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Researching Enslaved Ancestors

Are you looking for an enslaved ancestor? We know that this can be challenging, due to many factors; however, we have good news about a potentially helpful, free resource!

Recently, we discovered the Slave Voyages website, which includes several databases that may be useful to those engaging in genealogical research that intersects with the slavery, including the Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trades. In addition, there is a separate database with information about “People of the Atlantic Slave Trade” (i.e., the enslaved and the enslavers). All these databases include pages that help with understanding what information is included in each one. You can find these in the drop-down menus. These excellent resources are “the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world.” (About the Project)

When it comes to searching these databases, you have many options. You can search by year, ship, people (e.g., the enslaved/enslavers, captains, crew, etc.), and much more. You can download what you find, and you can view the source of the data to explore further. For those who have specific questions about citing, results, searching, etc., there is a FAQ page (frequently asked questions) that can be extremely helpful. In addition, there is an excellent Glossary that defines and explains various terms that you may encounter while searching.

This is only one of many great databases for researching enslaved ancestors. The African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) provides further information and suggestions for enslaved genealogies. Finally, FamilySearch has a great wiki page that contains even more resources and information.

If you have questions or would like to explore these resources together, feel free to contact us.

Categories: Genealogy

Tags: Genealogy

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