Black History Month


You may have learned that there are basic genealogy principles that apply across the board regardless of your heritage.  Start with yourself and work backwards through time.  Talk to your oldest living relatives before it’s too late.  Use the census as a framework for building your family tree then look for original documentation to corroborate the names, dates, places and relationships you have discovered.  (We could go on for several more steps but I think you get the idea.)

However, when you start digging into some of those roots you quickly discover that certain ethnic groups face unique challenges when it comes to researching their family history.  One such group is African Americans with slave ancestry.

Today, on the eve of Black History Month, we have launched five new record collections.  And now, due to the generosity of the Ancestry World Archives Project community, an additional 124,000 African American ancestors will be a little easier to find. 

Because these records were indexed by our community contributors, anyone can search them for free whether they have an Ancestry.com subscription or not.  And remember, if you are an active contributor (keying 900 records or more every 90 days) you also have free access to the images.

Those five collections are:

Slave Ads and Abstracts from a Natchez, MS newspaper, 1823-1849

Slave Emancipation Records, Washington DC, 1851-1863

Slave Manifest Filed At New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860

Slave Narratives:  A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews With Former Slaves, 1936-1938

Slave Owner Petitions, Washington DC, 1862-1863

Whether you have slave ancestry or not, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look through these collections.  I have been particularly drawn to the Slave Narratives.  They are full of rich detail, and really give a very personal glimpse into the lives, families, hearts and minds of these former slaves.  And, they give a sobering view into this time in our nation’s history.

If you want to learn more about African American ancestry and research please visit our resource page.

Not yet a contributor?  Sign up now and do your part to give back to the genealogy community.

Until next time – Happy Keying!

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This is great material. I am interested in the Northeast slave trade and their ownership of slaves in the west indies..specifically the Vassall/Oliver family from Cambridge MA. They left in 1774 but continued to own planatations through 1834.

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Ancestry World Archives Project News » Black History Month