This was on a MS list that I belong to and thought that perhaps some of this
information may help Tim and a few others..
From: English [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 30, 1999 5:16 PM
Subject: Slave Records found in Natchez
The following article was posted on another list of which I am a member by
Alice Dauro. If you know of anyone researching their Mississippi African
American roots, this is a must see. Please forward.
From Sun-Herald New Paper, Biloxi, MS
crucial link to the past
THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
NATCHEZ - Stephen Bryan, of brown coller, age about 25 years, weighs
Lewis Figg, of black coller, age about 27 years, weighs 160 lbs.
William Ball, of black coller, age about 11 years, weighs 90 lbs.
July Buckner and 3 children, of brown coller, age about 27 years, weighs 160
The records are chilling.
Written in precise script on yellowing pages, they document the vital
statistics of slaves brought from Kentucky to Mississippi just before the
The simply named Record Book was found in the basement of the Adams County
Courthouse by Mississippi Department of Archives and History researchers and
Chancery Clerk Tommy O'Beirne.
The book, which had been rebound sometime this century, is a rare
discovery - and could help some people trace more of their ancestry.
Many of the slaves are listed by first and last name, and the names of
the Kentucky owners are included as well. The records cover the period
"Mississippi required them to have an affidavit that would be signed
by owners that they had not
committed a felony and that they were of good character," O'Beirne
said. "There are no other records in the state of Mississippi like this."
"The documents aren't the only slave records in Mississippi, but they
are the most comprehensive group researchers have found.
"If you went back into the deed records, you would see occasionally
references to slaves,"
O'Beirne said. "The inclusion of the slaves' first and last names is
Any slaves brought into the state had to be certified, and a person
offering them for sale had to be the legal owner, said state archivist Jim
"The 1870 census was the first document that included blacks by name -
in the 1850 census
slaves were merely numbers. That's about as far as most blacks can take
their genealogy," Pitts
said. "Having a book like this gives another generation back. It's
something that's priceless for blacks who are doing their genealogy."
A microfilm of the records is now housed at the Department of Archives
and History and at the
Adams County Chancery Clerks office, so anyone can look up the
information without handling the rare records themselves.
"It is very rare to find documentation of this sort from such an early
time period," said Anne
Webster, head reference librarian at the Department of Archives and
History. "These records
indicate surnames, and in many cases the slaves are listed in family
groups. Using this information,
genealogists may be able to determine the slaves' previous owners, thus
tracing their families back another generation."
The records also may provide valuable information about the slave
The Forks of the Road in Natchez was one of the largest slave trading
sites in the South.
Historians may be able to draw some conclusions about trade routes
between Kentucky - where most of these slaves were moved from - and
Mississippi, Webster said.
The record book also contains justice court records and minutes from
the board of police, the precursor to the board of supervisors.
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