Has your family research led you to an African-American ancestor in Liberty County, Georgia…maybe on the 1870 federal census? If it is, you may have discovered two obstacles to extending your research farther back in time: 1) lack of last names in records preceding the Civil War, and 2) lack of named African-Americans in online and other records.
For example, you can find the original wills of white Liberty County slaveholders online on FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com in the original handwriting. The slaveholders often used their wills to leave particular slaves, by first name, to family members or friends. But scanning the original wills for those names is time-consuming, and although summaries of the wills exist, they almost always leave the names of the slaves out. The summary may say that the slaveholder left “property” to a named relative, but not that the “property” was a person. Or it may use the term slave, but not give the name.
This site is intended to fill in those gaps, to restore these names to the historical record and help you understand your heritage better. Each blog post consists of:
- a summary of a Liberty County slaveholder’s will
- the names of enslaved persons mentioned in the will
- screenshots from the original will showing the names
- links to the original wills on both FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com
The summaries are from the 1964 quarterly issues of The Georgia Genealogical Magazine edited by Folks Huxford and published under the auspices of The Wiregrass Georgia Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. I have scanned the original will copies contained on FamilySearch.org for the omitted African-American names, and taken the screenshots from there. (FamilySearch.org is free to the public.)
Some of the names are difficult to read or might be spelled differently in other records, so I will include possible variants in brackets.
To use this site to find an ancestor, use the search option at the top of the page to search for a name. All wills containing that name — whether slave or slaveholder — will appear.