Saturday, April 4, 2015

Elizabeth Georgie

Lately, I have been writing mostly about the men in my ancestry. That changes today! This month, I plan to focus on the fantastic women I have uncovered.
First, up is my 4th great-grandmother 
Elizabeth Georgie.

Elizabeth was born circa 1810. and she lived in Edgard, Saint John theBaptist Parish, Louisiana.

I discovered her name by accident, on the death certificate of my 3rd great-grandfather Honore Borne, Sr.

Death Certificate of Honoré Borne, Sr. (1830-1921)
Original held by Julia Dumas

After discovering his parents, I learned that Elizabeth had children with a plantation overseer named Adelard Borne. She bore at least three children by him.

Elizabeth's children: 

Honore Borne

Sylvestre Borne 

Sylvain Borne

The colored Borne children all lived in close proximity to one another, worked as laborers on a sugar plantation and married women of color. They were identified as "mulatto" on Census records. Their biracial heritage was obvious.

I can only speculate as to the nature of her relationship with Adelard Borne (1807-1860). My first thought was, "Oh God, I am the child of rape!"
He was a free white man in a position of power. She, a woman of color, likely enslaved. The power dichotomy between these two individuals is evident.

Three theories regarding Elizabeth: 

1. She was a free woman of color, possibly living in the household of someone else. This would explain why I cannot find her.

2. She was his concubine or placée. Plantation owners and overseers often had concubines of color. How consentual these unions were is up for debate. Many women were coerced and threatened with violence if they did not comply. Others may have chosen to enter into such a union with the promise of protection and the hope that their children would be freed. For many women, it was better to be "taken" by one man than by many.

3. Elizabeth was enslaved on the plantation where Adelard was the overseer. According to law, an enslaved woman could not be raped. Still, rape and sexual coercion was the norm for many women who held as property.

Adelard later married and had “legitimate” children after having children with Elizabeth. I am curious what his relationship was like with his colored children. They knew him well enough to document it. 

How DNA has helped: 
Taking the AncestryDNA test has also proved links to the white Bornes. Many of them did not know their family had a connection to slavery. They have, however, been very open and kind about learning about our shared family history.

Future Research:

I have my work cut out for me if I am going to find out more information about Elizabeth. 

Things I need to research:

1. On what plantation was Adelard an overseer? This may help me locate Elizabeth.

2. I was able to find several black George and Georges families after Emancipation in the Census. Is Elizabeth connected to the black George and Georges families in the parish?

3. Can I find any evidence that Elizabeth was indeed free?

Mother Borne's Legacy:

Far too often women in our family history fall into oblivion. I am so proud I have been able to claim Elizabeth Georgie as “Mother Borne”. She is the matriarch of all the colored Bornes in Saint John the Baptist Parish. She has many children. I pray she is proud of how far we have come. We no longer work on sugar plantations. Today, we work as educators, counselors, medical professionals and serve in the military.


  1. HI there, thank you so much for your work. I am researching the Borne family tree for a descendant of Adelard's and Elizabeth's son Honore Borne (1845-1921). I was going crazy trying to understand this puzzle but now it makes sense. Have you found out anything else about Elizabeth?

    1. Hello, you are most welcome. I'm glad my research has been helpful. I have yet to discover any additional information about Elizabeth.

  2. Hi. I am also a Borne and have been researching the Borne family tree over a number of years. I have visited Edgard, Louisiana, in my quest, and was surprised to find that there were Bornes of color, a Borne street, and the local library was named to honor Mr. Roland A Borne, Sr. A few years before that, I noticed Borne Office Machine Repair shop on the West Bank of New Orleans and decided to go in. When Mr. Davis Borne introduced himself to me, I told him that "I came in thinking that we might be cousins, but now I'm not so sure." As it turns out, we are! It wasn't until this weekend, that I came across Elizabeth Georgie on and was able to piece it all together. I came across your blog in trying to answer the same 3 questions you pose about her life and relationship with Adelard Borne. I am not a direct descendent of Adelard, but tie into the family a couple of generations further back. So we are distant cousins with common ancestors. On a side note, we recently visited Whitney Plantation (Habitation Haydel) in Wallace, Louisiana. It was a very eye-opening and moving experience. You may know this, but Adelard Borne is a direct descendant of Ambroise Haydel (his great-grandson). Like "Mother Borne," the slave Anna is "Mother Haydel" to all of the Haydels of color. I too would love to learn more about Elizabeth Georgie. Thanks for your research!

    1. Ben, thank you so much for your comment! I always love connecting with relatives (close and distant). I am pleased my research has been helpful. If you discover anything about the Bornes, please let me know. Yes, I am very familiar with the Whitney Plantation. My paternal ancestors worked on this plantation and I am aware that my mother's ancestors are related to the original owners. What a small world! Keep in touch.