|About Pleasants Family - Halifax County, VA
This site has been set up for the descendants of GEORGE AND MOURNING PLEASANTS and collateral family connections.
On January 21, 1997, I went to the newly built facility for the Library of Virginia in Richmond that houses the archive records for the state. My plan was to do some quick research. Cranking my way through microfilmed records for Halifax County on manually operated readers, I located the death record for my maternal 3x great-grandmother, Mourning; a slave. Mourning’s death is recorded as July 1853 in the Roanoke District of Halifax County, Virginia. Her recorded age at death was 75. The cause of her death was pneumonia. If her recorded age is accurate, she would have been born in 1778 while the Revolutionary War was progressing. The information for the death record was provided by the slaveholder - J. S. PLEASANTS.
John Smith Pleasants had enslaved Mourning and her husband George from the time they were bequeathed to him as an inheritance from his father, Jesse Pleasants, in a will probated the 22nd day of October 1804. John was 7 years younger than Mourning and may have known her all his life. He died three years after she did. George and Mourning had at least four children; sons Joe, Thomas, Edmond and Wyatt. Edmond Pleasants was my great-great grandfather.
I started on the journey of researching my family history in April 1992 when I lived in Atlanta Georgia. The 1920 Federal Census had just been released to the public domain. Census records must remain private by law for 72 years after the census is taken. The 1940 Census was released April 2012 and the 1950 Census will be released in 2022. So I visited a regional office of the Census Bureau located south of Atlanta in East Point. I was curious to see what I would find. My parents would have been born by the time this census was released, so the first goal I set was to see if I could find them. I found both of their family records and so much more, and my passion for genealogy was birthed.
Over the years I have talked with family members, traveled to courthouses, perused records at libraries, archives, historical societies, and cemeteries. Getting beyond the “brick wall" of the 1870 census (the first census where formerly enslaved blacks appear in records with surnames) has been the most exciting part of this research. It has resulted in three identified generations of the Pleasants family that were enslaved.
The slaveholding family line of Jesse Pleasants descended from John Pleasants of Norwich England, the emigrant (b.1644/5- d.1698) and Jane Larcome through their son Joseph, grandson Joseph, and great-grandson Jesse. This family is extensively documented. Following their paper trail leads me to my family records
My ancestors adopted the name of the slaveholder - Pleasants - but there is no known blood connection to that family. My mother was Mattie Christine Pleasants -> the daughter of John Waverly Pleasants -> the granddaughter of William Lee Pleasants -> the great-granddaughter of Edmund Pleasants -> the great-great granddaughter of George and Mourning Pleasants. In her direct family lineage, her father was the first not born enslaved.
If you're wondering why I am recounting the slavery connection of my family, it is twofold. First, it is impossible to trace ancestry with a slave connection without identifying and tracking the lineage and history of the slaveholders. Second, I am grateful for the sacrifices, strength and stamina of my ancestors. I carry their DNA and all that they endured made me possible.
This will continually be a work in progress, so look for changes and updates. Putting this information online accurately is challenging, so please be patient. Also, if you are aware of anything not yet included or needing changes, please supply the missing information or corrections to me. I will be so grateful!
And send photographs so I can add them - ESPECIALLY OLD FAMILY PICTURES!!!
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There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.
In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.
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