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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amazing Volunteer Discovery: 4 Generations of Slaves on Motte and Broughton Family Plantations, 1829-1865

The estate inventory of Mary Motte of Berkeley, SC, taken in 1842, lists the names, family relationships, birth dates and occupations of 84 enslaved ancestors at Farm Plantation in Berkeley, SC. Three generations are represented in this estate inventory.

Two years later, many of the slaves listed in Mary Motte's estate inventory were sold. The sale record lists the names of purchasers and those they purchased. By comparing the estate inventory and the sale record, we can begin to learn the names of those sold from Farm Plantation, and who their subsequent slaveholders were.

Mary Motte's estate inventory refers to "Miss Broughton," who left Mary Motte a lifetime estate in a group of enslaved families. Miss Broughton is likely Miss Charlotte Broughton, Mary Motte's younger sister. Charlotte Broughton's estate inventory, made at Farm Plantation in 1829, appears to list many of the same slaves in Mary Motte's estate. Some are listed with parents, so the entire document trail reveals four generations of slaves on Broughton and Motte family plantations.

We've built a Footnote page for these assembled documents, you may view it here: 4 Generations of Slaves on Motte and Broughton Family Plantations, 1829-1865.

This amazing document trail was discovered by Felicia R. Mathis, when she volunteered to index 10 pages of this free Footnote collection. What will YOU discover in YOUR 10 pages? You can go right here to volunteer to index!

Many thanks and Blessings to Felicia for making this remarkable discovery!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Staying the Course, Keeping the Faith

Greetings Genfriends, Wonderful Volunteers,

We are sure you must have a million questions in the wake of today's announcement that Ancestry.com will acquire iArchives, the parent company of Footnote.com. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise to us as well.

The wonderful folks at Footnote.com have reassured us that nothing will change for this project. Footnote.com will continue to operate as it does now and, blessedly, our collaboration agreement calls for index and images to remain free, not behind a subscription wall.

I do know this - faith and focus brought us this far and will carry us forward. The Ancestors will continue to emerge.

And you can bet that the moment we have further news we will share it right here with YOU, who are the heart, soul and driving force of this project. Your efforts are already having an enormous impact - three descendants have found ancestors because of the incredible work you are doing.

For now, we plan to do exactly what the title of this post says: Keep the Faith and Stay the Course. 

Peace and Blessings,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SC Estate Inventories: Restoring African American History in Burned Counties

[This is the second of a series of posts where we will take an in-depth look at the new FREE Footnote Collection SC Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872. Today we focus on how your hard work in indexing these records is restoring history for SC's burned counties. Here's a link to the first article in case you missed it.]

Researchers seeking African American family history for Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton, Georgetown and Orangeburg Counties in South Carolina face major challenges, as some or all of those counties' Antebellum records were destroyed by fire.

Records for Barnwell, Beaufort, Colleton and Orangeburg Counties were evacuated to Columbia for safekeeping during the Civil War, but were burned there in February of 1865 when Union troops passed through that city. Georgetown records were removed to the Chesterfield courthouse but were burned there in March of 1865.

Researchers seeking to reconstruct the slave genealogy of South Carolina's burned counties have had to rely upon plantation journals and church records to reconstruct family history.

Until now, that is. Until YOU! Your volunteer indexing efforts are bringing tremendous new discoveries to light for South Carolina's burned counties, and new document discoveries are emerging every week!

Here are records you, our wonderful volunteers, have discovered for Beaufort and Georgetown Counties so far. If you are researching in burned counties, please be sure to continue checking the Index Page for new discoveries:

Beaufort County:
Slaves in the Estate of William Edings, Beaufort County, SC, 1859 Indexed by Toni
Slaves at Spring Island and Pineland Plantations, Beaufort County, SC, 1859 Indexed by Toni
Slaves at the Clydesdale Plantation of D E Huger, Beaufort, SC, 1855 Indexed by Alana

Colleton County:
Sale, 93 Slaves and 3 Plantations of Alexander England, Colleton, SC, 1850 Indexed by Felicia R. Mathis
110 Slaves in the Estate of Eliza Flynn, Colleton County, SC, 1845 Indexed by Toni
1,648 Slaves in the Estate of Nathaniel Heyward, Colleton, SC, 1851 Indexed by Aaron Dorsey

Georgetown County:
Slaves in the Estate of Esther Belin, Sandy Knowe Plantation, Georgetown, SC, 1851 Indexed by Penny Worley
Slaves in the Estate of Samuel Cordes, North Santee, Georgetown, SC, 1858 Indexed by Alana
Slaves at Hopsewee Plantation, Santee River, Georgetown, SC, 1854 Indexed by Alana
Slaves at the White Oak and Ogilvie Plantations of Joseph Manigault, Georgetown, SC, 1844
Slaves at Indian Field Plantation, South Santee, Georgetown Co., SC, 1863 Indexed by Alana
117 Slaves in the Estate of William McKenzie Parker, Georgetown, SC, 1861 Indexed by Toni
Slaves in the Estate of Eliza Pinckney, Santee, Georgetown County, SC, 1863 Indexed by Toni
141 Slaves in the Estate of Robert Pringle, Georgetown, SC, 1861 Indexed by Penny
Slaves at Harrietta Plantation, McClellanville, Georgetown County, SC, 1859 Indexed by Alana
Slaves at Tranquility Plantation, North Santee, Georgetown, SC 1859 Indexed by Alana and Toni
Slaves at Arundel Plantation, Georgetown, SC, 1859, in Family Groups Indexed by Alana
Slaves at the Litchfield Plantation of John Tucker, Georgetown Co, SC, 1859 Indexed by Alana
Enslaved Families at Litchfield and Holly Grove Plantations, Georgetown, SC Indexed by Alana

All of these documents have been rediscovered through your volunteer efforts!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Power of YOU: Volunteers Are Restoring 140 Years of Seamless African American History

What's so special about SC Estate Inventories, 1732-1872, the new FREE Footnote Collection you can help index?

