With features as conspicuously Negroid as they were reputed to be by her contemporaries, it is no wonder that the black community, both in the U.S. and throughout the British Commonwealth, have rallied around pictures of Queen Charlotte for generations. They have pointed out the physiological traits that so obviously identify the ethnic strain of the young woman who, at first glance, looks almost anomalous, portrayed as she usually is, in the sumptuous splendour of her coronation robes.
Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. The riddle of Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry was solved as a result of an earlier investigation into the black magi featured in 15th century Flemish paintings. Two art historians had suggested that the black magi must have been portraits of actual contemporary people (since the artist, without seeing them, would not have been aware of the subtleties in colouring and facial bone structure of quadroons or octoroons which these figures invariably represented) Enough evidence was accumulated to propose that the models for the black magi were, in all probability, members of the Portuguese de Sousa family. (Several de Sousas had in fact traveled to the Netherlands when their cousin, the Princess Isabella went there to marry the Grand Duke, Philip the Good of Burgundy in the year 1429.)
Six different lines can be traced from English Queen Charlotte back to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, in a gene pool which because of royal inbreeding was already minuscule, thus explaining the Queen’s unmistakable African appearance.
Queen Charlotte’s Portrait:
Thus, from just a cursory look at the social awareness and political activism at that level of English society, it would be surprising if the Queen’s negroid physiogomy was of no significance to the Abolitionist movement.
Lord Mansfield’s black grand niece, for example, Ms. Lindsay, was the subject of at least two formal full sized portraits. Obviously prompted by or meant to appeal to abolitionist sympathies, they depicted the celebrated friendship between herself and her white cousin, Elizabeth Murray, another member of the Mansfield family. One of the artists was none other than Zoffany, the court painter to the royal family, for whom the Queen had sat on a number of occasions.
It is perhaps because of this fairly obvious case of propagandistic portraiture that makes one suspect that Queen Charlotte’s coronation picture, copies of which were sent out to the colonies, signified a specific stance on slavery held, at least, by that circle of the English intelligencia to which Allan Ramsay, the painter belonged.
For the initial work into Queen Charlotte’s genealogy, a debt of gratitude is owed the History Department of McGill University. It was the director of the Burney Project (Fanny Burney, the prolific 19th century British diarist, had been secretary to the Queen), Dr. Joyce Hemlow, who obtained from Olwen Hedly, the most recent biographer of the Queen Charlotte (1975), at least half a dozen quotes by her contemporaries regarding her negroid features. Because of its “scientific” source, the most valuable of Dr. Hedley’s references would, probably, be the one published in the autobiography of the Queen’s personal physician, Baron Stockmar, where he described her as having “…a true mulatto face.”
Perhaps the most literary of these allusions to her African appearance, however, can be found in the poem penned to her on the occasion of her wedding to George III and the Coronation celebration that immediately followed.
Finally, it should be noted that the Royal Household itself, at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, referred to both her Asian and African bloodlines in an apologia it published defending her position as head of the Commonwealth.
More about Research into the Black Magi:
Researched and Written by Mario de Valdes y Cocom, an historian of the African diaspora.
How to Use War of 1812 Pension Files
Do you have an ancestor who participated in the War of 1812? If so, the War of 1812 pension files may hold a treasure trove of genealogical information for you. These records have previously been difficult to access until, led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the genealogical community began digitizing them in 2015 to make them available for the bicentennial of this important war.
Finding family information in war files may seem counterintuitive, but records of these files are filled with important details about soldiers, their families, and even extended families. Learn more about what information these records contain and how you can access them to find your ancestors.
What are pension files?
Citizens who joined the militia and served in the army or navy during the War of 1812 were eligible for pensions. Throughout the 1800s, nearly 100,000 applications were submitted. Some were approved, some not, but files for both were preserved.
To qualify for these pensions, applicants were required to provide the government with stringent proofs of eligibility, so the files may include original records sent in by the applicants. They may include pages torn from family Bibles, marriage certificates, photographs, military records, and more. Such records may provide proof of such facts as a wife’s maiden name, marriage places and dates, names of children, bounty land awarded, military service details, names of parents, death dates and places, and physical descriptions of the veteran.
Who could apply for a pension?
