Free African American of Maryland & Delaware from the Colonial Period to 1810, 2nd ed. by Paul Heinegg: Book Review

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.

A few months ago, I reviewed a similar book by Paul Heinegg –Free African Americans of NC, VA and SC from the Colonial Period to About 1820.

This newest second edition volume, just published this year, covers the states of Maryland and Delaware.


List of Family Histories

I. Introduction
II. Family Histories
III. Sources
IV. Index

The book is easy to use, given that the families are arranged in alpha order with only a determination of colony/state where the family was living.

Don’t skip over the introduction because it contains valuable historical information regarding land owners, religions, relations with slave and white communities, manumitted slaves, oral histories and migrations between the colonies.

Paul Heinegg’s meticulous research is a boon to those who believe they have colonial-period free African Americans in their family trees.

Here are several examples of the detailed information to be found:

1. Alice Bryan, a white woman, born c1681, confessed in Kent County Delaware to giving birth to a child fathered by William Trippits, Negro man called Jack. She received 39 lashes and was ordered to serve her master for an extra two years. Her son Peter was bound to the same master for thirty one years.

There are further details about Alice and several more children.

2. Philip Mongom, born c1625, was the slave of Captain William Hawley, In 1645, he was whipped for entertaining a white woman. Sibble Ford, a runaway English maidservant. It is said that Philip was quite unmanageable and a deal was worked out to offer him his freedom.

There are several scenarios that possibly led to his freedom plus two pages of details about his son and grandchildren.

Some of these entries pertain to Native Americans:

3. Elizabeth Sparkman, born c1692, servant of Nathaniel Roach, confessed in 1712 that she had a son, George, by Indian Robin. The Somerset County court ordered her to receive 20 lashes, extended her servitude contract and also bound her son to her master.

There are several other entries for the “Sparksman” family who appear in several Maryland county court records.

This is a fabulous reference book – 382 pages of well documented research – for anyone with deep African American ancestry in Maryland and/or Delaware.

Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware from the Colonial Period to 1810, Second Edition by Paul Heinegg can be ordered online from Genealogical Publishing Company for $45.00.


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