"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
3 June 2004


June 19th marks the anniversary of the date when enslaved Texans were freed. Emancipation from slavery came in 1863, but African Americans in Texas were not made aware of the proclamation of freedom until June 19, 1865, after the Civil War ended.

Today, the date is known as Juneteenth, and is marked with celebrations across Texas and the nation, including a picnic and trail ride at St. John's Colony near Lockhart, a parade in Brenham, a statewide battle of the bands in Austin, and rodeos in Longview and Killeen.

In honor of Juneteenth, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers a free brochure outlining the contributions of African Americans in Texas history, showcasing statewide cultural attractions and makes a perfect education companion for any Juneteenth outing.

To obtain a copy of this free guide, call 866/276-6219, email < thc@thc.state.tx.us > or write: THC, P. O. Box 12276, Austin, Texas 78711-2276 or visit on-line http://www.thc.state.tx.us/.

1850 & 1860 Milam County Slave Census

Recently, the Milam Co. TXGenWeb site, on-line at http://www.geocities.com/milamco/, added an index to the 1850 and 1860. While these censuses do not list the names of the individual slaves, it does give their ages and genders.

The indexes are arranged in three groupings: in order as the names of the slave owners appear on the census, in alphabetical order of the names of the slave owners and in age and gender order of the slaves.

The third grouping will be of the most interest to African-American researchers who might only know their ancestor was from Milam County. By taking a rough estimate of age of the person for a particular census year, and going down the list of slaves by age and gender, you will be able to get an idea of who the slave owner might have been, of course, taking into consideration the ages may be off a few years.

This is a backdoor approach but keeping in mind that the Milam Co. Courthouse burned in 1874, it is almost impossible to undertake slave research as the early deeds and wills were destroyed.

1867 Voters' Registration

Another important tool for early African-American research is the 1867 Voters Registration. This is the first widespread documentation of the surnames selected by the former slaves and is a must check resource for researchers.

On March 2, 1867, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts, which required the U.S. military to supervise elections for new Constitutional Conventions for each state that succeeded from the Union. African-American men were allowed to vote and serve as delegates; Confederate oath violators were not. Thus, a special voter's registration was taken in the Southern states.

There is an index to the Milam Co. 1867 Voters' Registration on-line at http://www.geocities.com/milamco/.

Heritage Books offers "An Index to the 1867 Voters' Registration of Texas" by Donaly E. Brice and John C. Barron that has been complied on a CD-ROM for $33. For information on how to purchase the CD-ROM, contact Heritage Books on-line at: http://www.heritagebooks.com/ or write 1540 Pointer Ridge Place #C, Bowie, MD 20716 or telephone: 866/282-2689.

Men had to register in the county, where they lived, and take an oath not to bear arms against the United States. Included is the date of registration, the person's name, race, naturalization information, and reasons for rejecting some registrants.

The entire Texas 1867 Voters' Registration is available on 12 reels of microfilm at the Texas State Library & Archives, either for purchase or inter-library loan through your local library. For information, write to the Texas State Library, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, Texas 78711 or visit on-line at: < http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/votersreg.html >.

These microfilm are a must have resource for your local library's Texas genealogy research materials!

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 24 Sept 2004 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604