Descendants of slaves from Charleston, SC’s Magnolia Plantation <www.magnoliaplantation.com>, as well as other properties operated by the Drayton family, may soon get help breaking through the brick wall African-American genealogists often encounter at the Civil War.
With funding from the plantation foundation, volunteers with the University of South Florida’s Africana Heritage Project <www.africanaheritage.com> will pore over the Draytons’ plantation journals to re-create slaves’ family trees. The family files will be posted as free GEDCOMs on the genealogy wiki WeRelate <werelate.org>. Africana Heritage Project founder Toni Carrier says that’s happening gradually as the research progresses.
Magnolia Plantation and the Africana Heritage Project are also collaborating on a Web site to launch in March: Lowcountry Africana will document African-American heritage in South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida’s historic rice-growing region – in particular, the unique Gullah (also called Geechee) culture. The site will feature slaveholding families’ plantation records, a searchable database of primary historical documents, name indexes, to Lowcountry history and more.
Carrier encourages genealogists with ties (or suspected ties) to Drayton family plantations to contact her organization.