But thats exactly what three organizations plan to create for descendants of the slaves of Charleston, SCs Magnolia Plantation and others operated by the Drayton family. In a project funded by the plantations foundation, the University of South Floridas all-volunteer Africana Heritage Project will pore over the Draytons’ plantation journals to re-create the family trees of its slaves. Those family files will be posted on genealogy wiki WeRelate, where family history researchers will be able to access them for free. Africana Heritage Project founding director Toni Carrier says the filesin GEDCOM formatwill appear gradually as the research progresses. “We aim to have the first batch up by mid-July,” she says.
Magnolia Plantation is also collaborating with the Africana Heritage Project on a new Web site to be launched in March 2008: Lowcountry Africana will document African-American heritage in South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Floridas historic rice-growing regionin particular, its unique Gullah/Geechee culture. The site will feature slaveholding families plantation records, a searchable database of primary historical documents, name indexes to Lowcountry history and genealogy books, historical photographs and more.
Carrier encourages genealogists and families with ties (or suspected ties) to Drayton family plantations to contact her organization. “We would love to invite them to join this exciting journey of discovery,” she says.