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Lowcountry Africana Website, Sponsored by Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, Now Live!
Internet Archive of Plantation, Slave Records
Lowcountry Africana Website, Sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC, is Now Live

The new Lowcountry Africana website, sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC, is now live! Lowcountry Africana is entirely dedicated to records that document the family and cultural heritage of African Americans in the historic rice-growing areas of South Carolina, Georgia and extreme northeastern Florida, home to the rich Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage.

Past scholarship has documented the cultural ties between Gullah/Geechee descendants and the people of West Africa. Ongoing research conducted by the USF Africana Heritage Project suggests that the Lowcountry Southeast is also a unique family heritage area where enslaved communities were remarkably stable over time, due in part to the specialized rice-growing skills enslaved people brought with them from Africa.

The Lowcountry Africana website will be a treasure trove of primary documents, book excerpts and multimedia that further document and explore the dynamic cultural and family heritage of the Lowcountry Southeast.

Access to the entire content of Lowcountry Africana will always be 100% free. Visit now to begin enjoying these features:

Searchable database of primary historical documents of interest to genealogists, historians and other scholars

Key Archive pages: a place where archives with major holdings on Lowcountry plantations can share birth, death and other records of enslaved people and communities

Sponsored Family Foundation Pages: a place where major slaveholding families share plantation records

Family tree files (GEDCOM files) hosted by our collaborators, containing information on family lineages constructed from plantation records, with associated documents, photographs and multimedia. Readers may download and print family files to build books on their family's history.

WPA slave narratives, indexed and fully searchable -- coming soon!

Book, film and music excerpts from key researchers of Gullah/Geechee heritage

Key Website pages: a place where major genealogy websites share content of interest to Lowcountry researchers

Research Library with articles on Lowcountry history, genealogy and culture

Full-Text Reading Room with links to hours of full-text reading about all things Lowcountry.

Free membership that will provide readers with an online storage locker for their favorite Lowcountry Africana and Internet content, for fast retrieval

A custom Internet search engine geared to search only sites with content pertaining to the Lowcountry

Lowcountry Lives: an area of the website where we tell life stories, both remarkable and mundane, of slaves, freedpersons and enslaved communities of the Lowcountry

Featured Articles: an area of the website where we highlight documents or photographs of interest, an article about a particular aspect of the Lowcountry African American experience, or newly discovered archives

Family Stories: a page where readers can share and preserve family history and memories -- coming soon!

News items of interest to researchers of all things Lowcountry

Conservation Efforts: a place where readers can learn about efforts to preserve Lowcountry cultural resources and landmarks -- coming soon!

Links Page with referrals to related Internet resources

Drayton Family Records

Magnolia Plantation and Drayton Hall were home to the Drayton and Grimke families of Charleston. The Drayton family not only sponsored Lowcountry Africana, but also opened their family archives for study and interpretation.

We have constructed the lineages of known descendants of Drayton family slaves, and we are now working with more than 10,000 pages of Antebellum records, to reconstruct lineages of enslaved communities on Drayton family plantations. You may view the lineages of known descendants at, by accessing the article below:

Genealogy of Enslaved Communities on Drayton Family Plantations: A Research Project Sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC

This research is one component of "From Slavery to Freedom," a comprehensive interpretive center for African American history that Magnolia is now developing.

Our goal is to make Lowcountry Africana a definitive research guide for tracing African American ancestry in the Lowcountry.

How You Can Help:

We will be gathering records from South Carolina, Savannah, coastal Georgia and St. Augustine for the website's searchable database. We will cherish you and every record you share with us for the Lowcountry Africana website. You can send them directly to us at

What's next: Thanks to the Magnolia Plantation Foundation's generous support, we get to build this wonderful website and load it up with useful information. We look forward to serving the Lowcountry research community!

We are profoundly grateful to the Magnolia Plantation Foundation for sponsoring this exciting research and website.

Stay tuned for more details about Lowcountry Africana and how you can get involved!

Related Press Coverage:

Insight Into Slave History: Project Will Put Names With Faces by Brian Hicks, Charleston Post and Courier
African American History At Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Descendants of families enslaved at Magnolia Plantation continued to live and work there well into the 20th century. This photograph was taken in the early 1900s.

Aunt Phoebe sweeping the broadwalk, taken about 1901.

Slave cabin, part of the "From Slavery to Freedom" interpretive center at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Early 20th Century photo of the Bennett family, whose ancestors were enslaved on Magnolia Plantation.

The Slave Cemetery at Magnolia Plantation.

Copyright 2008 The University of South Florida and The Africana Heritage Project. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. For more information, contact the Africana Heritage Project via e-mail.