Before 1871, veterans had to prove that war injuries prevented them from earning a living in order to receive a pension. If the veteran was deceased, his widow could apply provided she had married the veteran before 1815, the year the war ended. Through the years, stipulations for pension eligibility were relaxed, and more families applied. After 1871, all veterans who served at least 60 days, or their widows, could apply. In 1878, benefits were extended to veterans, widows, and their children, provided the soldier served at least 14 days. Pension applications could also include men who served in the war effort in capacities other than as soldiers.
Some soldiers who were not eligible for pensions still qualified for bounty lands. What is found in the Fold3 1812 folders may differ from that available on the online Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bounty Land patents. The procedure to get a land patent included an application for bounty land, a warrant for the land, and a land patent. The patents are digitized on the BLM site, but the warrants are not.
Whether or not your ancestor served in the war, the information may still be in these records. Check the records on Fold3.com. Your ancestor may be listed on affidavits as witnesses to marriages and other events of friends and family who were involved in the war.
Where are pension records available?
Start by searching for an ancestor in the FamilySearch War of 1812 index, but don’t stop there. Indexes provide only limited information, could include transcription errors, and aren’t necessarily complete.
Digitized records in the pension files are actual copies of proof documents and may contain much more information than is on the indexes. Thus far, files for surnames A through M have been digitized and are available free online at Fold3.com. The undigitized original files are also available to search at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
Keep an eye on your FamilySearch record hints as well. If FamilySearch finds one of your ancestors in the War of 1812 Pension File records, they’ll give you a record hint on your Family Tree. You can review these hints to view the record and make sure it applies to your ancestor.
National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair 2018
October 24, 2018 – Save the date!
Sixth Annual Virtual Genealogy Fair
Every year, the National Archives hosts a virtual Genealogy Fair via live webcast on YouTube. The sessions offer family history research tools on Federal records for all skill levels. Thousands of family historians participate in the live event.
As a virtual attendee, you can:
- Watch the entire day on YouTube.
- Join us – from wherever and whenever.
- Participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event.
- Watch individual sessions and download the materials at your convenience — live or after the event.
- Attend free of charge and registration!
David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States of America
Skill Level: All
Session: Join the National Archives Catalog Community Managers as they discuss genealogy resources available in the National Archives Catalog and how the Catalog can help you jump start and refine your genealogical research. The Community Managers will also discuss the many opportunities to participate in our online Catalog through citizen archivist projects such as tagging, transcription, and adding comments. They’ll talk about how you can contribute to these projects and how these contributions can help make content in our Catalog more discoverable to researchers.
Presenters: Suzanne Isaacs and Meredith Doviak are the Community Managers for the National Archives Catalog, catalog.archives.gov, working to manage, build and grow the community of users surrounding records and information in our Catalog through crowdsourcing missions archives.gov/citizen-archivist.
Suzanne holds a B.A. in American History and an M.L.S in Archives from the University of Maryland. Before arriving at the National Archives she was the Open Society Archives Western Fellow in Budapest, Hungary and the audiovisual archivist and assistant curator at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland. Over 15 years at the National Archives she was the Supervisory Archivist for the Cartographic Section, Archivist in the Special Media Division, Digital Projects Coordinator for the National Archives Experience, and Item Level Description Coordinator in the Office of Innovation. She was a project manager for the development of DocsTeach.org and blogged for Today’s Document on Tumblr (http://todaysdocument.tumblr.com).
Meredith joined the National Archives in 2009, first working in the Social Media Branch in the Office of Innovation, developing policy, strategy, and outreach initiatives for the National Archives’ social media accounts. Meredith also served on the governance workstream for the development and launch of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) project to create free and open access to the nation’s cultural and scientific record. Meredith holds a Master of Library Science Degree with a focus on Archival Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.
Skill Level: All
Session: This presentation will highlight some of the most important federal records for identifying former slaves and slave owners, including:
- Civil War and later military service and pension records
- Confederate slave payrolls
- Bureau of Pensions Law Division case files
- Freedmen’s Bureau records
- Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company records
- Southern Claims Commission claims files
- Coastwise slave ship manifests
- Fugitive slave case files
Presenter: Claire Kluskens is a reference and digital projects archivist at the National Archives in Washington, DC and specializes in records of high genealogical value. She spearheaded the completion of more than 330 National Archives microfilm publications and now works on digital and description projects for the National Archives Catalog. She lectures frequently and has published extensively in national, state, and local genealogical publications. Claire has been a National Archives and Records Administration staff member since 1992 and has done genealogical research since 1976.
