Regional Movement, S445, “Southern Ante-Bellum Plantation Records, ” 2:30 pm, Saturday, 13 May 2017
About your speaker: Ari Wilkins is a genealogist and family historian. She is a member of the Dallas Public Library’s Genealogy staff.
Ari first started working with antebellum southern plantation records when she set out to prove an unbelievable detail in her family’s oral history … One of her great aunts wrote that a particular family line ‘migrated from Louisiana to North Carolina as slaves.’ All of her paternal research up to that time had North Carolina origins as far back as she could trace. Not one ancestor had dared to be born across state lines!
For many years, Ari could not pass the 1870 brick wall and identify the last slave owner. During a random internet search in the middle of the night, she stumbled onto a finding guide for a plantation records collection. Working on a strong hunch, she set out to prove that the slave holder in one collection was her ancestor’s former master.
Searching these records has led her on an incredible journey –providing rich details about her enslaved ancestor’s lives. Today, she can describe what they experienced, what their surroundings looked like, how they traveled, and even the emotions they may have felt…
Through these records, Ari has had the opportunity to analyze slavery from the perspective of both the slave and the master. Last year, she was able to develop a deep personal connection to these records when she was given the chance to spend an evening on the land where her ancestor worked as a slave.What an incredible experience!