By the time Monday comes around, I’m eager to send my kiddies off to school so I can get down to digging up my roots. But today, I was overwhelmed by the size of the task. It seemed a million different directions beckoned me to, “Look Here!” Today, it felt like I had too many leads to follow.
In order to find out more about my great, great-grandmother, Temple Burton, born a slave around 1820, possibly in Louisiana I could research:
- family histories in Warren County, North Carolina where Hill Jones was born. Jones was Temple’s earliest owner that I’ve been able to find. Family histories might record how Temple entered into the Jones family, perhaps as part of a will or through a marriage.
- track down deeds of sale belonging to Hill Jones which may show who Hill Jones bought her from if she wasn’t passed down to him through his family.
- Burton slave owners, since Temple’s last name is Burton and slaves often took their owners’ last name.
While three directions doesn’t seem like an awful lot, each of them splinters off into many more trails. For example, I’d need to look up Burton slave owners in several different places. Temple’s census records aren’t consistent and list several different states as her parent’s place of birth. That means, I have to consider Burton slave owners in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, the states listed as her parents’ places of birth.
It’s doable, but not in one school day. By the time I called the Warren County records department in North Carolina, was redirected to their state archives, and abandoned that trail to try my hand at a hail mary search of Burton slave owners in Alabama and Mississippi, it was already time to meet the girls at the bus stop.
I did at least find information about another Burton, Annie who published her memoirs on her childhood in slavery.
But I need to get organized. I know I’m not going to find any specific record in one day, but I probably need to focus on one set of records at a time, lest I get waylaid like I did today.
What do you think is the first trail I should follow on this leg of my journey?