Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     People often say they have no interest in history because it is only a bunch of names, dates, and wars that have nothing to do with them. Yet many of those same people want to trace their lineage. As they soon learn during the research process, history and genealogy are deeply intertwined. A fascinating new book proving that fact is WEALTH, LAND, AND SLAVEHOLDING IN MISSISSIPPI: A PLANTER FAMILY’S LIFE OF PRIVILEGE, 1818-1913 by Ray R. Albin.

     The publication focuses on the family of William Price PERKINS, born in 1795 in Virginia and died in 1850 in Mississippi, and his wife, Jane Mell STEWART. William P. was a descendant of the well-known English immigrant, Nicholas PERKINS, who came to Virginia about 1641. After the arrival of Nicholas in America in the seventeenth century, the entrepreneurial Perkins line became successful landed planters with the labor of white indentured servants and then of black slaves. By providing genealogical data and historical background concerning each generation of the Perkins pedigree, Albin demonstrates how William P., as the owner of Mound Plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi, was following in the footsteps of his ancestors. As a result, the Perkins family is a microcosm of Southern high society and affluence over time.

     In his explanation of how William P. and his kin achieved wealth and success, Albin does not overlook the limitations and obstacles faced by the slave population. Nor does he shy away from the fact that sometimes whites and blacks were dependent on each other, even after the Civil War and emancipation.

     Since William P.’s son, Charles, sought adventure in the California Gold Rush, Albin also supplies insight into that era. He gives details about life in the West and how the change of location affected the slaves that Charles took with him. More than just a genealogical or historical glimpse into American life, the story of the Perkins family exemplifies the personal and generational threads woven into experiences, both good and bad, shared by the Southern planter-aristocrat class.

     Although the scholarly work contains much detail, it is well-written and easy-to-read. Numerous interesting illustrations accompany the narrative. Genealogists and historians alike will enjoy reading WEALTH, LAND, AND SLAVEHOLDING IN MISSISSIPPI: A PLANTER FAMILY’S LIFE OF PRIVILEGE, 1818-1913.

     The 333-page publication has a prologue, two Perkins family lineage charts, maps, tables, photographs, illustrations, facsimiles of original documents, eight appendices, footnotes (many of which are annotated), a bibliography, and a full-name and place index. It costs $31.00.

     If you are researching Southern ancestors, you may also be interested in a new series that provides information about both blacks and whites. Recently, Sandra Barlau completed SOME SLAVES OF FAUQUIER COUNTY, VIRGINIA, VOLUME I: WILL BOOKS, 1-10, 1759-1829 and SOME SLAVES OF FAUQUIER COUNTY, VIRGINIA, VOLUME II: WILL BOOKS 11-20, 1829-1847.

     From the Fauquier County will books, Barlau extracted the names of all slaves and slave owners named during the years 1759-1847. In addition to the wills, she utilized information discovered in documents dealing with administrator, estate, executor, and guardian accounts as well as inventories and appraisals.

     Entries are arranged under the name of the slave owner, followed by the list of slaves and the name of the new owner (if known). Also included in each entry are the page number and date and type of the document in which the data appear. A few common surnames in the records are ABELL, BRADFORD, CHINN, DUNCAN, FICKLIN, GEORGE, HAMPTON, HITCH, HORD, HUME, JENNINGS, MASSIE, MCNISH, MOREHEAD, PAYNE, PICKETT, ROUTT, SETTLE, WHEATLEY, and WITHERS.

     Although slaves only had a first name, it may be possible to trace an individual through his or her owners. Sometimes the records may furnish clues to relationships or a maiden name. In 1776, for example, Elizabeth ETHERINGTON gave a slave to her nephew, Thomas OBANNON. Charles FOX gave slaves to his daughter, Elizabeth BLACKWELL, in 1799.

     By presenting the material in book form, Barlau provides family researchers with easy access to data that would otherwise be time-consuming to find. SOME SLAVES OF FAUQUIER COUNTY, VIRGINIA, VOLUME I: WILL BOOKS, 1-10, 1759-1829 and SOME SLAVES OF FAUQUIER COUNTY, VIRGINIA, VOLUME II: WILL BOOKS 11-20, 1829-1847 form an excellent genealogical resource.

     The first volume has 255 pages and costs 26.50, while the second volume contains 156 pages and costs $21.00. Both have an introduction, a list of abbreviations used, and a full-name index.

     All three soft-cover books may be purchased by check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express from Heritage Books, Inc., 5810 Ruatan Street, Berwyn Heights, Maryland 20740. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-876-6103; fax 410-558-6574;; website To the price of each book, buyers should add the cost for shipping charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $7.00 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy

Kinsearching Home Page