Sunday, October 16, 2011

SLAVERY- A Roadblock in African American Genealogy Research

Slavery is a major roadblock for many African Americans researching their ancestors. Slaves were not listed in census records; therefore, you won’t find a census record for your slave ancestor prior to the 1870 census. If you happen to know who owned them during this period, you can check the U.S. Federal- Slave Schedules for 1840 and 1850. This lists the slave owner then lists the slaves by their race (Negro, Mulatto), their sex, and age. No names.

To possibly find their owner, check the 1870 census record for your ancestor. Sometimes they still reside on the property of their prior owner. However, it’s hard to know for sure. The best bet it to find marriage, death, and birth records. For Southern Louisiana this means using Father Hebert's Southwest Louisiana Records. P. Robinson, who helped me in my family history research, explained how to interpret them thusly :


Examples from Father Hebert SWLAR extractions:

SORREL, Henri (Toussaint & (Eugenie) m. 19 Jan 1869 Celestine DELAHOUSSAYE (d. Clarisse DELAHOUSSAYE) (SM Ch: V. 10, #123). My Note: I spelled SORREL as it was printed. As you can see, Aimee is not Celestine's mother. No father listed for Celestine.

1) The name of the father is omitted when it is the same as the child; ergo, Toussaint SORREL [sic] as the name is spelled in this extraction.

2) Most often when the mother's maiden name is omitted it indicates she was enslaved. Another rule regarding slaves is that they often took the given name of their father as a surname, e.g., Sophie Daniel is often seen in records as Sophie or Sophie Daniel. Also, before Emancipation, when the father was the white man (, his name is presented as middle name and last name.

3) When "d." or "dec" is shown before the name of a parent it means the parent is deceased, e.g., Clarisse was deceased at the time of Celestine's marriage. Therefore, Toussaint SORREL & Eugenie (a slave) are the parents of Henri and Clarisse DELAHOUSSAYE is Celestine's mother (a copy of their marriage certificate is in the Finding Jules Perrodin post).


This is relevant in my research as you'll see as you continue to read.

The last post I focused on my grandfather Adam Perrodin’s paternal line. This time I’ll focus on his maternal. Adam’s parents were Ferdinand Perrodin and Alice Lee.

Alice Lee was born in November 1884, in Iberia, Louisiana. She died in 1973. She and Ferdinand married in 1908. They had eight children: Frederick Perrodin, Adam Perrodin (1911-1995), Antoine Perrodin (1914), Eva Perrodin La Salle (1916), Ferdinand Perrodin Jr. (1917-1996), Lloyd Perrodin (1919), Isabel Perrodin Orphy (1921-1994), Jules Perrodin (1923-1992).

Alice Lee’s parents were Alfred Lee and Irene Landry.

Marriage Certificate for Alfred Lee and Irene Landry- 23 February 1870 

Alfred Lee was born in 1830, in Baton Rouge Louisiana. The earliest record for him that I’ve found in his marriage certificate to Irene. He’s listed in the 1870 census with Irene and his mother, Sally Lee. Sally was also listed in the 1880 census, which is how I discovered her approximate birth date of 1781, since she was reported to be 100- years-old. His father was Lee.

Irene Landry was born in about 1851 to Sophie Daniel and Darcourt Landry. She died in 1931. I wrote about Darcourt Landry, son of Joseph Marie Firmin Landry (father of Charles Landry with Aimee Delahoussay, and uncle to Jules Perrodin Jr.) in the Finding Jules Perrodin post. This time I want to focus on her mother, Sophie Daniel, born about 1826- July 2, 1916, in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.

I found Sophie in the 1880 census with the last name Daniel. In 1910, she is living with her son, Hyppolite Landry. I think she also married an Allen Johnson.

This is where researching became difficult--again.

Sophie was a slave. I thought my research had come to an end until I received the following email information on

My friend Art Thomas told me about your site and encouraged me to send this information to you. I am a descendant of Joseph Marie Landry. I am appending his succession inventory. It was originally written in French, but I had it translated. This inventory contains the names of about 40 slaves. I do hope that this will be of help to those seeking their ancestors.

