Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Manumission Reveals Mysteries and Other Interesting Ancestral Connections

It's been a few days since the airing of the PBS program, History Detectives” and my segment titled "The Galvez Papers." I am still excited about having had a chance to share part of Agnes’ story with a wider, national viewing audience. If you didn’t see the program, you can still do so online; just go to PBS.org and type in "Galvez Papers" or click here:AGNES MANUMISSION

My original intent with this blog was to share information about my 4th generation great grandmother, Agnes. She had a very interesting life as a Creole slave and then a free woman of color in French and Spanish Colonial Louisiana. Her manumission (freedom papers) was an important find. It allowed me to better understand the connection of my colonial slave ancestor and her French consort named Mathieu Devaux dit Platilla. It also connected me to a significant period of time in the history of Louisiana and America. 
Since my last blog post, I have been thinking about some other information I have discovered from the manumissions of other female members in my family tree. I realized that Agnes has become the center of focus and a prime example of the lives of these amazing women. Each of these female ancestors connects my family tree to other significant historic figures inLouisiana’s Colonial past. 
What I am finding after making these discoveries is a window into other noted family lines that are well documented. I am now starting to understand how important these manumission documents are in unveiling historical facts and revealing long lost truths about the lives of those who sought to be free.
So far I have uncovered four such manumissions of female ancestors in my family. Rather than start another blog about their lives, I will share information about them here.
Stay tuned for a look at the manumission of the mulatto slave woman named Felicite (my 4th generation great grandmother) and her two quadroon children (one of which is my 3rd generation great grandfather Gilbert). 


  1. You are very lucky to have those papers. Apparently Alabama did not require any papers to be filed in the 1860's and so it is hard to document what exactly happened to her.

  2. I'm sorry, that was an incomplete thought there. so it's hard to document what happened to my 2 X great grandmother Eliza. I believe I have figured it out but a legal paper saying who freed her and her daughter Mary would be so welcome!