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When I first moved to South Carolina in 2005, I no longer had to research my ancestors from afar. I lived in the same town as the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. I went regularly to the Richland Library where I learned about my family in Richland County, and I identified Abbeville County as the place where they were enslaved.
After going through and documenting everything I had, I reached out to the community where Beverly was enslaved in Abbeville County, South Carolina. Originally, I was puzzled because I could not find them in 1880. Greenwood County was redistricted in 1897. They did not move. Greenwood County was Abbeville County, SC before 1897.
I documented enslaved ancestors and worked with the descendants of enslavers to discover what they knew. I did not take the advice given to me by other people while I was researching. I was told that I would not find them married after enslavement. I was told that I did not need to search for them on land deeds or even in newspapers. These are the things that I was told. I did not listen, and I have found all but one of my ancestors married after enslavement.
By 2016, Ellis and I started out in New Orleans and discovered his Grandmother Louise’s parents after searching among the clerk of court records in East Feliciano Parish.
My recent findings were a much harder group of people to research involving Buck Nelms (B. 1830) and his family from Mississippi and North Carolina back to 1841. For me oral history has played an integral part in my finding documentation.
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