I had no knowledge of black ancestry before taking a DNA test - I guess that's sometimes a common thing. But anyway, ever since finding that out, I was curious to see if I could find that hidden ancestor although, I'm just a smidge under 1% African. So when I stumbled across the heritage of my great-great-great grandfather, Domingo Flores, it had me intrigued.
I was always told by my grandpa that his mother's father was of Spanish/Mexican heritage and I never heard anything else about him really. Recently, I was able to piece together that he was a man named Domingo Flores (1843-1908). His mother was Mary Hill Flores and he had an older sister named Carmalita (b. 1832), I've figured out from censuses. I believe Mary was from the Natchitoches Flores family based on her middle name but that's another story. Anyhow, they both went by their mother's maiden name - meaning their parents weren't married. I have a lot of other ancestors - including Domingo's daughter - who were born out of wedlock so it came as no surprise. But what got me wondering was the stamp of "Mulatto" on their race box.
Now most of my ancestors have been listed this way BUT I could never find any black ancestry. Domingo's daughter was listed as a Mulatto once before along with her mother and siblings plus half-siblings. I didn't think anything of it really till I started doing more research.
Domingo and his family were listed in the 1860 census as Mulatto.
In the 1870 census, he is listed living with his wife (possibly not married though since I have no knowledge of him being married prior to 1899) as White with his mother and sister living in the house right beside him, also listed as White.
In the 1880 census, he is listed living with his wife (who has another name so I'm guessing a different woman he is now living with), as Mulatto and also living with him is his mother, Mary Hill, also listed as Mulatto. Living only a few houses away from him is his daughter, my great-great-great grandma, her mother and the other children she had by him. They are also listed as Mulattoes.
Again, I really thought nothing of it because I've had other ancestors listed this same way when in reality, they were only of Hispanic background. BUT this did catch my eye: one of Domingo's children by his wife, Sylvian,'s WWI Draft Regristration Card. And on it, he lists himself as "African" yet one of Domingo's other sons, Gregory, is listed as "White" on his Draft Card.
Apart from my great-great-great grandma and her three sisters as well as Sylvian, I have no knowledge of who the mother could be for his other children. And he had quite a few according to my research.
It's possible that they all had different mothers but I have no way of knowing. He was married to an Olivia/Sylvia Harrison in 1899 in which they were listed among the "White Couples" in the newspaper. But prior to that, according to censuses, a "Basilisque" in 1870 and a "Harriet" in 1880. Obviously they weren't his wives - not all of them at least - but it's always possible that one of them could have been black. I'm not certain, though.
Basically, my question if an ancestor is listed as "black" or "African" on an old document they filled out theirselves, does that for certain mean they were?
Another clue is that Domingo's daughter (sister to my own 3x great-grandma) was married to black man, Victor Beaudoin, and was listed as black herself on a census.
Any help with this conundrum would be such a huge help to me! I've never known who my African ancestor is and I'm starting to believe it was Domingo's unknown father. He may even have been a slave since there's no listing of him anywhere but again, I can't figure it out.