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14 Wharfside StreetCharleston, SC 29401
Museum open 10am to 5pm (last entry 4:00 PM) Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.
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14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Feb 03, 2020
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Florida — Voter Registration Records, 1867–1905 . The collection consists of voter registration records for Hernando, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Polk, Putnam, Santa Rosa, St. John, Sumpter, Suwannee, Taylor, Volusia, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties for years 1867-1905. Microfilm of the records is housed at the Bureau of Archives and Records Management in Tallahassee, Florida. Please see the collection’s Learn More page for detailed information about this collection.
For each voter registered, name, registration date, race and length of time in the county are recorded.
These records can help you pinpoint your ancestor’s location prior to 1870.
Because these records do not provide such details as date and place of birth, you will need to look at other records you find for this location to determine whether or not this voter registration record is for your ancestor, especially if your ancestor had a common surname.
Once you are confident that a particular voter registration record is for your ancestor, you can search that location for other records that may further your research.
The FamilySearch Wiki provides detailed information for each county in the United States. The Wiki page for Levy County, for instance, includes this chart of known record beginning dates for Levy County:
Locating your ancestor before 1870 will be especially helpful for locating other Reconstruction era records for your ancestor. Many records made during Reconstruction, such as Freedmen’s Bureau, Freedman’s Bank and Southern Claims Commission records, are organized by place. Finding your ancestor in pre-1870 records can also provide important clues for identifying the slaveholder, if your ancestor was enslaved.
Let’s look at an example for Edward Stidum, who registered to vote in Levy County, Florida:
Name: Edward StidumEvent Type: Voter RegistrationEvent Place: Florida, United StatesRace: Black
We learn from this record that Edward Stidum registered to vote in Levy County, Florida on August 20, 1868. His race is listed as black. He had been in Levy County for at least 12 months. We can use this information to find other records for him.
We will be especially interested in finding more Reconstruction era records for Edward Stidum.
If your ancestor was in Florida in 1867-1868, they may have interacted with the Freedmen’s Bureau or the Freedman’s Savings and Trust (Freedman’s Bank).
You can search for Freedmen’s bureau records at discoverfreedmen.org. Our search for Edward Stidum in Freedmen’s Bureau records produced no results, but your search for a Florida ancestor may yield valuable records.
To browse Freedmen’s Bureau records, the website Mapping the Freedmen’s Bureau can help you learn which Freedmen’s Bureau field offices were closest to where your ancestor lived.
You can search the FamilySearch collection United States, Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874 to see if your Florida ancestor opened a bank account.
Your Florida ancestor may have served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Our article Did Your Ancestor Serve in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? Here’s How to Find Out will show you step by step how to search for USCT records for your ancestor.
Our search for Edward Stidum proved fruitful. We first searched the FamilySearch collection United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865 and found a service record for Edward Stidum. The record reveals that he was born in Pennsylvania and served in Company F, 3rd United States Colored Troops:
Edward Stidum was discharged in Florida and must have decided to remain there:
If you find that your ancestor served in the United States Colored Troops, you can search the FamilySearch collection United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 to see if your ancestor applied for a pension. Our search for Edward Stidum once again proved fruitful. He did indeed apply for a pension. If you find your ancestor in the general index, you will want to download the pension file index card, as this is the document you will need to order your ancestor’s pension from from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Below is the index card for Edward Stidum:
To learn more about United States Colored Troops pension files and how to use them, see Bernice Bennet’s article USCT Pension Files: A Rich Resource for African American Genealogy.
There are more FamilySearch collections we can search to further document Edward Stidum’s service in the United States Colored Troops. Let’s search some of the resources listed in our article Resources for Documenting United States Colored Troops Veterans.
A search of the FamilySearch collection United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933 produced two records:
The payment cards show the rate per month that the veteran or his widow received, and the date on which those payments commenced. To learn more about this collection and how to use it in your research, see the collection’s Learn More page.
Our search of the FamilySearch collection United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1949 revealed a headstone application for Edward Stidum:
The Southern Homestead Act, approved by Congress on June 21, 1866, opened 46 million acres of public lands for settlement in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Nineteen million acres of these Federal lands were located in Florida. The Act prohibited discrimination because of race. It therefore offered an opportunity for many Florida freedmen to become landowners.
The operations of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Florida were especially significant, as the bureau assisted freedmen with homesteading lands. From the descriptive pamphlet for M1869, Records of the Assistant Commissioner and Subordinate Field Offices for the State of Florida, we learn that Locating Agents in Florida assisted freedmen with selecting lands and provided them with a one-month supply of rations, free transportation to the selected lands and free seed for the first season’s planting.
As a result, by 1868, freedmen had entered more than 3,000 homesteads for land in Florida, more than in any southern public lands state. To search for a homestead entry for your Florida ancestor, you can visit the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office (BLM-GLO) website.
