Tracing African-American Ancestors Through Slave Narratives

Before the Civil War, African-American Slaves aided by the Underground Railroad took on new names, an “alias”. Archer Barlow became Emmet Robbins and Rose Anna Tonnell became Maria Hyde. Children born of the parents with new names had the new names on their birth record. No doubt, those who escaped bondage wanted to put the past behind and not be found by former slave owners. Except for a variety of records being scanned onto the Internet, it’s extremely difficult to trace African-American ancestors and the name change creates more obstacles. But keep reading everything you can find. I found the examples of aliases listed in, “The Underground Railroad A Record Of Facts, Authentic Narratives, Letters…” by William Still, a free ebook I found on Kindle. The book is filled with stories and names. I highly recommend it.  Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry and the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy. Available here:


Secret Genealogy:

Black Pansy:

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

eBooks at Amazon:

SecretGenealogyFrontCover    NoBORDERCover Black Pansy


Published by

Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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