So was Caroline Ellison, my 3rd great grandmother, a slave or was she a free person of color? Ancestry.com's North Carolina Marriage Collections, 1741--2004, on line database gave me my first indication of what her status was.
Now when I found this online, I wasn't satisfied with just this. I wanted to see if there was an original document somewhere that had information regarding their union. I wrote to the North Carolina State Archives and made a request of a photo copy of their marriage document.
This is what I received.
The very last entry on page 128, shows my 3rd great grandparents listed as Henry Bryan and Caroline Bryan. The date of the commencement of their cohabitation was July 31, 1864. The date of acknowledgement was May 5, 1866.
Until I had made this request, I hadn't known that former slaves were allowed to register their marriages, to allow for some legitimacy of their unions. Caroline and Henry were both ex-slaves who registered their marriage when they had the opportunity. But why did they come to Morehead City? My theory regarding this I will discuss in my next post.