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Tracing Slave Ancestors
6/12/2014
Don’t stop your family history search at the Emancipation Proclamation. Use these techniques to discover African-American roots obscured by slavery.
MY third-great-grandfather Lewis Carter was born about 1817 in Virginia and spent most of his life there. The 1870 census shows him living in that state’s Madison County with his wife and six children. He was a farmhand with real estate valued at $4,700 and personal property worth $1,150.
 
Such substantial holdings aren’t bad for a “mulatto” so soon after the end of slavery. Was Lewis Carter freed before the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1863? Did a former master reward his work with this land? Had my third-great-grandfather scraped together enough money to buy property?
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