Welcome to the Ancestors Page, where the ancestors search for you! Here you will find pictures and stories about slaves and freedpersons. These pictures and stories have been submitted by descendants of slaveholding families, and other contributors, who would like to share them with descendants of the named slaves or freedpersons.
If you find your ancestors on this page, please contact us! Happy Hunting!
Our first Ancestors feature concerns pension checks received by former slaves from Mississippi, for their service in the Civil War. Read on:
Dear Africana Heritage,
A couple of years ago I stumbled on to some papers that I feel are important to the African American community. I was rummaging in a junk store in Hattiesburg, MS and bought a box of old papers. They turned out to be old bank statements from the early 1900's. Included were the records as to why the checks were written and to whom. I discovered, much to my surprise, that former slaves who had gone to war with their masters got pensions.
I have checks belonging to 6 actual former slaves along with the documentation. I have spent all this time looking for some decendants who might want them with no luck. I would also like for descendants to know that, since a check exists, so does a detailed application record in Jackson, MS, that would be a storehouse of info. I am still trying to get the checks to family members, who are descended from the folks mentioned in these documents.
Charlene Moore, TX
Ruth Edmondson has spent many hours transcribing the documents that Charlene purchased, and she has shared them on her website at http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ms/jasper/military/civilwar/pension.txt. Ruth has also shared her transcriptions on our website. Here are Ruth's thoughts on the importance of these finds:
"I am delighted that you find the information that Charlene and I compiled helpful. We appreciate the personal sacrifices that our ancestors made so that we can enjoy the advantages of modern life and love of family. This is important work and fascinating, offering a window into history. People who understand the challanges and problems of their ancestors remember who they are as individuals and are able to draw closer to their brethren."
"It is a blessing to be able to help people find their family and important to keep the process as cost free as possible. It is my belief that there are other, perhaps more complete lists of all the Mississippi counties in Jackson at the Archives."
"Some of the spellings on the original handwritten lists were difficult to decipher at best causing me to guess in some instances and in other instances decide by whoever would stand still long enough to answer the question: 'What letter do you think this is?' In the interest of accuracy I would be interested in spelling corrections from descendants of anyone on the lists."
The former slaves who received these pension checks were John Edmondson, A. G. Royals, Amos Wilson, Bob Gaddy, Henry Clayton, Joe Williams and John Turner. Please use the Navigation Bar on the left to view images of these checks. If these belong to your ancestors, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Copyright 2004 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.