Our search for homestead entries for Edward Stidum returned two results:
We can click on the entry to see the land patent details:
The land patent detail reveals that Edward Stidum filed homestead entries for two parcels of land totaling 160.20 acres in Putnam County, Florida, both in Township 008S, Range 025E. To learn more about using land patents, see the Land Patent Search page on the FamilySearch Wiki.
You can also view images of the original land patent documents associated with your search results. Below is the land patent image for Edward Stidum’s land:
Let’s see what else we can learn about Edward Stidum.
A search of the 1870 U.S. Census for Edward Stidum returned a result for E.B. Stedum in Levy County, Florida. We have seen that Levy County is where Edward Stidum registered to vote in 1867-1868. We have seen that his birthplace was Pennsylvania. Let’s compare that with with information on E.B. Stidum in the 1870 U.S. Census:
Name: E B StedamEvent Type: CensusEvent Date: 1870Event Place: Levy, Florida, United StatesEvent Place (Original): Levy County, part of, Levy, Florida, United StatesGender: MaleAge: 25Race: BlackBirth Year (Estimated): 1845Birthplace: PennsylvaniaPage Number: 16
“United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNZX-G8F : 8 June 2019), Ellen Stedam in entry for E. B. Stedam, 1870.
A search of the FamilySearch collection Florida, County Marriages, 1830-1957 returned a marriage record for Edward Stidum and Esther Gordon in 1908, in Levy County, Florida:
Name: Edward B. StidumEvent Type: MarriageEvent Date: 28 Feb 1908Event Place: , Levy, Florida, United StatesGender: MaleMarital Status: MarriedSpouse’s Name: Esther GordonSpouse’s Gender: Female
The 1910 U.S. Census lists the household members of Edward Stidum:
Name: Edward B StidumEvent Type: CensusEvent Date: 1910Event Place: Precinct 20, Putnam, Florida, United StatesGender: MaleAge: 63Marital Status: MarriedRace: MulattoRace (Original): MulattoRelationship to Head of Household: HeadRelationship to Head of Household (Original): HeadBirth Year (Estimated): 1847Birthplace: PennsylvaniaFather’s Birthplace: MarylandMother’s Birthplace: PennsylvaniaSheet Letter: ASheet Number: 11
“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MVKV-1PK : accessed 28 December 2019), Gussie Gordon in household of Edward B Stidum, Precinct 20, Putnam, Florida, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 134, sheet 11A, family 144, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 166; FHL microfilm 1,374,179.
By the time of the 1930 U.S. Census, Edward Stidum was listed as a retired clergyman:
Name: Edward B StidumEvent Type: CensusEvent Date: 1930Event Place: Orlando, Orange, Florida, United StatesGender: MaleAge: 82Marital Status: MarriedRace: NegroRace (Original): NegroRelationship to Head of Household: HeadRelationship to Head of Household (Original): HeadBirth Year (Estimated): 1848Birthplace: PennsylvaniaFather’s Birthplace: MarylandMother’s Birthplace: PennsylvaniaSheet Letter: BSheet Number: 20
“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SYRB-L2M : accessed 28 December 2019), Dorothy W Oneal in household of Edward B Stidum, Orlando, Orange, Florida, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 17, sheet 21A, line 5, family 479, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 326; FHL microfilm 2,340,061.
FamilySearch’s Florida Research page contains information on searchable Florida collections, “browse image” Florida collections and Florida records within the FamilySearch catalog. You’ll also find related Learning Center courses and wiki pages for Florida listed there.
The Wiki page African American Resources for Florida is a great starting place to learn about more resources for African American genealogy research in Florida.
This collection’s Learn More page provides a detailed look at this collection.
The Florida Memory Collection at the Florida State Archives may have more records that document your ancestor, and is a great place to start looking for additional records.
If your Florida ancestor filed a homestead entry, you can browse the Florida Maps collection to pinpoint the location of your ancestor’s homestead.
The Florida History Timeline will help you place your ancestor’s experience in historical context.
To learn more about African American genealogy research in Florida, You can view BlackProGen LIVE! Ep 59: People of Color Genealogy Research in Florida.
Researching African American Genealogy provides step-by-step guidance for beginning your ancestor search, as well as links to online resources.
Quick Guide to African American Records contains information on beginning research tips, links to suggested guides for beginning your search for African American ancestors, overviews of major record sets, tips for finding the slaveholder, links to tutorials for African American genealogy in the FamilySearch Learning Center, and links to other online and offline resources.
Southern States Slavery and Bondage Collections will help you locate digitized searchable collections as well as digitized microfilms in the FamilySearch catalog related to slavery and bondage. The page is arranged by state
African American Genealogy provides links to Wiki pages for researching African Americans in each U.S. state.
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