Welcome to the Restore the Ancestors Project!

This project is a collaboration between Fold3 (Formerly Footnote.com), the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, FamilySearch and Lowcountry Africana, to digitize every surviving estate inventory for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872, as well as selected Bills of Sale for the same period, in a FREE collection.

When the project is complete, the names of more than 30,000 enslaved ancestors from Charleston and surrounding counties will be restored to history in a free online collection, preserved for generations to come.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Than Names: How Individual Documents Can Bring the Pieces Together

In one of the most incredible discoveries yet in the new FREE Footnote Collection South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872, volunteer Aaron recently discovered a list of 1,648 slaves on 15 plantations of Nathaniel Heyward, made in June of 1851.

This document is remarkable in its own right, with the vast amount of information it reveals. But it also creates bridges between several documents already available to the research community. Together, the documents span the last generation of enslaved ancestors on Heyward family plantations.

The plantations listed in the estate inventory were:

Berkeley County:
  • Silk Hope, Berkeley County
Beaufort County:
  • Blanford [Blandford] Plantation
  • Clay Hall Plantation
  • Island Plantation
Charleston County:
  • Ashley Farm Plantation
Colleton County:
  • Amsterdam Plantation, Combahee River
  • Bluff Plantation
  • Copenhagen Plantation, Combahee River
  • Hamburgh Plantation
  • Lewisburg Plantation, Combahee River
  • Rotterdam Plantation, Combahee River
  • Savannah Plantation
  • Middle House Plantation
  • Pines Plantation
  • Rose Hill Plantation
Let's look at documentation already available, and see how this document pulls the pieces together:

1. In his pioneering work, Tom Blake identified Charles Heyward of Colleton County, SC as one of the 16 Largest American Slaveholders From 1860 Census Schedules, holding 491 slaves.

2. Lowcountry Africana posted the List of 491 Slaves Freed from Amsterdam, Ashley Farm, Lewisburg, Myrtle Grove, Pleasant Hill and Rose Hill Plantations from Charles Heyward's Account Book. The document was shared by the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina, where it is part of the collection Heyward Family Papers, 1703 - 1975.

3. The Lowcountry Digitial Library at the College of Charleston published the Heyward and Ferguson Family Papers, 1806-1923, which include the following:
4. Then Aaron discovered, and indexed, the list of 1,648 slaves on 15 plantations of Nathaniel Heyward, made in June of 1851.

With Aaron's discovery and contribution, Heyward family documents available online, and free, now span the years 1850-1865.

You can help bring the names of more than 30,000 enslaved ancestors online in this FREE collection. Ready to give it a try? Please CLICK HERE to volunteer to index 10 pages!


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger