Search slave chats

04-Oct-2017 07:32

Staff genealogists helped her search for archival information about her ancestors, but the trail quickly went cold.Madison’s stepson, a gambler and alcoholic, sold or burned many of his papers after the president’s death.Kearse had started working on a manuscript about her family history that drew some interest from agents and publishers.

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Kearse’s most recent visit to Madison’s plantation promised to be even more emotionally affecting than usual: Her family’s long-held narrative would converge with modern science, giving her the chance to confirm that she, an African American woman, is related to a president.

Bettye Kearse inherited a copy of an 1860 slave census from her mother, Ruby Laura Madison Wilson, that lists the gender and approximate age of some of her enslaved ancestors.