Mapping Social Networks


HYDRAULIC NEIGHBORHOOD: One of the main goals of our project is to use mapping technology to locate the owners of African Americans that appear for the first time in the 1870 census. No list was made for former slaves and their owners in Albemarle County or in most Virginia counties during Reconstruction. However, Virginia county personal property tax lists for 1867, 1868, and 1869 name the person or place where black taxpayers resided in those years. How can we locate those places and land owners?

We begin by using maps from the 1860s and '70s which list some place names and large land owners. County land taxes are a second source that contain information on acreage, location given as bearing (ie., NW) and distance in miles from the courthouse, and the names of nearby land owners or physical features. By combining both sources we can select a point in Google Earth that represents the approximate location of some 1000 tracts of land in Fredericksville Parish (the northern half of Albemarle). The map on the right shows "ring buffers" scaled to the acreage given in land taxes that are placed around these points. Black taxpayers are placed within buffers corresponding to the residence in property tax lists. Click on the points to display information from land and property taxes.