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14 Wharfside StreetCharleston, SC 29401
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14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Feb 03, 2020
Today’s featured FamilySearch collection is US, Texas–Voter Registration, 1867-1869. This collection can be especially helpful for African American genealogy because the records were made prior to 1870, and can help you tighten up your ancestor’s timeline between 1865 and the 1870 U.S. Census.
This collection includes voter registration records for male voters in various counties in Texas.
These records may include the following information:
This collection was formed from microfilm of original documents housed at the Texas State Library in Austin, Texas. Some images may be difficult to read, but are the best copies of the images that are available. For more information about this collection, please see the collection’s Learn More page.
If you find an ancestor in this collection, you can search for other Reconstruction era records for the location where your ancestor registered to vote.
Let’s look at an example for Woodley Cook, who registered to vote in Brazoria County, Texas in 1867. Benjamin Cook and Jacob Cook also registered to vote on the same day (please click on image to view larger).
Name: Woodley CookEvent Type: Voter RegistrationEvent Date: 15 Aug 1867Event Place: Brazoria, Texas, United StatesEvent Place (Original): Brazoria, TexasBirthplace: Miss
The collection description page from the Texas State Archives and Archives Commission notes that names were recorded in the order that people presented themselves to be registered. Woodley Cook, Benjamin Cook and Jacob Cook all appear on the same page of the voter registration record and registered to vote on the same day.
A good place to start first for researching from this record would be to search Freedmen’s Bureau records to see if Woodley Cook appears in any records produced by the Freedmen’s Bureau. Here we see a labor contract that Woodley Cook and several others entered into with planter William Kennedy (please click on the image to view larger).
We found a freedmen’s labor contract between Edward Kennedy and Woody, Jake, Ben, Annette, Mary and Emeline Cook, made January 1, 1867. A remark in the margin notes that the contract was paid in full June 1, 1867:
We found a second freedmen’s labor contract for Woodley Cook, with William Kennedy:
Wm. Kennedy with
There are brackets around Woodley, Mary, Jacob and Antoinette Cook, Hannah Bird and Emeline Cook, with the notation “$345. Per year one half payable monthly.” There is also a bracket around Ben Cook, Sukey Cook and Ben Cook Jr. with the notation “208. Per year.” Do the brackets perhaps indicate family groupings?
We searched for Woodley Cook in the 1870 U.S. Census and found that Woodley and Emeline Cook were in the same household:
Name: Woodly CookEvent Type: CensusEvent Date: 1870Event Place: Justice Precinct 4, Brazoria, Texas, United StatesEvent Place (Original): Precinct 4, Brazoria, Texas, United StatesGender: MaleAge: 50Race: BlackBirth Year (Estimated): 1820Birthplace: MississippiPage Number: 60
Household ID: 474Line Number: 25Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)Affiliate Publication Number: M593GS Film Number: 000553075Digital Folder Number: 004275546Image Number: 00352
“United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXGK-TP6 : 15 June 2019), Emeline Cook in entry for Woodly Cook, 1870.
We found a marriage record for Woodley Cook and Olly Evans in Brazoria, Texas in the collections Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977 and Texas Marriages, 1837-1973:
Name: Woodley CookEvent Type: MarriageEvent Date: 03 Sep 1874Event Place: Brazoria, Texas, United StatesSpouse’s Name: Olly Evans
“Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XLH1-LJS : 22 December 2016), Woodley Cook and Olly Evans, 03 Sep 1874; citing Brazoria, Texas, United States, county courthouses, Texas; FHL microfilm 1,008,071.
We searched for Woodley Cook in the 1880 U.S. Census. His household members were:
Name: Woodley CookEvent Type: CensusEvent Date: 1880Event Place: Precinct 9, Brazoria, Texas, United StatesGender: MaleAge: 40Marital Status: MarriedRace: BlackRace (Original): BOccupation: LaborerRelationship to Head of Household: SelfRelationship to Head of Household (Original): SelfBirth Year (Estimated): 1840Birthplace: Mississippi, United StatesFather’s Birthplace: Mississippi, United StatesMother’s Birthplace: Mississippi, United StatesSheet Letter: DSheet Number: 212Person Number: 0Volume: 1
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFFP-7M9 : 15 July 2017), George Cook in household of Woodley Cook, Precinct 9, Brazoria, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district ED 22, sheet 212D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,255,292.
If you find an ancestor in early voter registrations, be sure to search for early tax records as well. We searched for Woodley Cook in Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1837-1910, which contains records for 1865, 1875, 1885, 1890, 1895 and 1905. These records can help you locate your ancestor between federal census years. Here we see that Woodley Cook appears several times in early Brazoria, Texas tax records:
The FamilySearch Wiki page Texas, United States Genealogy provides an overview of resources for genealogy research in Texas.
The FamilySearch Wiki page African American Resources for Texas provides an overview of resources for African American genealogy in Texas.
The Texas Record Finder page on the FamilySearch Wiki is a great resource for locating Texas records, based on the information you would like to learn about your ancestor. Below is a snapshot of the page and the information it contains:
To learn more about African American genealogy research in Texas, you can view BlackProGen LIVE! Ep 62: People of Color Genealogy Research in Texas.
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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