On Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 1pm Eastern, I will be the guest of the Afro-American Historical Society of Fauquier County, Virginia (AAHA) for their monthly series, “AAHA Virtual Genealogy & Local History.” I will be discussing my research project entitled, “Enslaved at Oakley & Beyond.” No registration required. The direct Zoom link can be found here: https://www.aahafauquier.org/events-2.
My 3x great-grandparents, Mary Eliza “Ida” Powell and Henry Grafton “Hal” Dulany, owned a plantation called Oakley in Fauquier County, Virginia starting in the 1850s. From then until the end of the Civil War, my ancestors enslaved dozens of men, women, and children there. The goals of this project are to trace everyone who was enslaved, find their ancestors, and their descendants. I have been and will continue to share my research with any living descendants and the communites in and around Fauquier County, Virginia.
I have already written a few blog posts about my Dulany ancestors and the people they enslaved. Please see those posts for more information. Of course, I hope to see you virtually on Oct. 25 so you can hear all about this project and the people connected with it. If you miss the live event, you can watch the video on AAHA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX_TLihoYqd4-ErUQYxvuOw.
If you have read some of my other blog posts, you know that I am interested in giving a voice to the people enslaved by my ancestors. I have the advantage of either already having family papers or easily locating manuscript collections dealing with my ancestors since I know their names an where they lived. The tough part sometimes is finding the pieces of paper that list enslaved people by name. Before the pandemic in 2019, I found a source related to some of my Carter ancestors in Virginia, which lists enslaved people by name and connects them to a specific time and place.
In July 2019, I spent a few days researching in the library of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC), formerly the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond, Virginia. To maximize my time, I took digital photos of the items I requested, thinking I would go through the photos at a later date. Two years later…I still haven’t read through most of them, but I remembered that a plantation account book of one of my Carter ancestors had tons of great genealogical information on the enslaved and formerly enslaved who worked on the plantation. It is very possible that many of the names and relationships in this account book cannot be found in other records. I wanted to share some of the photos I took of the account book, but due to copyright, I am not allowed to publish them here without paying VHMC a small fortune. So, I did the next best thing and I have started to transcribe the account book. This blog post is the first step.
Thomas Henry Carter (1831–1908), one of my paternal third-great-grandfathers, owned Pampatike, a plantation in King William County, Virginia. Pampatike is located along the Pamunkey River, northeast of Richmond. The library at the VMHC has his account book, as well as many other Carter family papers. According to the account book, Thomas H. Carter, his half-brother, William Page Carter (1836–1913), and their father, Thomas Nelson Carter (1800–1883), decided to invest in land in Louisiana in the late 1850s. Of course, large tracts of land in the South means there will most likely be enslaved people used as the labor force. The Carters sent forty enslaved people to Louisiana from two different plantations in Virginia. As you will see below, twenty-three people were sent south from the plantation in King William County. The elder Carter sent seventeen enslaved people from Clarke County in the northern part of Virginia. My best educated guess, without further research, is that these seventeen people came from Annefield, which was a Carter plantation in Clarke County where this branch of the Carters lived during this time period.
The following is a transcription (exact copy) of the first few pages of the account book (excluding a couple torn pages with scribbles and notes dating from the 1880s):
Partial Transcription of Thomas Henry Carter’s Account Book
[the following line is written sideways down the left column of the page with a large bracket around the next two entries]
Loaned by Robt Carter by a draft of W Jackson + Co N O. to both of $3.000
Thomas H Carter paid of this
William P Carter paid of this
To sum up the several amounts
invested up to this date
By Thomas Carter $15.777. 25
“ Thomas H. Carter $6.706 08 +$5.400 [last number written in pencil]
“ William P. Carter 5.615 02
[first part written in pencil] 33.49835 $28.098 . 35
5.400 [written in pencil]
Of this $28.098.35 $1694.19 was
taken from the portions of Thomas
H. Carter + William P. Carter
to pay the expenses of transporting
the negroes + other incidental
expenses in settling them includ-
-ing a deposit of $565.12 with
A. D. Kelly by William P. Carter.
By subtracting this $1694.19 from
the whole amount $28.098.35 the
actual amount invested in
land is – $26.404.16
Of this Thomas Carter
has invested in land – $15.777.25
which is all the money
yet advanced by him.