Skill Level: Beginner
Session: Earlier this year, the processing team here at Archives I in Washington, DC completed a years-long records maintenance project of The Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of the Army and Navy Who Served Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (“Widows’ Certificate” [WC] Files”), Entry 12-A, National Archives Identifier 30020, in Record Group 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs. These files are a heavily used record series for genealogists and social historians, and contain records received by the Bureau of Pensions from widows to prove entitlement for pensions based on their deceased husbands’ military service, as well as records created by the Bureau that document actions it took concerning the applications. Far more than old papers housed in archival boxes, these records are a testament to the lives lived and the challenges faced by women in the face of a massive and byzantine bureaucratic network. Pension files contain records for all claims relating to the veteran and include corroborating evidence such as proof of marriage and/or divorce, certificates from examining surgeons, birth records of children, copies of veterans’ death certificates, and correspondence between parties to a claim and the Bureau of Pensions. The Bureau of Pensions would frequently dispatch special examiners to gather testimony from widows and those who had knowledge of the marriage, including neighbors, employers, friends, and extended family. Transcripts of these depositions, if they occurred, are included in the case file. In addition to the myriad names and dates so frequently found in the course of genealogical research, the widows’ pension case files may provide a more intimate and detailed perspective regarding the marriage and lives of veterans and their surviving family. The Bureau of Pensions’ correspondence and interrogation transcripts often include details of whether the marriage was happy or unhappy, whether the family was adequately provided for, the circumstances of divorce or separation, and the reputation of the veteran and/or his widow in their local community. Surgeons’ certificates provide information on veterans’ health, including disabilities due to war injuries and any health problems that arose after his service. Included documents might also show that a widow was denied a claim due to insufficient proof of divorce from a previous marriage or testimony from neighbors attesting to what they perceived as immoral behavior. Each case file holds the potential for uncovering elements of the lives of veterans and their survivors beyond a dry sequence of events.
Presenter: Alexandra Villaseran, Archives Technician located at National Archives at College Park
1 p.m. – How to Search for Photographs that Document Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps and Activities
Skill Level: Experienced
Session: Learn how to navigate records held in the Still Picture unit that document CCC camps and activities. This session will provide researchers with a list of series that contain CCC photographs, as well as inform researchers as to what information they should gather prior to beginning their search for CCC imagery.
Presenters: Kaitlyn Crain Enriquez, Archives Specialist and Kelsey Noel, Archivist located at National Archives at College Park
Skill Level: Experienced
Session: With this year’s 85th anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), I will cover the wealth of genealogical resources the TVA’s Official Personnel Files (OPFs) provide to researchers. Additionally, I will provide information regarding the locations of other TVA records to be found in National Archives offices outside of St. Louis. The TVA was created in 1933 as one of the many “alphabet agencies” of the New Deal. It employed men and women alike for many different jobs from the well-known, dam constructions to science labs and textile plants. It was one of the first agencies with such an overstated regional focus. Within one short year of establishment, over 9,000 people were employed over the seven-state area of TN, AL, MS, KY, GA, NC, and VA. The TVA’s focus on employment as well as on the development and modernization of rural land makes the federal records that remain a sophisticated way to track families from that time and area.
Presenter: Cara Moore Lebonick, Reference Archives Technician located at National Archives at St. Louis
Skill Level: Experienced
Session: During war and peacetime, military nurses tended to the medical needs of the United States Armed Forces stateside, overseas, and on the front lines. This presentation will provide brief histories of the Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps, useful finding aids, and how to request records. The Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army and Air Force Nurses may have been lost, burned, or damaged in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire. Fortunately, the National Archives at St. Louis houses non-OMPF records that may supplement the deficit the fire caused. The National Archives collection of Navy Nurse Corps and Army Nurse Corps records contain genealogy rich content of place & date of birth, photographs, handwritten letters and typed correspondence to friends and families, awards and citations earned, job duties, facts pertaining to a death in service/killed in action, and beneficiaries.
