Pension files may contain a wealth of genealogical and historical information. For example, in the file of Civil War veteran John B. Chestang, we learn that he was born a slave in 1832 in Mobile County, Alabama, his wife’s maiden name was Harriet Louis, and that he had 6 children. Here are a few pages from his file
Coroner’s records are another type of record useful in determining, for example, date and cause of death. Here is an example showing partial testimony at the inquest on the body of an African American.
Fr. Dickson Cemetery is an African American cemetery in St. Louis County, Missouri. Here is an example of a record from that cemetery showing the name of the deceased, dates of death and burial, place of death, etc. Have you located similar cemetery records for your ancestors?
Mobile authorities issued slave permits allowing slaves to live on their own in the city of Mobile. The number of slaves who lived as free in Mobile is not known. Federal census records list some slaves who were living as free as heads of households. For further information, see Christopher A. Nordmann, “Free Negroes in Mobile County, Alabama” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Alabama, 1990), 49-54, available on my website.
St. Louis city officials maintained registers in which they recorded a person’s date of birth, along with place of birth, racial status, names of parents and their places of birth, and name of informant. Separate registers for the races were not kept – names of whites and blacks appear together in the same books. These registers were used prior to state-wide requirements for filing such records. Have you found similar records?
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.