We can learn much from old family photographs. Here is an edited picture showing, for example, Lizzie Wilkinson, an African American woman who worked for my great-grandparents in St. Louis circa 1888-1891. I located a Lizzie Wilkinson in the 1900 federal census. Is anyone researching her?
Federal census enumerators sometimes recorded the names of slaves in either the population or the slave schedules. One enumerator in Texas was uncertain of the status of some African Americans, so he wrote that they were “evidently slaves,” along with the names of the free inhabitants.
Among the loose papers in the estate file of Maximilian Andry, a Mobile free man of color, are an inventory filed in December 1851, and a supplemental inventory filed in September 1855, which included, for example, a total of 10 slaves. Andry’s estate also included real property that he had inherited from the estate of Dr. John Chastang, his father-in-law, and, Jane Andry, his mother. No evidence has been found to suggest that Andry’s slaves were members of his family. Have you found inventories among the records of your ancestors?
Here is a link to a site that will help you with your Freedmen's Bureau research.
Are you looking for the maiden name and/or a marriage record of your African American ancestor? Here is an example from a pension file. Joseph Chestang indicated that he married Martha A. Duncan three years before the Civil War, and, said that there was no record of his union. In 1899 Martha also indicated that they were married before the Civil War and that there was no public or church record of the marriage.
I am a professional genealogist specializing in tracing the lives of African Americans. I earned my Ph.D. in history from the University of Alabama.