Thus far, in searching out information to learn more about “From Whence I Came,” I have relied on records from the United States Federal Census, Illinois Death Records, U.S. Social Security Death Index, and U.S. World War I Draft Registration forms.
I am not sure what, if anything, I will find out about my ancestors who were born into, married and/or died during slavery. Since enslaved African-American men, women, and children were not recorded in Census Reports until 1870. My enslaved family, though identified in Census Reports, were recorded under their slaveholders’ name. They were listed by their first name or nameless along with race, height, and weight.
At this stage in my research, I have not been able to find out when my great-great-grandparents, Gilbert and Mary Shegog, married. However, I feel confident they were married for more than forty years given the:
- 1900 Census report their oldest children as twins, Thomas and Minerva, age 13.
- 1990 Census report Gilbert’s and Mary’s age as 34 and 25, respectively.
- 1930 Census report the youngest child, Josie, is living in the home with her two young children.
It appears that Mary passed away sometime after the 1930 Census Report as the:
- 1940 Census reports Gilbert living in the home of his youngest, son, Robert and wife, Edna. His marital status was recorded as widowed.
Since I found the record of Gilbert’s death in the Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths, Index, I assume he was either visiting or living with his children who migrated from Mississippi to Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Gilbert was laid to rest in his hometown, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi on November 30, 1947.
Gilbert and Mary’s children were the great-grand aunts and uncles who loved and embraced me from my childhood until their death. A strong family commitment brought them together to fill the void left by my grandmother and great-grandmother who died before I was born.
There is no doubt “From Whence I Came —
“I am the descendent of a slave family. We were captured and lost our identity. Yet, we have survived and thrived despite the obstacles placed in our paths.”
In coming weeks, I hope to uncover information and write about my great, great-grandmother, Mary, as well as the 13 children born into this union.