Sunday, August 15, 1999

Family ledger a precious record

Entries mark people, events since at least 1864

The Cincinnati Enquirer

This 19th century ledger begun by William Anderson has handwritten entries of family milestones.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        A 19th century ledger inspired a local black family to look more closely at its past.

        The book, which dates to at least 1864, contains beautifully handwritten lists of the births, deaths and weddings in the Anderson family of Brown County. It also holds records of business sales, and Cincinnati newspaper clippings and cartoons featuring racist depictions of African-Americans.

        The book is in the possession of Eddie Davis, 37, of Hollydale. It belonged to his great-grandfather, William Anderson, born in Georgetown in 1823. It was apparently given to Mr. Davis' grandfather, Charles Anderson, and then passed onto Mr. Davis' mother, Rosa Davis, when Charles Anderson died in 1945.

        Mrs. Davis is 91 and lives with her son.

        “At the 1997 family reunion, everybody looked to see if they're in it or how many of the people they know about,” Mr. Davis said.

        The book has supplied Mr. Davis and his second cousin, Dorothy Cobb Hiles, 72, of Roselawn, with genealogical leads.

        They have matched names in the book with names listed in Brown County vital records and on headstones in Williamsburg.

        The book also helps verify members on various family trees.

        “I can't describe how it feels to find out where you come from,” Mr. Davis said. “So many people don't know.”

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