This week we'll be talking about all the ways this collection is helping restore the African American past in South Carolina. Today we start with the most remarkable aspect of this new collection:

This is the entire run of estate inventories for 140 seamless years of SC history! The collection contains every surviving estate inventory for Colonial South Carolina and Charleston District, from 1732-1872.

If an Ancestor was ever listed in an estate inventory in Charleston and that document survives, it is in this new, FREE Footnote collection.

Ponder 140 years of seamless history for:

  • Enslaved Communities on South Carolina plantations
  • Free African Americans in Charleston
  • European American families in South Carolina

140 years of history. Generations of enslaved and free Ancestors. Records for enslaved communities on specific plantations across one and 1/2 centuries.

These documents were hibernating on microfilm until now - until YOU. We may never know the full impact of your indexing efforts because they will continue to unfold for future generations. That's a pretty good thought to begin our series exploring this incredible document collection.

Did we mention that Footnote.com is our hero? They took on the expense of digitizing and hosting the 23,000 pages in this collection without placing a single image behind a subscription wall. These records are free, and will remain free. :0)

Here's where you can view the new FREE collection SC Estate Inventories, 1732-1872.

Most important, it is through your volunteer efforts that these records will be indexed and made searchable on Footnote.com and Internet search engines such as Google. If you have volunteered to index records, please accept our sincere gratitude. If you are ready to volunteer, you can go right here to sign up!

New Volunteer Discoveries - Monday Sept 20

Check out these new documents YOU, our fab volunteers, have discovered!

Sale of 93 Slaves and Kelvins Grove, The Oaks and Rathamay Plantations, Estate of of Alexander England, Colleton, SC, 1850 Indexed by Felicia R. Mathis

Slaves at the White Oak and Ogilvie Plantations of Joseph Manigault, Georgetown, SC, 1844 Indexed by Penny Worley

Slaves at the Longridge and Sandy Run Plantations of John Willson, Berkeley, SC, 1857 Indexed by Alana Thevenet

360 Slaves in the Estate of Philip G. Prioleau, at Ward's, Sportsman's Retreat and Cottage Plantations, Berkeley, SC, 1845 Indexed by Toni

Sincere thanks and huge Props to Felicia, Penny and Alana for bringing these documents back into the light of history!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Preservinators Reunite to Restore Ancestors

In October of 2009, officials in Sumter County, Florida proposed to relocate an historic African American cemetery in order to clear the way for an industrial park. A miraculous thing happened when their plans were made known - members of the Internet genealogy, history and preservation communities came together to unite their voices with descendants whose loved ones were at rest in the Lake Panasoffkee Cemetery.

With a single voice, we urged Sumter County Administrators to abandon the plan and preserve this historic cemetery. And it worked. Sumter County abandoned the plan to relocate the cemetery and created a preservation easement around it, so the cemetery will not be endangered again.

For want of a name to describe this community that banded together for a cause, we jokingly referred to ourselves as the Preservinators.

Well Genfriends, three of the Preservinators have now reunited to bring you the Restore the Ancestors Project. 

George Geder, Angela Y. Walton-Raji and Toni Carrier are once again scheming and dreaming, this time to rock this effort to restore the names of more than 30,000 enslaved Ancestors in South Carolina. 

And once again the Internet genealogy family is banding together to achieve an important goal. We sincerely thank everyone who has volunteered and indexed records. Your efforts are already having an enormous impact. In the two months since the project launched, three descendants have found ancestors in these records, as a direct result of your hard work.

Look out world, the Preservinators are back!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Welcome New Volunteers!

We would like to welcome two new volunteers, Geraldetta and Felicia!

Thank you so much signing up to bring the Ancestors' names and lives back into the light!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

We bid a warm welcome and so many thanks to new volunteers who answered the call to index!

  • Michelle
  • Leah
  • Darla
  • Fran
  • Glenis
  • Nicole
  • Kathleen
  • Thomas
  • Robin
  • Sandra
Welcome! :0)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pieces of the Puzzle: Thomas Fenwick Drayton Purchases 26 Slaves from Estate of Mary M. McUen

While indexing her 10 pages, Karen Meadows-Rogers discovered a document that further illustrates:

  • The treasures waiting in these extraordinary records
  • How these documents pull the pieces of the puzzle together
  • Why indexing matters

Karen discovered the record of the estate sale of Mary Middleton McUen. On Feb 11, 1851, auctioneer Alonzo J. White sold 106 enslaved ancestors to 14 buyers. Thomas F. Drayton purchased 26 slaves on that day.

As you may already know, for the past three years, Lowcountry Africana has been gathering documents to restore the lineages of slaves on Drayton family plantations in SC, FL, GA and TX.

Thomas Fenwick Drayton owned the Fish Haul Plantation on Hilton Head Island, SC. It came into his ownership very late in the Drayton family slaveholding history, when his wife Emma Catherine Pope inherited the plantation in trust for her minor children.

After three years of searching, we have found only a scant few documents that shed light on Fish Haul Plantation and the enslaved community there.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Volunteer Discoveries!

Alana has discovered three incredible records this weekend:

Slaves at Cottage Plantation, Theodore Samuel Gaillard, Berkeley, SC, 1855

Slaves at the Farmfield Plantation of John H Corbett, Berkeley, SC, 1855

Slaves at the Clydesdale Plantation of D E Huger, Beaufort, SC, 1855

Here is the index page for all of the Footnote Pages we've built for SC estate inventories:


The Ancestors must be smiling :0)

Happy Ancestor Hunting!

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