What was your 3xgreatgrandfather's name?
Dear Mr. Armstead,
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We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Population Schedules for the 1870 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1880 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1890 Census; the Population Schedules for the 1900 Census, and the Population Schedules for the 1910 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1920 Census, the Population Schedules for the 1930 Census, and the Population Schedules for the 1940 Census in the Records of the Bureau of the Census (Record Group 29) that may contain information about Anthony Hollis and Susan Hollis in Alabama. The 1940 Census schedules are digitized and available using the Catalog. For more information about the non-digitized schedules, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the data collection for the 1850 and 1860 census, two questionnaires were compiled - one for free inhabitants and one for enslaved people. For more information, please see the Questionnaire & Instructions for the 1850 and 1860 census.
You may wish to search Ancestry or FamilySearch for the U.S. Census. There may be a fee for using Ancestry. Instead, please check for access at your local library as many library systems subscribe to these sites, making them free for their patrons.
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We suggest that you review the National Archives document Federal Records that Help Identify Former Enslaved Persons and Owners. We also suggest searching the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers for possible information, since during the enslavement period, owners often advertised in newspapers about their runaway and fugitive enslaved people in hopes that citizens, or bounty hunters would would find and return their "property" usually for a reward.
Next, we suggest that you review NARA’s African American Heritage website, especially the Archives Resources section, the Subject Portal, and the African American Records: Freedmen's Bureau web pages as well as NARA’s Rediscovering Black History blog and the History Hub response to How do I search for my family’s history?.
Alabama law did not require birth and death certificates until 1908. We suggest that you contact the Alabama Department of Public Health to request a copy of the death certificates of Anthony & Susan Hollis. You also may wish to search the FamilySearch wiki Alabama Vital Records for additional information and/or resources.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!
One would assume that Anthony, his parents, and siblings were enslaved prior to emancipation, so they would not appear by name in census records. In 1870 he is listed with people I assume are his mother, Becca Hollis, 46, and 4 siblings (Lydia 11, Frances 6, Abba 5, and James 3) living in Colbert Co, AL. Colbert Co was formed from Franklin Co, AL in 1867. In 1850 & 1860 in addition to the regular US census there were slave schedules, listing the owners and slaves. Unfortunately slaves were not listed by name, but only by age, gender, and color. With no other information about where a former slave's surname came from, one starts by looking at local owners with the same surname. There were no slave owners in Franklin Co named Hollis, but there were several in Marion County, immediately south of Franklin. Two of these slave owners, John Hollis and Derrel W. Hollis, had slaves with the same (or nearly same) ages and genders of Becca, Anthony, and Lydia. In most cases records on slaves were kept by the owner, not local, state, or federal government. Slaves were named in probate (estate) records, but unfortunately there was a courthouse fire in 1891 in Franklin Co that destroyed all the earlier records. You could look through Freedmen's Bureau field offices records in that area of Alabama, to see if Recca or Anthony are named in a labor contract.