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They Had Names: Documenting the Enslaved in Liberty County, Georgia - Stacy Cole

  • Broadcast in History



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In 2017, an enslaver's descendant found his 1841 will naming eleven enslaved African Americans. She started trying to research them, and quickly found the difficulties confronting those seeking their African-American ancestors' stories. When she realized she had access to information they would have trouble finding, she created a website -- TheyHadNames.net -- to document the many African-American names found in antebellum Liberty County records. More than 5,000 names from wills, estate inventories, bills of sale, deeds of collateral, and church records have so far been added to the site. These names are missing from other published compilations of these records.  The eleven enslaved people who inspired the site have not been forgotten. The search continues but so far five of their descendants now have their family history back to 1793.


Stacy Ashmore Cole retired from the federal civil service in 2014 to Brunswick, Georgia. She began researching her family history, a hobby that quickly turned into an obsession, especially once she discovered that her paternal ancestors were all from the Georgia counties of Liberty, Dooly and Wilcox. She has since become secretary of the Liberty County's Midway Museum Board of Governors, and president of the Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society (CGGS). Combining an interest in social media with a love of genealogy and history, she developed the Midway Museum, CGGS and her own TheyHadNames.net web pages, and is an administrator for the CGGS, Midway Museum, and Liberty County Historical Society Facebook pages/groups. She is also the host of GenealogyTrail.com's Liberty County page, and was a speaker at the 2018 annual Susie King Taylor Mami Wata Rising conference in Midway, Georgia.

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