SUCCESSION INVENTORY-Joseph Marie Firmin Landry

State of Louisiana
St. Martin Parish

In the year one thousand eight hundred fifty-two (1852), on Thursday the second day of the month of December, at eleven o'clock in the morning:

In accord with the order of the honorable court of the 14th Judiciary District of this State, sitting in and for St. Martin Parish, on the date of the twenty-seventh of last November, to render judgment in the petition
presented to said Court by Mrs. Modeste Artemise Lenormand, widow of Mr. Joseph Marie Landry, which petition was entered this year.

At the request of Mrs. Modeste Arthemise Lenormand, widow of Mr. Joseph Marie Landry, resident in this parish at this time here present, On behalf of herself, due to the joint tenancy of the goods that existed
between her and her husband, which caused the rights and belief that she held to exert against her husband's estate;
In the presence of:

1. Mr. Charles Landry resident in this parish, on his own personal behalf as well as in the name of and as ad hoc caretaker of Mr. Alexander Landry and of Mrs. Louise Delphine Landry, widow of Mr. Willis J. Powell; said Mr. Alexandre Victorin Landry and said Widow Powell resident in the city of St. Louis, State of Missouri, both absent.

2. Mr. Joseph Darcourt Landry resident in this parish;

3. and Mrs. Estelle Landry, wife of Mr. Amedee Gauthier, present and authorizing his wife, both resident in this parish.

The aforementioned Masters Charles Landry, Joseph Darcourt Landry, Alexandre Victorin Landry, and Mistresses Louise Delphine Landry, widow Powell, Estelle Landry, wife of Mr. Amédée Gauthier, as well as Mistress Marie Delzinde Landry, wife of Mr. Joseph Labarthe, residing in the city of New Orleans, absent, each claiming one sixth of the estate of the late Mr. Joseph Marie Landry, their father.

In order not to breach any parties rights or interests, and of others who may have claim to it, the inventory of the estate was done by Paul Briant Recorder, public notary for the parish of St. Martin, (undersigned), and in the presence of Masters Edouard Simon, sen(ator?) and Ursin Lenormand sen(ator?) , both competent witnesses (both undersigned), who proceeded to inventory and provide an exact description of all goods movable assets and real property, titles and documents of the estate of the late Mr. Joseph Marie Landry, as declared by the applicant who promised to identify all the goods (belonging to the deceased).

The seizure of any goods which may require it will be done by Masters Ursin Lenormand, son, and Pierre Lenormand, both residing in this parish, both present here, both estimators named by the recorder's office (undersigned) with the approval of all parties, who have taken an oath before the aforementioned recorder and promised to seize only the just value, taking into consideration the effects of time (?on the value of objects?) The above-mentioned parties, after reading of this document, have signed with the aforementioned recorder, the present document.

The original is signed:

Ursin Lenormand, son Modeste A. Lenormand, P. Lenormand, Charles Landry,Estelle Landry, Urs. Lenormand A. Gauthier,Edwd. Simon Darcourt Landry

P. Briant, Recorder

That finished, he did process the said inventory in the following manner:

1. One house situated in said Parish on the east bank of Bayou Teche, having nine arpents on the front of the bayou by forty arpents deep, adjoining at the top with the land of five arpents facing land bought for his daughter Victorin Landry by the deceased and in the back of the land of Mr. C. M. Olivier, with all the buildings and improvements that exist as well as the outbuildings, the woods in that part of the Grand Bois (Great Woods) belonging to Mr. M. Delahoussaye, all estimated at four thousand five hundred dollars

2. One parcel of land five arpents facing on Bayou Teche and 32 arpents deep having a straight line with the outbuilding into the same woods of Mr. M. Delahoussaye, bounded on one side by the home above and at the other by the land of Victorin Landry bought from the succession of Marin LeNormand, estimated at twelve hundred dollars $1200.00