Thomas H. Carter has
invested in land 6.056.08
William P. Carter has
invested in land 4.570.83
It will be seen from the above account
that William + myself have paid all
the expenses of transporting the negroes
of my father. In them we have no
interest + this sum of $1694.19 is now
due us by him.
Of the $1694.19
Thomas H Carter paid $650.00
William P. Carter “ 479.07
Placed on deposit by
William P. Carter at
A. D. Kelly + Co 565.12
Whole amount by William $104419
Thomas H Carter $650.00
William P. Carter $1044.19
Thos H. Carter $12.106.08 [written in pencil lower on page]
 Thomas Henry Carter (1831-1908), “Account book, 1859-1888,”  p., unpaginated bound volume originally kept at “Pampatike,” King William County, Virginia, Mss5:3 C2468:1; Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC), Richmond, Virginia. Thomas Henry Carter descended from the famous or infamous Robert “King” Carter (1663–1732), one of the largest landowners and enslavers in the early 1700s in the Colony of Virginia. Thomas was educated at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), the University of Virginia (UVA), as well as Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. At the onset of the Civil War in 1861, he joined the Confederacy as a captain of an artillery unit. By the end of the war, he rose to the rank of colonel. Thomas H. Carter spent the postwar years managing his plantation. He also was a railroad commissioner for the state of Virginia and Proctor of UVA.
 Susan E. Roy is Susan Elizabeth Roy (1833–1902). She was born in Mathews County, Virginia at the Roy family plantation named Green Plains. Her parents were Anne Seddon (1808–1834) and William Henry Roy (1800–1859). She married Thomas Henry Carter in 1855.
 Ann S. Roy is Ann Seddon Roy (1831–1908), sister of Susan E. Roy. Ann married John Coles Rutherfoord and they lived in Goochland County, Virginia.
 It seems like all of the enslaved people sent to Louisiana were owned by Thomas Nelson Carter, the father. That makes me wonder what the exact financial arrangement was when his son, Thomas Henry Carter, lived there.
 Pampatike was a Carter plantation in King William County, Virginia. Thomas Henry Carter, his wife, and children lived there for many years. Thomas Nelson Carter also lived there prior, however, I am not sure when. Pampatike is located along the Pamunkey River, northeast of Richmond. Today, it is still a functioning farm although it is not still owned by the Carter family. The farm is on private property. For more information about the history of the land and farm, see: http://www.pampatike.org/
 The elder Carter sent seventeen enslaved people from Clarke County in the northern part of Virginia. My best educated guess is that these people came from Annefield, which was the Carter plantation in Clarke County where this branch of the Carters lived. For more information on this property, see the Virginia Department of Historic Resources webpage on Annefield: https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/021-0002/
 Thomas Nelson Carter (1800–1883) rarely used his middle name in documents. His parents were Mary Nelson (1774–1803) and Robert Carter (abt 1771–1805). Thomas first married Juliet Muse Gaines (1806–1831) and one of their sons being Thomas Henry Carter. After Juliet died, Thomas married Anne Willing Page (1815–1891) in 1835. One of their sons was William Pleasants Page Carter.
 William Pleasants Page Carter (1836–1913), son of Thomas Nelson Carter and half-brother of Thomas Henry Carter. For a time, William was in the same artillery unit as his half-brother. Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/20/8401344 : viewed 17 September 2021), William P Carter (Capt. W. P. Carter’s Co., Light Artillery), Civil War Service Records (CMSR) – Confederate – Virginia. William was captured in May 1864 and would eventually be one of the “Immortal 600” Confederate POWs. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortal_Six_Hundred .
 The land was probably in Madison County, Louisiana, based on newspaper advertisements for land for sale placed by M T Morrison “Land for Sale,” Vicksburg Daily Whig, 04 March 1858, page 2, col. 5; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/228525393 : viewed 17 September 2021).
 Throughout the account book, periods and commas are used interchangeably when showing amounts of money.
 Edwin Wortham & Co. was a “Richmond grocer and commission merchant [company who] acted as an agent for the Carters in the purchase and sale of insurance, farm produce, and livestock.” Kenneth M. Stampp, ed., A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of RECORDS OF ANTE-BELLUM SOUTHERN PLANTATIONS FROM THE REVOLUTION THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR Selections from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, The Shirley Plantation Collection, 1650-1888, Series K, (University Publications of America: Bethesda, Maryland, 1993), 4; LexisNexis (http://www.lexisnexis.com/documents/academic/upa_cis/2462_AnteBellSouthPlanSerK.pdf : viewed 17 September 2021).
