The Freedmen's Bureau (The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands) was established in the United States in 1865. The Bureau supervised relief and educational activities for Freedmen and Refugees. The records provide modern day Americans with a window into the lives of their ancestors who lived under slavery.
Dr. Maurice Gleeson has initiated research into the Irish input into slavery. Irish names can be found in lists of slave-holders, indentured servants, merchant seamen, sailors and overseers. A search of ancestry.com led to 5 Brennan names (exact spelling only) who were listed as slaveholders in the 1860 Slave Schedules in the United States.
Michael Brennan of Richland, South Carolina
Female age 45, Female age 15, Female age 8
Dominick T. Brennan of Mobile, Alabama
Male age 60, Male age 17, Male age 12, Male age 11, Female age 17, Female age 1
Mary Brennan of Fayette, Kentucky
Female age 44, Female age 25, Male age 12, Male age 7
M.J. Brennan of Orleans, Louisiana
Male age 30
R. Brennan of St. Tammany, Louisiana.
Male age 30, Female age 19
There are however many other records which show possible variant spellings of the name Brennan including;
Professor Henry Louis Gates, in his groundbreaking work, has identified the fact that since African men, women and children were identified as property, they are often mentioned by first name in the wills of the slaveholders. A search of the Will and Probate Records of the slaveholders can sometimes identify an earlier generation of an African family or their journey in some instances to Virginia first and then later to other States. Professor Henry Louis Gates, having undergone DNA testing, has established Irish Heritage both on his maternal and his paternal side.
For information on the Virginia Brannan/Brannon/Branin families please see
For further information please go to the following link for Dr. Maurice Gleeson's highly informative talk on
Ireland and the Slave Trade
I'm a Brennan with clear roots in Clawinch Island, Co. Longford (on the Shannon) Brennan Family Clawinch, Co. Longford and possibly in Kilteevan, Co. Roscommon. As a child my father's people told me that our family came from Kilkenny originally and that Cromwell threw us out. This story has intrigued me all my life and of late I have begun to collect information about Brennans the world over. If you have Brennans in your family, you are cordially invited to join me and maybe we will get to the root of this family story, or maybe not...