Author Topic: Searching for African American ancestor  (Read 513 times)

Offline oldohiohome

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #18 on: Sunday 06 June 21 19:24 BST (UK) »
Iím asking if i should continue the search or give up.

I say continue the search. From what I understand you have a black American man named Mullaney and I think you are saying he was in the New England area.  and you have a possible given name of Lou.

He sounds like he can be found, or at least a probable match. I've seen a lot more hopeless cases.

The spelling of the surname doesn't matter. Spelling of surnames wasn't standardized until long after the 1850's, Irish names are notorious for being spelled any way the person who was writing them down felt like at the time.

You will have to find the man on the American records before you even have a hope of finding where he was from in Africa. Mullaney was probably not his African name - unless it sounds like an African surname and the spelling was Americanized - I'm just thinking out loud here.  Otherwise, ask yourself why he chose that name. Was it the slave owner's? Someone his family knew in the area? etc. Are there Mullaney families in the area? White or black? or both?

I don't know exactly when slavery was abolished in the various New England states, but you should find out. I'm pretty sure it was in that time period of the early 1800s. If he was born in 1820, he might have been born a free man to parents who had been freed. If you do trace him back to the slave owner, then you need to research that family's records as if they were your own. Some Southern US slave owner's accounts books and business records have been archived, but I don't know about New England owners.


Offline oldohiohome

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #19 on: Sunday 06 June 21 19:41 BST (UK) »
Due to the fact indigenous people in Australia didnít have official records everything i know has been passed on through word of mouth.
I was always told i had African heritage, something i always believed but of course had no proof.

oral tradition has been very reliable in most cases I've seen. and now, of course, you have the DNA match to prove it.

My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like weíre related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They havenít replied to my last message so i guess i wonít be getting help from that angle.

If their trees are online you can get help from them, even if they don't respond. - if the trees are well researched. Where were they from? New England? What part? did they work as whalers? ship owners, etc?  any other likely tie-ins to your ancestor?

You mentioned gedmatch, I think. They ask you to include your earliest known ancestor. Some are far enough back to be useful. Can you locate the earliest known ancestors of the people you match with?

--
Your first post mentioned your ancestor's daughter being born in 1850, so I assume you are descended from this man through this daughter.  But if you are descended through a son, and have an unbroken male line back to him, have you done a y-DNA test?  If your family doesn't have a male line, are there any Australian families who do? Or is he only known to have one child born in Australia?

Offline Erato

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #20 on: Sunday 06 June 21 19:52 BST (UK) »
Slavery was abolished in:

Vermont 1777
Pennsylvania 1780
Massachusetts and New Hampshire 1783
Connecticut and Rhode Island 1784
New York 1799
New Jersey 1804


Massachusetts , Rhode Island and Connecticut will be the states of greatest interest to you.  Also possibly Maine [which was part of Massachusetts until 1820], New Hampshire [Portsmouth] and New York [Long Island].

List of US whaling ports to keep in mind:
https://research.mysticseaport.org/info/ib69-1/
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
Bristol:  Banks, Duddridge, Barnard
Down:  Ennis, McGee
Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
Wigtownshire:  Logan, Conning
Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr, Davis


Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #21 on: Sunday 06 June 21 22:04 BST (UK) »
If you are looking for a black seaman of that era don't rule out Nova Scotia.
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #22 on: Sunday 06 June 21 23:39 BST (UK) »
Due to the fact indigenous people in Australia didnít have official records everything i know has been passed on through word of mouth.
I was always told i had African heritage, something i always believed but of course had no proof.

oral tradition has been very reliable in most cases I've seen. and now, of course, you have the DNA match to prove it.

My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like weíre related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They havenít replied to my last message so i guess i wonít be getting help from that angle.

If their trees are online you can get help from them, even if they don't respond. - if the trees are well researched. Where were they from? New England? What part? did they work as whalers? ship owners, etc?  any other likely tie-ins to your ancestor?

You mentioned gedmatch, I think. They ask you to include your earliest known ancestor. Some are far enough back to be useful. Can you locate the earliest known ancestors of the people you match with?

--
Your first post mentioned your ancestor's daughter being born in 1850, so I assume you are descended from this man through this daughter.  But if you are descended through a son, and have an unbroken male line back to him, have you done a y-DNA test?  If your family doesn't have a male line, are there any Australian families who do? Or is he only known to have one child born in Australia?

As far as we know, he only had the 1 child here. So no male line. Although someone in New Zealand had the African dna match so iím wondering if maybe he had a child there as well. A different woman in every port. I will probably contact that person but i wanted to check stronger matches first.
His daughter was born about 1850 but thereís no actual record for her birth, and she might have been born closer to 1860 making her much younger when her first child was born which wouldnít have been uncommon for her to be closer to 13 than 20 for the first one.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #23 on: Sunday 06 June 21 23:46 BST (UK) »
This is what made me wonder if it was a New England resource-
Quote
My sisters and I have searched with the name we were given and havenít come up with anyone who this man could be, until i found an American whaler with a similar name (probably pronounced the same but different spelling) being in the right area at the right time. We canít seem to find anything on that man to rule him out. Weíve searched crew lists from New Bedford and New London etc and although thereís similar names none of them are the two names weíve been told or that i found on the whalerís index.
Yeah, but i only checked those lists because they were online, and because i knew whaling ships sailed from there, and most of the US whaling ships in Western Australia sailed from New Bedford.
So itís not wrong to assume he was from New England, he probably was, but we also have no proof that he was from there.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #24 on: Sunday 06 June 21 23:57 BST (UK) »
Iím asking if i should continue the search or give up.