 I am not exactly sure what Baker Bros & Co did as an organization, although it apparently changed over the years.
 Probably Robert Carter (1827–1911), son of Thomas Nelson Carter and brother of Thomas Henry Carter. Robert Carter would later become a doctor and move to Philadelphia.
 As of 17 September 2021, no ship manifests have been located to record the journey of the forty enslaved persons sent to Louisiana from Virginia.
 Probably Alexander D Kelly (abt 1806–1870). “Alexander D Kelly obituary,” Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) 18 January 1870, page 6, col. 2; Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/image/226607810 : viewed 17 September 2021). This obituary states Mr. Kelly was from Fauquier County, Virginia, so this might be the possible connection to the Carter family.
 Possibly John Wickham (1825–1902), who married Thomas Henry Carter’s first cousin, Elizabeth Hill Carter, on 29 November 1859 at Shirley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia.
In honor of Juneteenth, here are the names of the human beings enslaved by my Dulany ancestors 160 years ago. Most likely, my 3rd great grandmother, Ida Powell Dulany wrote these names into the family bible around 1860. I hope all these 79 people found their freedom. My goal is to continue with my research on the enslaved people at Oakley. Stay tuned!
 Dulany Family Bible Records, 1855-1985. The Holy Bible. Privately held by the Dulany family, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Virginia, 2019. Ida refers to enslaved people as “servants” in all her writings. It was very common in the South, and somewhat in the North when slavery was prevalent, for people to refer to slaves as servants.
I used to be one of those people who assumed that I didn’t need to take the extra time to write out a research plan. I figured all the information I needed was either in my head or in my family tree. Sometimes I had success while researching, while other times I didn’t. Often, I would go off down the proverbial rabbit hole and be up until 2 o’clock in the morning chasing dead ends.
It wasn’t until I began to attend some intermediate-level courses that the idea of a research question and plan was drilled into me. I encourage everyone who would like to improve their research skills to seek out a class, society meeting, webinar, and/or article on how to develop a research question and write a research plan. You and your ancestors won’t regret it!
This July, I went to the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research (IGHR) in Athens, Georgia. I decided to make a genealogical road trip out of it, since most of my paternal grandmother’s side of the family was from the South, Virginia mostly. I knew I wanted many different types of records and numerous ancestors I wanted to explore further, but what would be my best option to narrow down the countless choices? You guessed it — a carefully crafted research question and plan.
I decided to write down as many questions as I could think of about my paternal grandmother’s family tree. Most of her family has been researched over the centuries in published articles and books, as well as unpublished family papers. So I was able to narrow my focus quite a bit because of that previous research. One question I kept coming back to concerned my third great-grandfather, Henry “Hal” Grafton Dulany. It was because my grandfather introduced me to Hal and his wife, Ida Powell Dulany, through their involvement in the American Civil War, that I became interested in history and genealogy as a child.
There were rumors as far back as I can remember, and I’m sure well before that, that Hal had been in an insane asylum at some point in the latter years of his life, and possibly even died in one. In every source I had, which was not many, Hal’s death was barely mentioned, if at all. I had a date of 10 October 1888, and most published works agreed on that date. However, most of these authored works lacked proper citations, especially for Hal’s death date and especially for his place of death.
I found a few clues online which would eventually lead me to the answer. On FamilySearch, I came across an indexed Virginia death record in the collection, “Virginia Deaths and Burials, 1853-1912.” Unfortunately, the images are available only at a family history center or FamilySearch affiliate library. In retrospect, I should have taken the time to get to one near me, but I couldn’t find the time before my trip. Luckily, it all worked out in the end.
This record looked very promising, but I noticed several problems. My Henry Grafton Dulany did not spell his surname with an “e” before the “y.” However, it is very common to see it misspelled this way. My third great-grandfather, Henry, was born in 1834, not 1855. To complicate matters, my Henry had a nephew, another Henry Grafton Dulany, born in 1854 (Henry’s nephew died in 1890).
