Son of Dr. John Chastang and Louison, a woman of color, Zeno Chastang, Sr., a free man of color, was born about 1782 in Mobile, Alabama. On October 21, 1810, Fr. Vincent Genen married Zeno and Maria Teresa Bernoudy, a free woman of color. One of the witnesses was Simon Andry, a white man of Mobile who had a free family of color. According to federal census records, Zeno, a farmer, owned 29 slaves in 1860, as well as 80 improved acres and 1,230 unimproved acres. The value of his farm appears as $3900, and that of his livestock as $800. (In 1850 the value of his livestock was $2,450.) Zeno died October 18, 1860. Three months later his estate (excluding his land holdings) was appraised at $24,517.50. His 30 slaves alone were appraised at $23,525.
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Some manumissions in the Alabama Legislature
Acts, Passed at the Annual Session of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama, Begun and held in the Town of Tuscaloosa, on the Third Monday in November, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-three. Tuscaloosa: May & Ferguson, State Printers, 1834, p. 68.
SOURCE: Mobile Register and Journal, Nov. 3, 1847
STOLEN or left my house on or about the 20th of Oct. last, my daughter ANNETTE, colored, 12 years of age, black complexion, slender made, smiling face, with bright black eyes. She has a white spot on one of her lips, similar to a burn -- and a scar on one of her shoulders caused by a fall; there are also some bruises on one of her ankles. When she was quite young, she had the small pox, and several of the marks are still visible on her face and nose. -- Annette was dressed in a striped calico frock when she left home, and wore plain gold rings in her ears. As she was free, it is supposed that she was stolen by some person to sell as a slave. I will give one hundred dollars for proof to convict the thief, or twenty five dollars for the return of the girl to me.
cor[ner] Wilkinson and St. Louis Streets.
The New Orleans Delta will copy six times weekly, and send bill to this office for collection."
City directories are a valuable source, especially for the period around 1890 when most federal census enumerations are not available. The volumes provide names of individuals, churches, cemeteries, businesses, and some occupations. Some directories show racial and/or marital status as shown in the example from Quincy, Illinois. What clues have you found in city directories?
Did your ancestor serve in the military during the Civil War? If so, have you located him or his widow in the 1890 Union Veterans and Widow Schedule? Returns for states beginning with letters A through K were destroyed, except for some Kentucky enumerations, as shown in this example. See http://www.archives.gov/research/census/publications-microfilm-catalogs-census/1790-1890/part-08.html#ky
Did your ancestors reside in an area where the 1890 census survived? Here is one of the surviving fragments from that enumeration and a link to some information about this census. http://www.archives.gov/research/census/publications-microfilm-catalogs-census/1790-1890/part-08.html
How many newspapers were published in the counties where you ancestors lived? Were there any schools or churches where they may have been educated or worshiped? Was there any criminal activity where you ancestors resided? For the answers to these and other questions, check the Social Statistics schedule, another type of “nonpopulation” schedule available for some areas from 1850 through 1880. Here is a sample page from Mobile County, Alabama, 1860. Hope everyone can read it. It is available via Heritage Quest/Ancestry.
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.