If you have Southern ancestors before the 1860s, at least some of them almost certainly owned slaves

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privateflemming

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I'm sorry if this isn't the right forum but the reason I'm making this thread is because I keep seeing people who make the claim that although many of their ancestors fought for the Confederacy, NONE of them owned slaves. I don't believe this. I don't think the people who claim this have done real in-depth research into their family history but are instead likely succumbing to wishful thinking/willful ignorance.

So I'm making this thread as a friendly challenge to whoever has Southern ancestors before the 1860s who fought for or supported the Confederacy but thinks none of them or their immediate families owned any slaves. If you think this, just make a list of the full names of all your Southern ancestors who lived through the Civil War and sided with the Confederacy as well as their parents and include their dates and places of birth and death if you have that information. Then I will use all the research tools at my disposal such Ancestry.com to check the census records for you and try to find proof of whether or not they or their immediate families actually owned slaves.

However: please don't quibble about whether an individual technically legally owned the slaves themselves. If a 19-year-old whose parents owned dozens of slaves volunteered to right for the Confederacy, for the purposes of this they should be considered a slave owner since they would have grown up overseeing and controlling slaves owned by their parents that they would have expected to inherit. Likewise, if someone like Mary Custis inherited large plantation estates with hundreds of slaves of which her husband was made legal executor and manager with the power to sell or set them free at his discretion, that also amounts to slave ownership on his part. This isn't about legal quibbles and technicalities. It's about whether or not your Confederate ancestors were directly involved in and profited from slavery.

Lastly, this is why I'm extremely skeptical that anyone with many pre-Civil War Southern ancestors had none that owned slaves. These are the percentage of families who owned slaves by state according to the 1860 federal census (http://www.civil-war.net/pages/1860_census.html):

CSA (in order of secession):

South Carolina (46%)
Mississippi (49%)
Florida (34%)
Alabama (35%)
Georgia (37%)
Louisiana (29%)
Texas (28%)
Virginia (26%)
Arkansas (20%)
Tennessee (25%)
North Carolina (28%)

Border:

Kentucky (23%)
Missouri (13%)

USA:

Maryland (12%)
Delaware (3%)
All others (0%)
 
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