Loudoun County was accurate for the birth place for both Henry Dulanys, but the death place was intriguing. While Staunton was over 100 miles away from the Dulanys’ home in Fauquier County, it was also home to one of two state insane asylums in Virginia during this period. Western State Lunatic Asylum, now in operation as Western State Hospital, was quite a large facility by the late 1880s. Was the Henry G. Dulaney who died in Staunton on 10 Oct 1888 the same person as my third great-grandfather?
Another interesting wrinkle to my online research was the couple of death notices I found for my ancestor. The newspapers reported that Henry Grafton Dulany died on Sunday, 14 Oct 1888 at his home in Fauquier County, Virginia. His burial in the family cemetery near Middleburg, Loudoun County (only a few miles away) was also noted. Were these death notices, the indexed record on FamilySearch, or another record not as yet uncovered correct as to my third great-grandfather’s death? Which record is correct?
I needed a detailed research question and plan in order to find more evidence of Hal Dulany’s death. The question I posed above would be the basis for my research question: Was the Henry G. Dulaney who died in Staunton, Virginia on 10 Oct 1888 the same person as the Henry Grafton Dulany who died at home around Oct 1888 in Fauquier County, Virginia?
I spent a considerable amount of time researching the best libraries and archives to visit in the short amount of time I would have. The three best resources I have used to find the collections I needed onsite are: 1) the citation of an online record, 2) the FamilySearch Research Wiki, and 3) a Google search. What I found was then put into my research plan. In order to guarantee that my trip would be as successful as possible, I wanted to be able to tell the librarian or archivist exactly which items I needed. I made sure to note every detail that would help a staff member locate the material, as well as help me craft my citation later.
I also considered my time constraints at a repository when I put my research plan together. I allowed myself extra time to complete my tasks, while I also left myself with plenty to do if I finished early. Without a research plan, it is very easy to spend a day chasing after dead ends. Dead ends happen much less frequently with solid research plans, however.
I realized that the Library of Virginia should have most of the records I was looking for. This repository held the county and city death registers on microfilm for the time period I was researching. As an extra bonus, most of Western State Asylum/Hospital’s archives had been transferred to the manuscript collections of the Library of Virginia. There were extremely helpful and detailed finding aids online, which my searching for my ancestor a lot easier.
After my first two hours at the library, I had examined the death registers for Fauquier (home county)  and Loudoun (border less than a mile from home and buried there) counties, as well as the city of Staunton (indexed record indicated death here). I checked the year I thought he died (1888), as well as the few years before and after.
I came up empty in Fauquier County. However, that was a good piece of negative evidence because if he had died at home, he should have been listed. The only Henry Grafton Dulany I found in the death registers of Loudoun County was Hal’s nephew, who died in 1890. I could distinguish the two because of his age, residence, and parents’ names. Even more negative evidence. Great!
I found the death register entry for Henry G. Dulaney in the Staunton City microfilm. This was the entry which I had seen previously indexed on FamilySearch. It was such a relief to be able to finally see the actual image from the indexed Staunton death record. Not surprisingly, there was more information available than was indexed online. The microfilmed death register listed a cause of death and a specific place of death: W. L. Asylum (short for Western State Lunatic Asylum)! However, this Henry was listed as being only 33 years old just as it stated on the indexed version of this record on FamilySearch. I had more evidence to collect and more questions which needed answers.
My research plan pointed me to the Western State Asylum admission registers next. These registers are on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Each new admission was given his/her own number. The admission registers are organized by date of admission. Since I knew a date of death, I could try to approximate an admission date.
I found a H. G. Dulaney Sr., who was admitted on 15 May 1888 and died on 10 October the same year. The register listed him as being a farmer from Loudon[sic] [County], but it did not list his age. Still feeling good that this was my third great-grandfather, I continued my research. (I should mention that even if I did not think I was on the right track, it would still be a good idea to trace this person through the records to see exactly who he was. Negative evidence is still evidence.)
The next step in the process was to move to the manuscript room. There I could request materials from the closed stacks by filling out call slips. From my research plan, I already had my list of items to request. I requested the case books from 1888 when H. G. Dulaney Sr. was a patient there.
Jackpot!!! Not only did I find daily medical notations, but the first section gave a brief biography and medical summary of the patient. This included his marital status (married), how many children he had (three), his age (54), his residence (Loudoun Co.), and the reasons he was admitted. From everything I read and already knew about my ancestor, the patient named H. G. Dulaney Sr. was my third great-grandfather, Henry Grafton Dulany.
