouses. Court records from times past divulge varieties of slave/slaveholder relationships. Knowing the records exist is not the same as locating and examining them for myself. I do realize this problem is not exclusive to African Americans. But the fact still remains that it is more difficult due to the fact that my enslaved ancestors were considered chattel property; and, prior to 1870, they had no surnames. And even their given names are inconsistently recorded in the census records that followed.

Brick_Wall_Refocus copy
Some have managed to scramble over their brick walls — only to find . . . yet another. Then what do we do? We dust ourselves off and rescale to the other side to devise another way.

Insurmountable? Maybe. Impenetrable? Not if Cathy Meder-Dempsey and Schalene Jennings Dagutis have anything…

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About familytreegirl

Shelley Murphy, aka “familytreegirl”, a native of Michigan residing in Central Virginia, Shelley has been an avid genealogist for over 25+ years researching the Davis, Marsh, Goens/Goins/Goings, Roper, Boyer, Worden, Cureton, and Murphy family lines. She is a Coordinator and faculty for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI), presents Genealogy 101 workshops at the local community college, state and national genealogy conferences. She holds a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and works as an adjunct professor for Averett University. Murphy is known for her inspiring and interactive “Getting Started” Methods and Strategies for genealogy research, “Time and File management” along with interesting problem-solving methodology lectures. Shelley currently has 20+ publications with Charlottesville Genealogy Examiner and the Central Virginia Heritage, a publication of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association. She is an instructor for the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI). Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Adjunct Professor, Professional Genealogist. Volunteers for American Red Cross as a Disaster Services Instructor, facilitates financial education workshops for the last 8 years, and former licensed Real Estate Broker
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1 Response to DISCOVERY: Slave Name Roll Project

  1. Miss Donna says:

    You’re right that “out-of-the-box” thinking and analyzing records are keys to progress in researching our ancestors. I’ve also found that switching gears then returning to a problem with “fresh eyes” will help me to see what was there along — but in a different light. We can follow rules and outlines as long as we learn how to make the necessary adjustments with each ancestor. Thank you for the re-post.

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