I say continue the search. From what I understand you have a black American man named Mullaney and I think you are saying he was in the New England area.  and you have a possible given name of Lou.

He sounds like he can be found, or at least a probable match. I've seen a lot more hopeless cases.

The spelling of the surname doesn't matter. Spelling of surnames wasn't standardized until long after the 1850's, Irish names are notorious for being spelled any way the person who was writing them down felt like at the time.

You will have to find the man on the American records before you even have a hope of finding where he was from in Africa. Mullaney was probably not his African name - unless it sounds like an African surname and the spelling was Americanized - I'm just thinking out loud here.  Otherwise, ask yourself why he chose that name. Was it the slave owner's? Someone his family knew in the area? etc. Are there Mullaney families in the area? White or black? or both?

I don't know exactly when slavery was abolished in the various New England states, but you should find out. I'm pretty sure it was in that time period of the early 1800s. If he was born in 1820, he might have been born a free man to parents who had been freed. If you do trace him back to the slave owner, then you need to research that family's records as if they were your own. Some Southern US slave owner's accounts books and business records have been archived, but I don't know about New England owners.

This is the hard hard bit. Keeping an open mind as to his name having spelling changes, and it might have been an African name that someone wrote down wrong. This is where iím struggling - too many variables. I suggested to my sister we should look for a slave owner with that name.

The government has records on some of my ancestors that we canít access, but since the Chief protector of Aborigines was aware of her having African heritage iím now wondering if the government has that information that we just canít access.
Iíve been aware that black people were free in New England a lot earlier than other places. So i started to look through the Book of Negroes to see if a family member went to Canada and back to Africa but that was too traumatic to read so i didnít get very far.

Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Online Ruskie

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #25 on: Monday 07 June 21 00:35 BST (UK) »
Could your seafaring ancestor have been the son of a black woman and Irish man by the name of Mullaney?

I presume you have exhaunted all avenues in Australian records in case his place of origin was mentioned on any documents? You would need to check dates of availability in the State the events occurred, but things like obits, death records or d/c, his marriage, even his own childrenís birth and death records may name parentís place of birth (at least they do later on).

Offline majm

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #26 on: Monday 07 June 21 01:04 BST (UK) »
Hello,
Iíve been searching for an ancestor of mine for a while though to be honest it was always in the too hard basket.
Iím not asking people here to look things up for me as i basically have nothing much to go on.
Due to the fact indigenous people in Australia didnít have official records everything i know has been passed on through word of mouth.
I was always told i had African heritage, something i always believed but of course had no proof. The family tree that got passed around from about 40 years ago had three men listed in different branches saying ďAmerican whalerĒ or ďAmerican sealerĒ. Some (though not directly linked to me say ďAmerican IndianĒ or ďMexican IndianĒ).
One particular ancestor for me said ďAmerican Negro or ďWest AfricanĒ.
My sisters and I have searched with the name we were given and havenít come up with anyone who this man could be, until i found an American whaler with a similar name (probably pronounced the same but different spelling) being in the right area at the right time. We canít seem to find anything on that man to rule him out. Weíve searched crew lists from New Bedford and New London etc and although thereís similar names none of them are the two names weíve been told or that i found on the whalerís index.
My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like weíre related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They havenít replied to my last message so i guess i wonít be getting help from that angle.
Since would have been born around 1820, and on a ship in 1840s with his daughter born in Western Australia about 1850, and because of slavery iím guessing there probably werenít records for him anyway, or for his parents.
I donít know where else to look for information. If anyone can suggest where else to search that would be great but iím wondering if, in your experienced opinions, yous think i should just let this one go. I guess i would like to know what his name was, and where he originated from in the US.  maybe i should just be content with the dna test showing the word of mouth stories were true.

Hi,   

you comment that indigenous people in Australia didn't have official records .... May I mention that it was not only Indigenous Peoples who were without Official records....  Australia is a federation and it dates from 1 January 1901, so it was only the name of the Island in the years from say 1820 to 1900...  the Scotsman, NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie, used the label 'Australia' in the 1810s after Flinders had circumnavigated and offered 'Australis' .... as a name. 

Each of its founding states was once a separate British Colony, and each colony set up, at various times prior to federation, their own institutions for registering and recording of BDMs.....   that state based system remains to this day.   New South Wales BDM registration process was established by NSW parliament to commence in 1856.  Western Australia's BDM registration process dates from around 1840s,  Victoria's from early 1850s, Queensland was not hived off NSW until 1859, Tasmania was VDL until mid 1850s, but bdm dates from 1830s,  and South Australia from its foundations in late 1830s. 

Many volunteers continue to provide support to various not for profit groups who concentrate on transcribing long hand records of remote communities in NSW and include the now offensive race based words showing if full, half, quarter etc .... I suggest WA BDM web site shows its current policy allows it to dedact those words when issuing certified copy of BDM. 

I am not sure when compulsory registration was first enforced in Western Australia, but the tyranny of distance from registration offices would be a significant factor until perhaps very recent years.

JM

 
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