Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Is In A Name?

One of the reasons genealogy research is interesting to me is trying to find the history of my ancestors which helped shape me. When researching black African American genealogy, the search has many elements to consider.  The surname may be from a slave master at the Emancipation Proclamation, former slave master or an adopted name.  Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was a famous former slave.  He changed his name to Frederick Douglass. Araminta "Minty" Ross is known as Harriett Tubman.  Booker  T.  Washington took the surname Washington from his mother’s husband Washington Ferguson.    These famous former slaves could not verify with certainty the exact year of their birth or biological fathers.  I am however optimistic that my efforts to discover linage will be good.    We now have DNA testing and the Internet which can record, search and shared family history stories. 

My starting point I have made several assumptions concerning my ancestors that 1) predominately of African ancestry 2) they were slaves  3) their surname is the name of the former slave owner 4) the emancipated slaves lived in the same geographic area as their former masters 5) emancipated slaves with the same surname are related. 
None of these assumptions maybe true.
My research of African American Brumfield ancestors and related trees has focused predominately in Pike, Amite, Marion, Walthall, Lincoln counties in Mississippi and Washington Parish, Louisiana.   
In an attempt to trace the origin of the surnames in the states of Mississippi and Louisiana,   I initially referred to a detailed genealogy of the ancestors of Glenn Brumfield and the book  Source Records from Pike County, Mississippi 1798 - 1910  by Luke Ward Conerly. These sources describe the early family settlers with listed surnames I have researched. These sources mention the Caucasian families who migrated from North Carolina, South Carolina  and Virginia.   In the Luke Conerly's book, he mentions geneologies, church records, census, military records , individuals who own slaves and a few black people who lived in these communities.  Are there any other available sources?    Post let me know.   ------- Tree Gardener

1 comment:

Jacqi Stevens said...

I found your blog via GeneaBloggers today, and enjoyed taking a look at what you've written. You have a good point about surnames not necessarily coming from the source one might assume--although I've always wondered where the "T" in Booker T. Washington came from--and it seems like such a mammoth research task to sort all that data out!

Best wishes as you continue posting on your blog!