Accomac Roots

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Accomac Free Black Census

The files on this portion of the website are this researcher's personal working copies, used as aids in constructing the family trees of Chincoteague free black families. Each record contains the names of heads of black households (and in some cases their spouses) that were extracted by hand from online US Census Records.

While limited, these files provide a beginning place and guide for more detailed searches by showing what family surname units were present in which census years. In order to build family trees, however, one must ultimately search the full census files, either online or in a library.

A few pointers might be helpful. From 1930 back to 1850*, the US Census contains (among other information) the names, ages, occupations, and birth states for all members of the household. The 1900 Census contains birth month and year. Thus, reconstructing family trees back to 1850 is a relatively simple task, especially when combined with birth and marriage records. For white families this task is also aided significantly by the use of cemetery records. Unfortunately, there are at best only fragmentary records for most black burials and cemeteries.

* There is essentially no 1890 Census. The records were badly damaged in a fire at the Commerce Building on Jan. 10, 1921, and then, inexplicably, all but a tiny fraction of those salvaged were discarded in the 1930's. Read more.

Disclaimer: Because these files were constructed for use in researching Chincoteague, they vary somewhat in content from year to year. In the most recent census records, extraction of Chincoteague data was easy because the Islands District was separated out from the rest of Accomac County.

From 1860 back, however, that was not the case. Thus these earlier census files consist of a listing of all free black families from Accomac Parish and, where possible, a separate listing of only those families from Chincoteague. These latter sections were chosen by looking for a series of (white and black) individuals who were known to be on the Island at the time and then recording all household from the pages containing these "known CI" individuals, inclusively. If we erred, it was on the side of including more rather than fewer pages. Consequently, these CI lists may contain some mainland households.

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Copyright © Richard H. Smith, Jr.,, 2006