3. Another parcel of land ten arpents facing Bayou Teche by forty arpents deep, bounded on top by the land of Mr. Charles Landry and on the bottom by that of Mr. Oneziphore Delahoussaye, estimated at three thousand dollars $3000.00

4. One negro named Daniel, age around 50 years, estimated at five hundred dollars $500.00

5. One negro named John, age 38 years, estimated at eight hundred dollars $800.00

6. One negro named Narcisse, age 44 years, estimated at four hundred dollars $400.00

7. One negro named Auguste, age 39 years, estimated at eight hundred dollars $800.00

8. One negro named Eugene, age 33 years (believed to be mulatto), nine hundred dollars $900.00

9. One negro named Aurelian, age 31 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

10. One negro named Julien, age 29 years, estimated at eight hundred dollars $800.00

11. One negro named Derneville, age 22 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

12. One negro named Alexandre, age 17 years, estimated at eight hundred dollars $800.00

13. One negro named Casimir, age 30 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

14. One negro named Pierre, age 28 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

15. One negro named Basile, age 22 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

16. One negro named Edouard, age 16 years, estimated at six hundred dollars $600.00

17. One negro named Joe, age 23 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

18. One negro named Allen, age 22 years, estimated at six hundred dollars $600.00

19. One negro named William, age 20 years, estimated at one thousand dollars $1000.00

20. One negro named Achille, age 16 years, estimated at eight hundred dollars $800.00

21. One negro named Zephirin, age 14 years, estimated at seven hundred dollars $700.00

22. One negro named Saurent, age 14 years, estimated at five hundred dollars $500.00

23. One negress named Uranie, age 24 years, and her three children named Oscar of 6 years, Edouard of 4 years and Julien of 2 years, estimated together at thirteen hundred dollars $1300.00

24. One negress named Sophie, age 21 years, with her child Hyppolite age 5 years, estimated together at nine hundred dollars $900.00

25. One negress named Enie, age 50 years, with her two children Madeliene age 7 years, and Josephine age 5 years, estimated together at seven hundred dollars $700.00

26. One negress named Caroline age 16 years, with her child of one month named Louise, estimated together at eight hundred dollars $800.00

27. One negress named Celestine, age 34 years, and her three children named Francois of 10 years, Jean of 3 years and Elise of 5 months, estimated together at fourteen hundred $1400.00

28. One negress named Victoire, age 23 years, and her three children named Fanchonette of 7 years, Francoise of 5 years and Eugenie of 5 months and another child who came from the mother and therefore no name, estimated together at fourteen hundred dollars $1400.00

29. One young negress named Louise, age 13 years, estimated at four hundred dollars $400.00

30. One negress named Agnes, age 55 years, estimated at one hundred dollars $100.00

31. One mulatresse named Charlotte, age 50 years estimated at 100 dollars $100.00

32. One lot of land situate in this parish, on the eastern branch of Bayou Teche, containing one hundred twenty eight feet in the front and one hundred and ninty-two feet deep, referred to on the plan as land of Chas. Henriot which he divided into lots as lot number 17 which is bordered on the east by number 24, and on the west by road number 3 and on the north by lot number 18, and on the south by the road ____, estimated at two hundred dollars $200.00

33. Another lot of land, situate in the same place, containing one hundred twenty eight feet in front and one hundred ninety two feet in back, referred to on the plan addition noted by the number 20, bordered on the
east by number 21, on the west by road number 3, and on the north by road____, and south by number 19, estimated at two hundred dollars $200.00

34. Six pairs of oxen estimated at one hundred and fifty dollars $150.00

35. Thirteen work horses estimated at twenty-five dollars each $325.00

36. Twenty head of sweet natured sheep, estimated at eight dollars each $160.00

37. Seventy-five head, more or less, of timid horned animals at $7 each $525.00

38. Twenty mares and young horses, more or less, estimated at one hundred and twenty dollars $120.00

39. One pair oxen cart wheels, estimated at twenty-five dollars $ 25.00


Given that their mother looked after all of the household items and furniture that are in the house, the desire of the heirs is that all of the said objects will at their request remain uninventoried, in consideration of low value.

