Trip to Alabama Archives

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By , June 25, 2004 6:17 am

Finally got over to Montgomery and the Archives. Wasn’t exactly a bust but didn’t find the breakthrough info that I was hoping for.

1867 Voter Registration List:
1867 Voter Registration Lists Available on self-service microfilm. This series was created in accordance with an act passed on March 2, 1867, “to provide for a more efficient government of the rebel States,” and particularly to extend suffrage to the millions of freedmen across the south. All adult black and white males who had sworn an oath of loyalty to the United States were eligible to register to vote. Included is the person’s name, race, length of residence in the state, county and precinct, the book and page where his oath is recorded, naturalization information, and reasons for rejecting some registrants. Arranged alphabetically by county, thereunder chronologically by date of registration.

Only able to look at this on microfilm which was unreadable for the precincts I’m researching. Archives in process of refilming and digitizing these records and was not able to look at actual registers. Told they are heavily water-damaged and quite fragile.

Loyalty Oaths 1867-8
Loyalty Oaths. In order to regain their voting rights under the Reconstruction Acts of 1867, men who had borne arms against the United States or otherwise actively supported the Confederacy were required to swear an oath of loyalty to the government of the United States. This series consists of bound volumes of the loyalty oaths from each county and from the major cities in the state. The oaths contain the voter’s name, county of residence, his oath swearing loyalty to the United States government, his voting precinct, and the voter registrar’s name. Arranged alphabetically by county. Some volumes are closed due to their fragile condition.

Not exactly a perfect substitute for the voter Registrations which also list race but at least something! Found great-grandfather:

    Clark Thomas No 1082 dated 2 July 1867

Also looked at the Chattel Mortgage Records (1870-1871) and the Chancery Court Minutes (1848-1868). Didn’t find anything on my main lines.

Tax Collector, Tax Abstracts 1907-1911 and 1912-1916
Alphabetical listing of the taxpayers of the county, a breakdown of assorted taxes, total taxes due, address of each taxpayer and fees assigned by assessor.

Found Robert Norris and J. Henry Norris. Both paid taxes on personal property. Neither owned any real estate. Sample entry for Robert in 1910:

    Beat 3 Receipt #859 Paid 10/28 Name Norris Robert Value Real Estate — Value Personal Property $180 Toal Taxes $2.52

Could not photocopy because these record books were in such fragile condition. Archivist suggested I photograph them. Took 36 pics. Got back on photo disc today. None of them came out ! !

There’s always something new under the sun

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By , June 12, 2004 6:17 pm

I remember a time when folks told those of us researching slave ancestors that we would NEVER find them. While it’s still hard to get over the 1870 brick wall, it’s getting easier and easier. Not only are records that were once accessible only by scholars now being made routinely available but records are being newly uncovered.

Take for instance this case in NC where a researcher found that the 1860 Camden County census listed the names of slaves.

And in Alabama, archivists discovered ledgers just lying around in the basement which turned out to be 1867 voter registartion rolls. Together with the 1866 census they would make the first records after Emancipation wherein former slaves were recorded by name.

Records I have to research when I go to Montgomery (Tuesday, for sure!):

1. Chattel mortgage records to search for any mention of Papa Norris.

2. 1867 voter registrations to search for ANY of my surnames. Unfortunately the 1866 census taker did not record Blacks’ names in Wilcox County as was done elsewhere in Alabama. To do: check to see if there is another “copy” of the 1866. Maybe an earlier one lists individuals.

Source: Reposted from LiveJournal 11/8/2011,

Robert has to be there somewhere!

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By , June 11, 2004 4:08 pm

I have spent several hours over the past week going over the 1870 Wilcox County census for Rehobeth and Prairie Bluff precincts. Using 1872 and 1938 maps the county I’ve been letting my fingers do the walking and literally travelling the roads much as the census taker would have done in 1870. Here are my working assumptions:

1. Robert is just where he was for the next 50 years but his name is misspelled or he’s listed under another first name or nickname and/or a surname other than Norris.

2. Robert isn’t in these places. Instead, he’s somewhere else in Wilcox County or in nearby Dallas, Marengo or Perry counties.

3. Robert wasn’t enumerated anywhere. Somehow he was just missed.

I’ve exhausted numero uno with this last foray. Robert would have been 9 or 10 in 1870 and the only boy that age that I find where I expect him to be is one listed as Robt with no last name enumerated in the HH of Becca Mixon (p. 41 (227), dw #402). The Mixon surname dovetails nicely with C. George’ Mixon’s story about Papa and Mama Julia being related somehow.

Still, I’m not satisfied with this conclusion; hence, my continuing to search. I need to find another Robert or some corroboration that he was a Mixon before I ‘m convinced.

Still trying to make it over to the Alabama Archives to look at the chattel mortgage books and the newly uncovered 1867 voter registration books. Due to budget cuts, only open one Sat per month and that was last weekend. Closed Mondays. Will try to do Tue or Wed.

Source: Reposted from LiveJournal on 11/8/2011,

Army 1st Sgt.Theodore Norris

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By , June 1, 2004 3:04 am

1st Sgt. Theodore Norris

Dad and I spent Memorial Day talking about his military career. He mentioned that he was drafted in the Army in 1942 when he was 24 years old. Started me looking for records online and found him in this great database a little while ago.

Title: World War II Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 6/1/2002 – 9/30/2002
Creator:National Archives and Records Administration. Office of Records Services – Washington, D.C. Modern Records Programs. Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division.
Level of Description: Series from Record Group 64: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration

Series: World War II Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File
This series has records on about nine million men and women who enlisted during World War II in the United States Army, including Army Reserves and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. NARA scanned War Department microfilmed punch cards on enlistments to support the reconstruction of the military personnel records at its National Personnel Record Center. Because of the microfilm’s poor condition, approximately 1.5 million records could not be scanned. Also, the file has no records for Army officers, members of other services or enlistments for other time periods. In general, each record has the serial number of a soldier, person’s name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, branch, term of enlistment, place of birth, year of birth, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, and component. These records present unique searching challenges.

Source: Reposted from LiveJournal 11/8/2011,

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