Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"No land...only slaves"

As we all know there was a time when African Americans were bought and sold just like other possessions. Therefore there were legal documents connected with this transfer of ownership. These documents can be useful for looking into family history of any race as your ancestor could have been the buyer, seller, person bought or sold, witness to the event, or goverment employee who recorded the information.  A series of books entitled "No Land...Only Slaves" began being researched and published in the last 10 years by Edith Smith and Vivian Lehman in Balch Springs, TX. They began to asbtract the slave conveyances from the county deed records. Their abstracts include deed book number, page number, record number, event date, filing date, name of conveyor, name of conveyee, type of record, name of slave, gender, age, any descriptions given, value, type of payment where given, special notes, witnesses, notaries, recorders, clerks and other persons mentioned. Here's the text of one entry from the Bossier Parish, LA book.
1 Oct 1857/6 Nov 1861 Landrum, John M and Cooper, James N. of Caddo Parish to Landrum, John N. Bill of Sale. George, male, 18 black, 1/2 interest, $700. Witnesses: Leonard, F.A. and Attaway, E. Deputy Recorder: Leonard, F.A. Parish Recorder: Miller, Austin
We have these books for 5 Louisiana parishes, 13 Texas counties, and 1 Arkansas county. We will add more to the collection soon.

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