Anyone among us who is looking for an "invisible" ancestor,
or for one who might have been a slave, freedman, mulatto or Indian,
would do well to begin looking in this book. I found both Bowles and
Jeffries listed here, with excellent sources given to continue the
This URL is where you begin:
This one gives you the title page and acknowledgements:
FREE AFRICAN AMERICANS
Including the family histories of
more than 80% of those counted
as "all other free persons"
in the 1790 and 1800 census
Winner: North Carolina Genealogical Society
Award of Excellence in Publishing
The American Society of Genealogists'
Donald Lines Jacobus Award
A hard copy of this book can be purchased from the publisher:
Copyright by Paul Heinegg 1999
All Rights Reserved
This one will broaden your horizons about researching our
ancestors in colonial times:
These genealogies, comprising the colonial history of the majority of
the free African American families of Virginia and North Carolina,
reveal several facets of American colonial history previously
overlooked by historians:
* Most families were the descendants of white servant women who
had children by slaves or free African Americans.
* Many descended from slaves who were freed before the 1723
Virginia law which required legislative approval for manumissions.
Families like Gowen, Cumbo, and Driggers who were free in the
mid-seventeenth century had several hundred members before the end of
the colonial period.
* Very few families descended from white slave owners who had
children by their slaves, perhaps as low as 1% of the total.
* Many free African American families in colonial North Carolina
and Virginia were landowners who were generally accepted by their
* Free Indians blended into the free African American
communities. They did not form their own separate communities.
* Some of the light-skinned descendants of free African Americans
formed the tri-racial isolates of Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Louisiana.
Most of the free African Americans of Virginia and North Carolina
originated in Virginia where they became free in the seventeenth and
eighteenth century before chattel slavery and racism fully developed
in the United States.
When they arrived in Virginia, Africans joined a society which was
divided between master and white servant - a society with such
contempt for white servants that masters were not punished for
beating them to death [McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council, 22-24].
They joined the same households with white servants - working,
eating, sleeping, getting drunk, and running away together
[Northampton Orders 1664-74, fol.25, p.31 - fol.31; McIlwaine,
Minutes of the Council, 466-7; Hening, Statutes at Large, II:26, 117;
Charles City County Orders 1687-95, 468; Westmoreland County Orders