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14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Aug 07, 2019
by Robin Foster
Why would you want to trace the person back in time who enslaved your family? Because if you know he was the person who enslaved your family, you want to follow him wherever he lived because at any time you can find out clues about your family even though you do not see their names mentioned.
James Kincaid Vance in 1950 with young family some time after he moved from
Laurens County, South Carolina. I know that Samuel Vance, father to James
Kincaid Vance gave my 2nd great grandfather, Beverly Vance, to
James. James moved to Abbeville County, SC with this family. I do not know if
Beverly’s mother, Marie, got to come with him before enslavement ended, but he
was a “house boy” to James.
this next thing I have done lots of times, but this is the first time I have
shared it. I usually go the county library or archives when I am having trouble
on a census before 1870. I look up the person in the census book. I recently
bought the Abbeville County, South Carolina 1860 Census from the August
Genealogical Society, Inc. I have come to know many of the families having
lived there. I traced them when I was looking for where Beverly Vance could
have been buried.
have a list of names that Beverly Vance put together. He listed the names of
the men who threatened him during Reconstruction. I found most of them in the
1860 Census. It is easier now to open the book to examine the names, rather
than pull them up online.
1860, in found James Kincaid Vance, remember Beverly would have been enslaved
by him. He was hard to find which is another reason I consulted this book. His
name was entered in as Joseph K. Vance. He did have an uncle named Joseph
Harrison Vance referred to as Harp Vance by Beverly. Joseph was not married and
lived in the area. The enumerator must have somehow confused the name.
There is an overseer listed next door.
Saml. Caldwell. Next, we will take a look at the 1870 US Census to see Beverly’s
family and who all is living next door to him. We will also show you where
James Kincaid Vance is living in 1880 and who is living with him.
It does not seem like a lot, but when
you put together different resources, oral history, and what you uncover on
your own, you start to understand a little about life back then.
Have you ever searched the old census
books? Did you notice anything more that did not stick out to you in the online
Have you traced the enslaver every
census year? Were you able to get back to his father and mother? Have your ever
found the will of an enslaver? Did it mention your family?Share your answers to some of these
questions out in our Facebook Group.
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