Presenter: Anna Csar graduated with a Bachelor’s in History and minor in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and has worked for NARA since 2012. She is an Expert Archives Technician at the National Personnel Records Center and is currently cross-training in archival reference at the National Archives, St. Louis. She is a subject matter expert on Navy and Army Nurse Corps military personnel records.
Ann Cummings, Executive for Research Services
There are over 2.000 newspapers that have been published in the Yellowhammer State. But there are quite a few that are indeed available. So go for it – find your Alabama ancestors and all the interesting articles that capture the stories of their lives.Please note that I have not always entered the dates that are included in the collections, as I suspect they will change as more items are digitized. Also I suspect that some of these links may change over time – so if there is a dead link – please use your favorite search engine to find their new location. (Updated August, 2018; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Chattanooga, Tenn., 1862-1864 The Chattanooga daily rebel.
- Selma, Ala., 1865-1865 Chattanooga daily rebel.
- Memphis, Tenn., 1847-1886 Memphis daily appeal.
- Griffin, Ga., 1864-1865 The daily Chattanooga rebel.
Google News Archive
- Birmingham – The Alabama Citizen
- Centre – Cherokee County Herald
- Clay – Clay News
- Florence – Times Daily
- Gadsden – Gadsden Times
- Linden – The Democrat-Reporter
- Thomasville – Thomasville News
- Tuscaloosa – The Tuscaloosa News
- Tuscumbia – North Alabamian and Times
- Tuskegee – The Tuskegee News
- Vernon – The Lamar Democrat and the Sulligent News
- Vernon – The Lamar Democrat
- Advertiser and Register
- Advocate and American
- Alabama Beacon
- Alabama State SentinelY
- Army Argus and Crisis
- Athens Post
- Autauga Citizen
- Bangor Broad Axe
- Birmingham Iron Age
- Bluff City Times
- Butler News
- Cahaba Gazette
- Chambers Tribune
- Christian Herald
- Clarke County Democrat
- Clayton Banner
- Confederate States
- Daily Confederation
- Daily Huntsville Confederate
- Daily Mercury
- Daily Montgomery Ledger
- Daily Selma Times
- Daily State Sentinel
- Democratic Watchtower
- Eufala Weekly News
- Eufala Weekly Times
- Eufaula Express
- Florence Gazette
- Greenville Advocate
- Huntsville Confederate
- Huntsville Weekly Democrat
- Huntsville Weekly Independent
- Independent American
- Independent Monitor
- Independent Observer
- Jacksonville Republican
- Livingston Journal
- Marion Commonwealth
- Mobile Advertiser and Register
- Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register
- Mobile Daily News
- Mobile Daily Tribune
- Mobile Evening News
- Mobile Evening Telegraph
- Mobile Morning News
- Mobile Register and Advertiser
- Mobile Weekly Advertiser
- Mobile Weekly Register
- Montgomery Daily Advertiser
- Montgomery Daily Mail
- Montgomery Daily Post
- Montgomery Weekly Advertiser
- Montgomery Weekly Mail
- Montgomery Weekly Post
- Moulton Advertiser
- North Alabamian
- Opelika Observer
- Opelika Weekly Times
- Our Mountain Home
- Pickens American
- Russell Register
- Selma Daily Reporter
- Selma Evening Reporter
- Selma Morning Dispatch
- Selma Morning Reporter
- Selma Weekly Reporter
- Shelby Guide
- Shelby Sentinel
- South Western Baptist
- Southern Advertiser
- Southern Advocate
- Southern Argus
- Southern Champion
- Southern Home Journal
- Southern Messenger
- Southern Plantation
- Southern Republic
- Southern Signal
- Southern Statesman
- Southern Watchman
- Spirit of the South
- St. Clair Diamond
- State Rights Advocate
- The Eutaw Whig and Observer
- The Independent
- The Weekly Issue
- Troy Messenger
- Tuscaloosa Observer
- Tusekegee Weekly News
- Union Springs Herald
- Union Springs Herald and Times
- Union Springs Times
- United South
- Universalist Herald
- Weekly Advertiser
- Weekly Advertiser and Register
- Weekly Montgomery Confederation
- West Alabamian
- Wetumpka Spectator
- Wilcox News and Pacificator
County and Library Collections:
- Birmingham Iron Age 1874-1885
- Weekly Iron Age 1884-1887
- Weekly Age 1888-1899
- Pratt City Herald 1899-1901
- Alabama Republican
- Daily Huntsville Confederate
- Huntsville Gazette
- Huntsville Independent
- Huntsville Weekly Democrat
- Huntsville Weekly Mercury
