Author Topic: Searching for African American ancestor  (Read 516 times)

Offline Erato

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #27 on: Monday 07 June 21 01:18 BST (UK) »
"it might have been an African name"

I think this is very unlikely.  Few African names, or even African words, survived slavery to make their way into the American language.
Wiltshire:  Banks, Taylor
Somerset:  Duddridge, Richards, Barnard, Pillinger
Gloucestershire:  Barnard, Marsh, Crossman
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Wicklow:  Chapman, Pepper
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Wisconsin:  Ennis, Chapman, Logan, Ware
Maine:  Ware, Mitchell, Tarr, Davis

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #28 on: Wednesday 09 June 21 01:38 BST (UK) »
Hello,
I’ve been searching for an ancestor of mine for a while though to be honest it was always in the too hard basket.
I’m 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 didn’t 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 “American whaler” or “American sealer”. Some (though not directly linked to me say “American Indian” or “Mexican Indian”).
One particular ancestor for me said “American Negro or “West African”.
My sisters and I have searched with the name we were given and haven’t 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 can’t seem to find anything on that man to rule him out. We’ve searched crew lists from New Bedford and New London etc and although there’s similar names none of them are the two names we’ve been told or that i found on the whaler’s index.
My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like we’re related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They haven’t replied to my last message so i guess i won’t 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 i’m guessing there probably weren’t records for him anyway, or for his parents.
I don’t know where else to look for information. If anyone can suggest where else to search that would be great but i’m 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

 
The point being the genocide means there’s no records at all for Aboriginal people. Not even church records. Or the records that do exist are being kept from us because of Native Title or are so heavily redacted that they’re useless. I’ve tried to get them for my family several times and keep being told “we need permission from ...”. So while i have seen the files for my family i haven’t been able to get them
Myself. And again, this is getting off track because he probably doesn’t have any Australian records since he wasn’t Australian and might have been here for a limited time.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #29 on: Wednesday 09 June 21 01:42 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 children’s birth and death records may name parent’s place of birth (at least they do later on).
We don’t have any of this information.
He wasn’t born in Australia, his only daughter had an Aboriginal mother who would have gave birth squatting under a tree. No birth record, no baptism, no nothing.
Did he die in Australia? No idea. There’s no burial listing. Did he die at sea? Maybe. Did he go back to the US and live a nice ling life? Maybe. Did he go somewhere else like New Zealand or Tasmania and continue whaling? Maybe.
There is absolutely no official document with his name on it.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris


Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #30 on: Wednesday 09 June 21 01:45 BST (UK) »
"it might have been an African name"

I think this is very unlikely.  Few African names, or even African words, survived slavery to make their way into the American language.
That’s assuming he was even from the US. Since the tree i inherited said “American Negro” or “West African” he might have actually been West African, and got on the ship in Africa.
We have no idea. I’m only going with US because it was a US ship and most of my Nigerian ethnic matches are in the US.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline Stanwix England

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #31 on: Wednesday 09 June 21 02:02 BST (UK) »
Have you looked through historic newspapers? I don't know what the ones are like for Australia, but ones for America are pretty easy to access online.

Sometimes there are stories about sailors, things about court cases and so on. They can be quite detailed. You might be lucky and find something about a sailor under the name variations you have that gives you some more clues.
;D Doing my best, but frequently wrong ;D
:-* My thanks to everyone who helps me, you are all marvellous :-*

Offline Ruskie

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #32 on: Wednesday 09 June 21 05:29 BST (UK) »
How many cms do you share with your highest matches who live in the USA?

You say you “inherited” a family tree. When was that tree complied? Recently, or generations ago?

OK, so you don’t have any official record of the birth of his only daughter. Do you have that daughter’s marriage or death certificates? What do they say about her father?

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #33 on: Thursday 10 June 21 23:29 BST (UK) »
How many cms do you share with your highest matches who live in the USA?

You say you “inherited” a family tree. When was that tree complied? Recently, or generations ago?

OK, so you don’t have any official record of the birth of his only daughter. Do you have that daughter’s marriage or death certificates? What do they say about her father?
As i said previously, the tree was written about 40 years ago. I remember looking at it as a child in the 90s and it had bern around a while by then.
And also, like i said earlier, Aboriginal people didn’t have records. She would have been born under a tree. There wouldn’t be any official “marriage” but rather “you go with that man”. And now they’re considered married. Aboriginal people still “marry” in this way, with very few of us actually going to a church or even signing paperwork. We just “shack up” and it’s good enough for us.

I don’t want to keep focusing on the DNA stuff. It really doesn’t matter and it’s getting off the point of the thread. We know the dna is there, we know where it comes in. That’s not the information we’re looking for. We’re looking at how to track him from the US.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline aithne

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #34 on: Thursday 10 June 21 23:36 BST (UK) »
Have you looked through historic newspapers? I don't know what the ones are like for Australia, but ones for America are pretty easy to access online.

Sometimes there are stories about sailors, things about court cases and so on. They can be quite detailed. You might be lucky and find something about a sailor under the name variations you have that gives you some more clues.
I’ve looked through old newspapers online for Western Australia with all the variations of his name that i can think of, as well as “whaling”, “whalers”, “US” etc even “castle rock” where Biographical Index of whalers says a whaler named Molaney was, but not much came up for that. It was very early after European arrival (like, within the first 10 years) so the population was very small, the newspaper was more gossip than actual news and the shipping info was mostly “this ship arrived in port”. One line, ship names but no crew names.
Leitch, Bain, Buchan, McNamara, Matheson, McRay, Harman, Harris

Offline iluleah

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Re: Searching for African American ancestor
« Reply #35 on: Thursday 10 June 21 23:47 BST (UK) »
Hello,
I’ve been searching for an ancestor of mine for a while though to be honest it was always in the too hard basket.
I’m 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 didn’t 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 “American whaler” or “American sealer”. Some (though not directly linked to me say “American Indian” or “Mexican Indian”).
One particular ancestor for me said “American Negro or “West African”.
My sisters and I have searched with the name we were given and haven’t 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 can’t seem to find anything on that man to rule him out. We’ve searched crew lists from New Bedford and New London etc and although there’s similar names none of them are the two names we’ve been told or that i found on the whaler’s index.
My dna matches connected with several people in the US, and one of them replied to my message saying it does look like we’re related 5 - 6 generations back which fits for this ancestor. They haven’t replied to my last message so i guess i won’t 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 i’m guessing there probably weren’t records for him anyway, or for his parents.
I don’t know where else to look for information. If anyone can suggest where else to search that would be great but i’m 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.

You have stated several times when others have suggested resources " there are no written records" and you have also stated "I don’t want to keep focusing on the DNA stuff. It really doesn’t matter and it’s getting off the point of the thread." ...............So when written records don't exist or you can find no primary connecting records you have to accept like anyone else that is the end of research of that line......certainly now unless written records are 'found' and  become available in the future

Rootschaters are researchers, they find if available and research written records, you hve had several suggestions about where potentially to look all of which you have dismissed... you have to accept end of line!
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