"Ancestors never die until there is no one to call their names." ~ An African Proverb

Posts tagged “Little

Neal Family-Slave Owner Research (part 1)

I have been researching my family history for many years, yet the slave owners of my maternal Neal family line seem to be the most elusive.  I followed the suggested tips to locate them: searching for other than the “Neal” surname, searching military records, Freedman’s Savings and Trust records, and searching nearby families on corresponding 1870 census records. In this series of posts titled “Slave Owner Research” I will look for clues using the methods above, follow clues in estate documents, investigate alternate surname possibilities, and finally reach out to slave owners families to collaborate and share information.

My first tip when I began looking for slave owners was to search the 1870 census for 10 pages forward and backward from my known family. I didn’t find any Neal families that matched the age and genders even remotely close. That could mean they moved to a different county after emancipation, they were owned by a different surname, etc. However, one document that I found early on was sticking out to me. I knew my 3rd great grandfather Gabriel Neal was listed on the 1867 Return of Registered Voters in Banks County, Georgia. I found a man named Thales Neal who was listed in the exact same militia district, and had been living there for the same amount of time.

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The 1860 Slave Schedule showed that he owned about 27 slaves; only a few matching the ages of my ancestors on the 1870 census. When I started researching this family even more closely I found out that Thales’ middle name was Major after his grandfather, and Thales’ father was John Mayfield Neal. They married into families of Crawfords and Littles. I would later discover the custom of taking the mother’s maiden name as the middle name.

In my own family I found similar names of Major, Mayfield and Crawford. I thought they were unusual names and I had not found any other relatives they could have been named after. Aside from being geographically close and having some possible matches in age on slave records, I had no valid source to prove that Thales Neal was the slave owner. However, whenever I found new information on Thales Major or John Mayfield Neal I felt that tingle that meant I was on the right path.

I ran into a few road blocks along the way. I searched everywhere for a will or papers for Thales Neal. He is listed on the Muster-In Roll of the Confederate 4th Cavalry (State Guards) on August 15, 1863.  There he participated in Sherman’s famous March to the Sea, and was wounded during the skirmish at Griswoldville in late November 1864. He would succumb to his injuries approximately two weeks later.

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I finally located a will that was probated in February 1865, and in it he states “…I will and bequeath unto my beloved son John Nathaniel F Neal three negroes to wit Lucy Ann and her two children Floyd and Harriet. I will and bequeath to my beloved wife Therisa Neal a negro woman Mary known as the one given her by her father and all her increase…” What happened to the remaining slaves between 1860 and 1863, and why were these two women the only slaves mentioned in the will?

 

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I went back over the will and re-read the line that says “Mary known as the one given her by her father and all her increase”. Thales’ wife Therisa was given a slave named Mary by her father. Therisa’s maiden name was Holley, and all of a sudden I remember that my great grand aunt Clara Allen’s husband Judge was the son of Floyd Neal and Mary Holley! Could this possibly be the same Mary mentioned in Thales’ will? And could Floyd be the son of Lucy Ann mentioned in the will?

As of this point I cannot find a death date for Floyd or Mary to order death certificates, and when I do I am hoping that they will provide the answers to these questions. In my next post  I will search through Freedman’s Bank records, alternate slave owner surnames and connections through death certificates.


Black History Month-Guest Blogging and Musings

This month I was chosen as guest blogger by Adam Henig, a writer, blogger and author of the new book Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey. I was excited for the opportunity to pay tribute not just to my ancestors, but also the many African Americans who persevered through what seemed like insurmountable odds and still contributed so much to American society with minimal recognition.

In paying this tribute I began to notice some stark contrasts. Discovering ancestral histories was celebrated in the original work by Alex Haley; today there is an apathy and disconnection from mother continents for African Americans. For example, the preference to be called “Black” instead of African American. We are the only culture that separates ourselves from Africans living in America today. We can’t speak the language, we don’t know native culture and customs, and when we look at native Africans we don’t have a spiritual connection that once bonded us and helped us survive the shackles of slavery. Roots presented our history to the world and inspires African Americans to know their mother tongue again. This re-connection should be celebrated every month to ignite that desire in every future generation of family historians and genealogists.

So I was inspired by another one of my fellow bloggers, Dante Eubanks, who recently posted on his blog Our Alabama and Georgia Ancestors a list of the family lines that he is actively researching. I thought this would be the perfect way to call out my own ancestors to ensure that their accomplishments and rich family histories will be shared not just during Black History Month, but every month for many years to come. I will be featuring all of these ancestors in greater detail in future posts. Thanks again to Adam Henig at www.adanhenig.com, and Dante Eubanks at http://ouralabamaandgeorgiaancestors.blogspot.com for
providing insight and motivation for this post.

Maternal Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee Ancestors

Grandfather:

Raymond Nelson Neal b. 1916 Maysville, Ga   d. 1994 Milwaukee, WI

Great Grandparents:

Leroy Neal b. 1890 Maysville, GA   d. 1936 Milwaukee, WI
Pearl Allen b. 1898 Anderson, GA   d. 1924 Milwaukee, WI

2nd Great Grandparents:

Asbury Elson Neal b. 1848 Banks, GA   d. 1924 Gainesville, GA
Laura Ann Ware b. 1853 Madison, GA   d. 1922 Banks, GA
George Allen b. 1856 Athens, GA   d. 1900 Athens, GA
Ella Mackey b. 1867 Georgia   d. 1927 Milwaukee, WI

3rd Great Grandparents:

Gabriel Neal b. 1822 Virginia   d. unk
Anna Little b. 1825 Georgia   d. unk
Russ White b. 1820 unk   d. unk
Martha Ware b. 1825 Tennessee   d. unk
Jacob Mackey b. unk   d. unk
Lousenda Snell b. 1822 Georgia   d. unk

Paternal Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Louisiana Ancestors

Grandmother:

Rachel Caroline Holbert b. 1931 Palestine, TX   d. 1997 Milwaukee, WI

Great Grandparents:

Allen Holbert b. 1894 Palestine, TX   d. 1958 Palestine, TX
Rachel Caroline Robinson b. 1896 Palestine, TX   d. 1974 Palestine, TX

2nd Great Grandparents:

Allen C Holbert b. 1869 Rusk, TX   d. unk
Georgia Sanders b. 1870 Anderson, TX   d. unk
Wesley Robinson b. 1872 Louisiana   d. 1928 Palestine, TX
Mary Ann Williams b. 1865 Bryan, Texas   d. 1900 Bryan, TX

3rd Great Grandparents:

Franklin Holbert b. 1825 Limestone, Alabama   d. unk
Susan Crenshaw b. 1839 Limestone, Alabama   d. 1928 Paden, OK
Armstead Sanders b. 1817 North Carolina   d. unk
Emily Hicks b. 1830 Georgia   d. unk
Wesley Robinson, Sr. b. 1852 Louisiana   d. unk
Jana Sims b. 1855 Louisiana   d. unk