For a lot of families with enslaved ancestors, finding your ancestors in the 1870 can be a daunting task. A few years ago, I found an article written in Heritage Quest by genealogist Tony Burroughs describing a phenomenon in African American genealogy that would help me do just that.
What advice did I get from this article? Don’t get too hung up on the surname.
Let me give an example from my own research, that my have revealed my first documented ancestor with ties directly to the African continent.
In a previous post, I introduced you to my 3rd great grandmother, Eliza Cade Hubbard. Her husband, my 3rd great grandfather was Richard Hubbard (1856-1936) of Noxubee County, Mississippi. In the 1880 Census, Richard lived with his wife, next door to a man, Albert Hubbard, only two years his senior.
Hubert (Hubbard), Albert (26)
Louisa (21) (Wife)
Louisa (5 mos.)
Hubert (Hubbard), Richard (24)
Ivy (Ivory) (4)
I assumed it possible that Richard and Albert Hubbard could have been brothers. They lived basically in the same household in 1880 and both shared the same surname. I attempted to find Richard and Albert in the 1870 census with no luck. Then I noticed something peculiar.
Albert’s son Arthur James Hubbard (1887-1942) died in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942. On his death certificate, his wife Katie gave his parent’s names as Albert Hubbard and Louise Stranum. With a maiden name for Albert’s wife, Louise, I then went to the marriage records for Noxubee County, Mississippi.