Mildred Brand Davis is my great great grandmother on my maternal side and I really don’t know anything about her. As a professional genealogist I need to have a strategy to gain knowledge and guide my research. Walk through this with me and maybe it will help you with some of your research.
It is always good to write down your research goals. You can have more than one goal. Just be able to track and note what you have viewed and what has been completed. This will keep you focused. I use a timeline to outline all that I know in chronological order. It includes all of the things that happen in and around ancestor’s life. My goal is to locate information on Mildred Brand Davis’s life prior to getting married. At the same time I am questioning if she was a slave, or free? If so, when and how did she get free and who owned Mildred? Also, where did Mildred meet William Davis and marry?
The first strategy is to write down all that I know about Mildred:
- Born 24 April about 1818 (per census and death record) in Richmond, VA
- Mildred’s father is listed as being from Scotland-this came from another record
- Mildred married William Davis at some date maybe before or around 1838 (first son Joseph B. Davis is born in Chambersburg, Franklin County, PA)
- 1843 Franklin Co. Tax list-William Davis, a colored is listed, 11 acres, cow
- In Antrim, Franklin County, she first shows up in the 1850 Fed. population census, as wife and mother of two.
- William Davis sold the 11 acres in Franklin Co. in 1858, they left for Ohio
- The Davis family hit the trail and headed to Ohio, lived in Wayne Co, first, per the deed of the 25 acres that was brought in neighboring Medina Co.
- William and Mildred had two children born in Medina, Alma and Henry after 1860 census
- In Westfield, Medina County, Ohio you are listed in1860 as wife of William Davis and have the following children: Joseph, James, Susan, and William O. as children in Ohio
- Mildred had 8 children (I have birth for some and death records on each of Mildred’s children)
- Mildred is listed in the 1870, 1880, census in Benzie County Michigan
- William Davis did in 4 Dec 1881
- Mildred dies 17 December 1895 in Benzie County, Michigan
- James Brand/Brant assumed to be your brother, married Matilda Helman, was in Franklin Co. and also relocated to Medina Ohio by 1867. His line passed for white in Ohio.
- Lived 5 yrs in Medina Co. Ohio, then onward to homestead in Benzie County, MI.
Benzie Co. Death Records
What I don’t know about Mildred Brand Davis:
- Who Mildred’s parents were
- Why and how she left Richmond, VA?
- Was she is a slave or freeborn?
- How did William and Mildred meet and marry?
- If Joseph Brand, her son, is William Davis’s son?
- If there were other babies born and died
- Does Mildred has any other siblings?
- There is no photo of Mildred Brand Davis
Who or What might know something about Mildred Brand Davis:
- Other children’s death records in Michigan, VA, OH, PA
- Seek marriage record for Mildred & William Davis in PA and VA
- View laws for “colored” free, slaves, and marriage, etc. in PA.
- Look for info in Richmond on Brands during 1818-1825, land records
- Look for anyone from Scotland in Richmond during 1800-1825
- Research the slave trade in Richmond, was Brand a slave trader, slave owner
- Review Maurie McInnis’s book on Waiting to be Sold for any leads on resources in Richmond
- Is there anything about VA to PA regarding slaves or free people-google is my friend
- Look for earlier Franklin County records and information on the Davis family and Brand family
- Check for church records in Franklin County-they lived near United Brethren Church-they sold the house to the Rev. Wm Coursey of United Brethren Church.
- Check buried records in Franklin County
- Follow James Brand in Ohio and his lines, maybe something was noted on his parents or siblings
- Join the Franklin Co. PA Historical Society
- Check for any possible newspaper articles
- Read about Blacks in Franklin County 1800-1860, free and enslaved
- Research the all counties surrounding Franklin County, PA
- Search earlier tax records (pre-1843)
- See if there are others researching the Davis in Franklin Co. and Medina Ohio
- Look for white Davis families in Franklin Co. and Clarke County, VA
- Check with family on any oral history or thoughts
- Share my walls with others in my genealogy groups for thoughts, ideas, and support
The list is enough to get started and will be an ongoing list. There will be more added and some things will be checked off. It will be one record at a time. Is there anything you would add or have a question about?