Having roots in Mississippi, slavery is something you tackle early on when you do your genealogy. You know that most of your ancestors, if not all, are Southern.
But what do you do with that information? It really isn’t your family. Even as a professional genealogist, slave genealogy is something I’ve steered clear of because, God knows, I didn’t want to encounter the possibility that the slaves my ancestors owned were related to people I know now. I didn’t want anymore awkward situations, even if they were only in my head. I would know and it would be weird for me. I know, I know. That’s wrong of me. But it’s honest.
I guess I’ve just sat on the information. So when the Slave Name Roll Project popped up on my Facebook feed, I was intrigued and immediately started thinking how I could properly contribute.
Then I remembered Joseph Jamieson, my fifth great-grandfather. He was a Revolutionary patriot who died in York District, South Carolina on 26 September 1853. I don’t know exactly how many slaves he owned. I only know the ones listed in his will, an excerpt of which I have quoted below:
“And to my son Allen Rowe Jamieson I give and bequeath the remainder of the said tract of land which I now reside upon after the bequest to my son Joseph located, and to my said son Allen Rowe Jamieson I give and bequeath my negro boy Humphrey hoping believing that the said Humphrey will be kindly and tenderly raised and humanely treated according to his station. I further will and order that my negro woman Dorcas be sold and the amount of the sale be equally divided between my said son Allen Rowe Jamieson and my daughter Barbara Chambers share and share alike. And to my three sons James, John, and Milton Jamieson (all absent). I give, allow, and bequeath the sum of twenty dollars each to be paid at any time after my decease if applied for. I do give and bequeath to my little granddaughter Eliza Ann Jamieson, daughter of Allen R. Jamieson and Nancy Jamieson, my Negro boy Amzi vesting said boy Amzi solely in her the said Eliza Ann Jamieson and the heirs of her own body.”
So at least three slaves: Humphrey, a young boy; Dorcas, a grown woman; and Amzi, another young boy. I don’t know about their ages, because little to an 89 year old man (which Joseph was) is different than mine: Eliza, the granddaughter he names, was 20 in 1853. I have no clue to whom Dorcas was sold. I’ve tried to look for her, but I don’t even know where she went. All I know was she was Dorcas Jamieson in 1853.
Allen Rowe Jamieson moved to Tippah County, Mississippi by 1860. In the slave schedule of that year, he was listed as the owner of one 27 year old male slave. I’m surmising that this is Humphrey, since Amzi belonged to Eliza. I also have not found a record of Eliza’s marriage, so I don’t know what happened to Amzi.
I feel like this hasn’t been much help, but I’ve tried to make three people become more than names on a page. There could be someone looking for Dorcas, Humphrey, and Amzi from the other end, working backward from 1870, and this could be the piece of information that helps.
It’s more than what was out there before and that’s all that matters.