40. The amount of rent for the slaves harvesting is presented as it was agreed between the deceased and Charles Landry, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars $1500.00

41. A promissary note for the amount of sixteen hundred forty-one dollars and 25 cents, underwritten by Mr. Charles Landry, and payable on 1 April 1853 $1641.25

The deceased assets, in a certain period of time, made a donation of money to his daughter Mrs. Powell, which has grown further to add up to or less than $2480, required subsequently that all the children equally have the same donation and, to that effect he executed and supplied in favor of the other children a promissary note for $2480 each on whose, assets before paying certain sums to three of his said inheritors, he left the diverse balance over two whole promissary notes as follows:

1. One promissary note acknowledges in favor of Mrs. Estelle Landry, wife of Mr. Amede Gauthier, and dated 6 November 1850, payable to the period of the death of the drawer from which his wife, the said acknowledgment comes to two thousand four hundred and eighty dollars which impacts the succession of the deceased as a debt $2480.00

2. The same acknowledgment is given to Alexander Victorin Landry, for the same objective of the succession $2480.00

3. The same acknowledgment is given to Mrs. Marie Delzinde Landry, wife of Mr. Joseph Labarthe, for the same objective and for the same sum here carried as debt of the succession, that is to say the balance due is around $1900.00

4. The same acknowledgment is given to Mr. Charles Landry for the same objective and for the same sum on which he remains due a balance of around $1780, here carried as debt of the succession $1780.00

5. The same acknowledgment is given to Mr. Jo. Darcourt Landry for the same objective and for the same sum, on which he carries due a balance of around $880, here carried as debt of the succession $880.00


The succession does not have as assets the small debts such as counting the stores and others, those amounts are unknown; these debts are carried in the regulation of the succession as passive ones.

ACTIVE TOTAL $35846.25


Having found nothing else to inventory, the following declaration is presented to the parties present, the active inventory amount in the sum of thirty-five thousand eight hundred forty six dollars and twenty-five cents; the liabilities inventory amount at present, in the sum of nine thousand five hundred twenty dollars, approximately, and to close and conversely reserve to all the parties the rights of action.

Which parties after being briefed here signed with the said estimates,

Recorders testimony, with the Parish of St. Martin in the place of residence of the lady petitioner, this day and month I and the entitled head.

Original signed by: Ursin Lenormand, son, P. Lenormand, Modeste A.Lenormand, Charles Landry, Estelle Landry, A. Gauthier, Darcourt Landry,Mrs. Lenormand, Edw. Simon.

P. Briant, Recorder
Bureau of the Recorder
Parish of St. Martin

I certify that the preceding is a true copy conforming with the resident draft in the bureau of appeals.

St. Martinville 4 December 1852

P. Briant Recorder


Allen J. Rogers "Allen J. Rogers"

All Rights Reserved

Imagine my shock and surprise to see Sophie listed with her son Hyppolite (son of Alexandre Victorin Landry, son of Joseph Marie Fermin Landry). I cried the first time I read it. And reading it again as I write this post has me balling again. There is something about seeing my many greats grandmother listed as property...right above the disposition of the oxen and sheep,and seeing the dollar amount put on her. Wow, it hurts. A lot.

On the plus side, a Succession Inventory, unlike the slave census, has the slaves names listed. I used this to track down Sophie’s brothers, who had also used their father Daniel’s name as a surname, in the 1870 and 1880 census records.

Aurelian Daniel (1821), Derneville Daniel (1830), Alexandre Daniel (1835), Isaac Daniel (1835), Zephirin (Severin) Daniel (1838). I assume one of the women listed is Sophie’s mother, but I don’t know which woman it would be. But, Daniel is the first name listed which means he was born about 1802.

Sophie Daniel Johnson,- Death Certificate July 6, 1916


Tara said...

Hi, do you have the names Elisia Lee and Elina Lee in your family tree?

Angie Sandro said...

I have an Elise Lee born in 1886. She was the daughter of Alfred Lee and Irene Landry.

Angie Sandro said...
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