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7394: Re: 7382: Genealogical Inquiry: Bebe tries to help! (fwd)

From: Moibibi@aol.com

> Am I correct in stating that Haitians have their origins in Benin?
> Was Benin the only country from which slaves were brought to Haiti?

Slaves arrived to Haiti from the whole continent. 

> Was the fate of all Africans who came into Haiti on those ships way back 
> to become slaves, or did any hold higher or free status?   If so, what
> determined status ... who was 'exempt' from slavery?

Basically, all Africans were brought to Haiti to work as slaves. There might 
have been some exceptions, but I am not aware of many. Though, I believe it 
is important to take into consideration the fact that many of the first 
contingents of slaves, who had been brought to Haiti by the Spaniards, fled 
for freedom as Marroons. Then, many Spaniards left the island for South 
America and the few who stayed retired from the western part of Hispaniola 
and settled the Santo Domingo area.

Before the formal settlerment of the French, there were decennies of relative 
freedom on this part of the land. Buccaneers, runaway slaves from other 
islands, marroons settled as habitants and they were free people. It is a 
very important time in the history of Haiti that is not documented and 
unfortunately, it is an ant work to reconstitute this period.

> It seems such an impossible task:  how in the world can one trace Haitian
> genealogy back to its African roots and beyond?

Quite a task, indeed... Yet Vodoun and family spiritual heritage 
does help. 

Names are also helpful, they are often deformed in a French way but the 
Poular, Powell, Poule, Poulayier, Paul, Poil and others for instance, are 
certainly of Peulh origins. The Manigat, Senechal, Senega surely have Manding 
or Senegalese origins.
Zamor, Baker, Boucard would tend to indicate Arab, Berber or Muslim ancestry, 
Barozi would be from Congo, as well as many Louis whose ancestors would 
probably come from the Barotze people, also called Louyis, etc.

That's all for today!

Bebe Pierre Louis