The story I uncovered was quite sad actually. According to the medical staff’s notes, my ancestor was admitted because he “suffered from repeated attacks of “Mania a Potu,” which has gradually inflamed his intellectual faculties. Has delusions and has made threats against members of his family.” I have to wonder if his service in the Confederate cavalry during the Civil War affected his mental state and caused him to become a heavy drinker. He lost an eye fairly early into the war. I can only imagine some of the horrors Henry witnessed, as well as the physical pain he endured from his wound.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), Henry Grafton Dulany died less than five months after being admitted to Western State Asylum. His condition, as well as the so-called “treatments” at the asylum probably led to his early death.
On my way back home, I made a stop at Sharon Cemetery in Middleburg, Virginia. I felt like I needed to visit Henry, and the rest of his family, who are buried there. I’m getting emotional as I’m writing this, so you can imagine how I was when I found his tombstone. I think Henry and I had a nice moment together. It was a fitting conclusion to my research journey.
Without my research question and research plan to guide me, I don’t think I would have found this information, at least on this one trip to Richmond, Virginia. I did my research before I went to the repository, and it paid off. The Library of Virginia is an easy place to get sidetracked, as are many other repositories. Take the time to craft your research question and plan. You may just unearth a decades-old family secret or solve a family mystery!
 Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death registers, 1853-1896; Fauquier County, 1853-1896, reel 10 (Essex – Fluvanna); Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death registers, 1853-1896; Loudoun County, 1854-1896, reel 17 (Lancaster – Louisa); Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death registers, 1853-1896; Staunton City, 1853-1896, reel 38 (Richmond City – Winchester); Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death registers, 1853-1896; Loudoun County, 1854-1896, reel 17 (Lancaster – Louisa); 1890 section, District 1, entry for H. Grafton Dulaney, line 15; Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, Death registers, 1853-1896; Staunton City, 1853-1896, reel 38 (Richmond City – Winchester); 1888 section, entry for Henry G. Dulaney, line 26 (number 61); Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Entry for H. G. Dulaney Sr, admission register number 4040, 15 May 1888; “Admission Registers, 1828-1941 and Admission Register Index, 1828-1930, miscellaneous reel 6301, v. 266; Records of Western State Hospital, 1825-2000, State government records collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Entries for H. G. Dulaney Sr, notes of medical staff at Western State Asylum (Hospital), 15 May – 10 October 1888; Case Book (Number 2, possibly Volume 3), 1882-1889, Male Patients, vol. 278; Series IV, Subseries C, Case Books, 1828-1910; Records of Western State Hospital, 1825-2000, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond.
 Entry for H. G. Dulaney Sr, notes of medical staff at Western State Asylum (Hospital), 15 May 1888; Case Book (Number 2, possibly Volume 3), 1882-1889, Male Patients, vol. 278; Series IV, Subseries C, Case Books, 1828-1910; Records of Western State Hospital, 1825-2000, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond. Mania a potu is a Latin medical phrase commonly used in the nineteenth century to refer to what basically is alcoholic insanity. It is similar to delirium tremens. The symptoms can include “…uncontrollable trembling, seizures, intense paranoia, and vivid hallucinations.” Matthew Warner Osborn, Roy Porter Student Prize Essay Winner: Diseased Imaginations: Constructing Delirium Tremens in Philadelphia, 1813–1832, Social History of Medicine19:2 (August 2006): 192; image copy, Oxford Academic, (https://academic.oup.com/shm/article/19/2/191/2259046 : accessed 13 Nov 2019).
A version of this blog post was originally published in the September 2019 issue of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania’s online newsletter.
Welcome to my blog, “Too Many Ancestors, Too Little Time”! I think we can all relate to this dilemma. Just look at the image of one half of my family tree. My blog idea was somewhat inspired by this post on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter on how many ancestors you really have if you were to calculate it. It’s more than you think. The idea of going through and applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to all my ancestors and collateral relatives still seems like a daunting task. I hope this blog will make the process a bit easier for me. I hope it will help my readers, too.
My goal is to have this blog be a mix of posts about my ancestors, the many family digitization projects I am currently undertaking, my experiences as someone trying to start a new career as a professional genealogist, and helpful articles about genealogical and DNA research. I want to help others while also keeping a written record for myself (and friends and family) of my research and career progress.
I hope you enjoy the blog and learn with me throughout the journey.