In honour of Black History Month in the US, Ancestry recently launched more than 250,000 new historical records documenting early African American family history.
The new collections span more than a century and contain important details about the lives of African Americans who bravely fought in the US Civil War, document the transportation of slaves to and from the prominent slave ports of New Orleans in Louisiana and Savannah in Georgia and include poignant first-person accounts from former slaves.
Ancestry’s historical record collection now contains more than 3.2 million African American slave records. As 88%of the United States’ black population in 1850 was comprised of slaves, when extrapolated to its current population, nearly 35 million Americans alone may find a slave ancestor in Ancestry’s African American collections.
The African American Historical Record Collection on Ancestry.com.au includes thousands of poignant stories that bring this part of American history to life. One story outlines how Solomon Northup was lured from New York to Washington, DC with the promise of a job in a circus. Instead he was kidnapped, put on a boat to New Orleans and sold into slavery. His liberation in 1853 prompted him to write “Twelve Years a Slave, 1841-1853,” which became both a popular seller at the time and an important historical document. The ship record of his transfer to New Orleans, which also lists most of the cast of characters from his book, can be found in Slave Ship Manifests from New Orleans 1807-1860.
The new collections form part of the 60 million records already included in African American Historical Record collection – the largest online collection of African American family history records available. Some of the new and updated collections are:
These collections are available to World Heritage members.