Finding Your African-American Ancestor in Anson County, NC
Compiled by Steve Bailey
Ancestor research concerning any race takes patience and dedication. This is a hobby that will never be completed, because you will continually find pieces of information that will lead you to other records. It takes patience and dedication because some things might take a lifetime to find, and at the same time some of the answers we search for will never be found. Anyone that takes an interest in the hobby of genealogy need not expect to learn all about their ancestors in one or two days.
These are a few of my tips for researching your African-American ancestors in Anson County, NC. Start with what you already know about yourself and your family. Future generations will want to know about who you are and what you did in your life. Keep a detailed journal or diary of happenings in your daily life.
Talk to older relatives, friends and acquaintances that knew your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Please keep in mind, don’t make this a one-time visit. Create a relationship with these older folks. Continue to visit and share with them what you learn. By doing so, you might cause them to remember something else, thus adding another bit of info to the family’s history.
The newspapers are an excellent source to check. The H.B. Allen Library, Wadesboro, has a newspaper collection on microfilm covering 1848 through 1982. You might be able to locate an obituary or other bit of vital information about your ancestor. There are no indexes to follow to remember to practice patience.
Also at the library on microfilm are Confederate veterans that received a pension due to their service in the Civil War. There were 10 African-Americans from Anson County that received a pension for their service in this War. Many other African-Americans from Anson County served in the Civil War but died before the pension laws went into effect in 1926.
Also at the library is the Census covering 1790 through 1920. Beginning with the 1870 census would be the first year naming everyone in the African-American household. The earlier census years would list free blacks & their families. Also on microfilm is the 1850 and 1860 slave census but slaves were not named, only their ages and gender being listed and the slave owner being named.
Also at our library is a book concerning the NC Mortality Census for 1850 through 1880. This census was always taken one year prior to the usual census just mentioned. Included on these mortality schedules were the name of the deceased, age, race, gender, place of birth, place of death, cause of death and length of illness.
In the Anson County Register of Deeds are birth and death records from 1913 to the present for those individuals that were born or died in Anson County. They also have marriage records from 1868 to the present for those couple that got married in Anson County. The land records go back to 1749. The birth, death, marriage and land records have an index to go by.
There are slave sales in the old deed books that are not listed in the grantor/grantee indexes. In order to locate a slave sale you must flip page after page till you come across one. I have been fortunate to locate several slave sales that were the ancestor of several African-Americans that I have done research for. A slave sale usually tells the name and age of a slave and sometimes will list a health problem if they had such.
In the Anson County Clerk of Court are old wills which go back to 1749. Slaves are sometimes named and their ages sometimes given.
material dated August 2001