- Huntsville Weekly Tribune
- Tennessee Valley News
- The Democrat
- The Evening Banner
- The Evening Tribune
- The Gurley Herald
- The Huntsville Advocate
- The Huntsville Daily Mercury
- The Huntsville Daily Times
- The Huntsville Journal
- The Huntsville Mercury
- The Huntsville News
- The Huntsville Star
- The Huntsville Telegram
- The Huntsville Times
- The Huntsville Weekly Times
- The Journal
- The Mercury-Banner
- The Morning Mercury
- The New South
- The Republican
- The Southern Advocate
- The Weekly Argus
- The Weekly Tribune
- Weekly Community Builder
- Weekly Mercury
- The Vernon Pioneer (1875 -1879)
- The Vernon Clipper (1879 – 1880)
- The Lamar News (1886 – 1887)
- The Vernon Courier (1886 – 1904)
- Marion Herald – (1887 – 1890)
- Guin Dispatch – (1888 – 1889)
- The Hamilton Times (1890 – 1893)
- Hamilton Free Press – (1893 – 1894)
- Hamilton News Press – (1895)
- Marion County News – (1896 – 1899)
- Hamilton Appeal (1896)
- Guin Gazette – (1897)
- The Gazette Appeal– (1897)
- The Winfield Enterprise (1899 – 1900)
- The Marion County Democrat (1903-1904)
- The Marion County Republican (1908)
- Calera Journal
- Montevallo Advertiser
- Montevallo News
- Montevallo Times
- People’s Advocate
Alabama State University – Montgomery
Auburn University – Auburn
Auburn University – Montgomery
Jacksonville State University – Jacksonville
Montevallo High School – Montevallo
Spring Hill College – Mobile
Troy University – Troy
University of Alabama – Birmingham
University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
University of Montevallo – Montevallo
University of North Alabama – Florence
University of South Alabama – Mobile
University of West Alabama – Montgomery
Old Fulton Postcards
- Clay News Pinson, Alabama
- The Democrat-Reporter Linden, Alabama
- The Florala News Florala , Alabama
- The Lamar Democrat and Sulligent News Vernon, Alabama
- The Pinson News & Jefferson Countian Pinson, Alabama
- Thomasville News Thomasville, Alabama
- The Tuskegee News Tuskegee, Alabama
For Obituary Indexes, transcriptions, and other death/obituary information from historic newspapers, please check out the Obituaries page.
Other Free Sites:
This book is a must-read for Genealogist
Dreams of African in Alabama
In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. For additional reading please follow the link above to purchase the book.
Thank you to our readers who asked for more information. You will find many resources in the book.
Written by Sylvianne A Dioup
We offer this news post from Amercian Ancestors to help you research your ancestors who may have been living in the New England States. This may help to bridge the gap between what we think we know and the unknown for us to discover. I have found relatives living in the New England States as Freeman and Slaves. We travel the trail where ever it leads us.
New post on American Ancestors Database News
Civil War Slave Compensation Claims in Compiled Military Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops
During the Civil War, an act of Congress allowed loyal slave owners in border states (where slavery was still legal after the Emancipation Proclamation) whose slaves enlisted or were drafted into the U.S. military to file a claim against the Federal government for loss of the slave’s services. Since each slave compensation claim was based on the service of a specific soldier, a copy of the claim’s paperwork was placed in that soldier’s compiled military service record. The regiments of U.S. Colored Troops that have a large number of these claims are the regiments formed in the border-states (Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri) or in neighboring states.
This index includes troops who served the following regiments:
- Artillery—1st, 4th, 8th, 12th, and 13th Heavy Artillery Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops
- Cavalry—5th and 6th Cavalry Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops
- Infantry—4th, 7th, 18th and 19th Infantry Regiments, U.S. Colored Troops
See Guide to Civil War Slave Compensation Claims in Compiled Military Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops for more information about these records.
For more information about specific records found in this index, please contact the History and Genealogy Department at email@example.com.