Friday, February 26, 2010

"Friend of Friends" Friday: Slave records

Note: My "Friend of Friends Friday" theme was inspired by the essay posted by Sandra Taliaferro here.

My U.S. roots are mostly Southern.  And some of my ancestors were slave owners.  It's not a pretty fact, but it's true. While I can't change history, I can help descendants of slaves find their roots by posting the information I have. 

Thanks to recent blog posts by Sandra of "I Never Knew My Father" and Luckie at "Our Georgia Roots", I feel I should go ahead and post whatever small amounts of info I might find--whether beautifully researched and explained or not--especially info from primary sources.  I hope this might someday reunite a seeking descendant with their ancestor(s).

So, here's what I have so far:

DAVIS in Louisiana:
The probate record of Mary Ratcliff (Ratliff) Davis, wife of John Davis (my 4th-great grandparents), dated 19 Oct. 1836 in Catahoula Parish, La., lists the following slaves:

"1 negro man--Jack, one woman--Hannah, children Marie, Walker, Betsy"

These notes come via my mom and don't include the whole probate file, so I don't know at this point what happened to Jack, Hannah, and the children, but I may have more notes in files inherited from a cousin.  I have not really worked the Davis family yet.  (I'm still working on organizing some files I have and will post if I come across more info.)

Excerpt of photocopied estate inventory listing slaves owned by Paul Légère, Sept. 1822, Opelousas District, St. Landry Parish, La.  Photocopy owned by Liz Hall Morgan.

LEGERE in Louisiana:
Paul Légère (Legere, Leger) (my great-great-great grandfather), had no slaves in the 1796 census for Opelousas District in Louisiana (according to the Acadian Memorial and Acadians in Gray web sites), but his estate inventory of Sept. 1822 in St. Landry Parish, La., lists the following slaves:

"a negro man named Sam aged about twenty two years"
"a mulato [sic] woman named Mary aged about twenty one years with her child a girl named Susanne about eighteen months old"

Paul's widow, Marie Constance Potier (Potie) Légère, bought the slaves from her husband's estate.  She died in Jan. 1844 in the same parish.  I don't have her estate record, so I don't [yet] know what happened to Sam, Mary and Susanne.  Southwest Louisiana Records by Rev. Donald Hebert could also have records of them in a volume (vol. 33) partially devoted to Catholic church records for slaves.

CARRIERE, LANGLOIS in New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL:
I also have assorted notes on the Carrière (Carriere, Carrier--Joseph and daughter Françoise) and Langlois (Augustin and son Antoine, who married Françoise Carrière) families of colonial Mobile and New Orleans (early 1700s), but I am trying to organize that info, and will post it in a coherent form in the future. Most of it is from secondary sources, with some estate info that was posted on a now-defunct web site.

Meanwhile, I hope these tidbits will be of help to someone.


  1. I love that! Friend of Friends Friday! Indeed!!! Thank you so much Liz!:-)


  2. Liz,

    Thanks for joining in on the "A Friend of Friends" movement. I am glad my words inspired you. It seems the concept is spreading, and more bloggers are joining in and sharing information. A Friend of Friends Friday sounds like another great way to encourage people to share on a regular basis. Thanks!


  3. Hi Liz,
    Thanks so much for sharion. I'm sure you're records will help connect some descendant to their Ancestor and I hope you continue to share. I pray that other Bloggers continue in A Friend of Friends tradition and share also. God bless,

  4. Thanks for your comments & your own candid blogging about the frustrations (and triumphs) involved in finding African-American ancestors, which made me more aware that I could help just by posting names.

  5. Liz,

    Thank you for posting this. You are a trendsetter!