Slave Manifest indexing


Over the past couple of days, I’ve been indexing slave manifest records with the Ancestry World Archives Project.  These are records that were kept when slaves were transported by ship from place to place.  These are really valuable records for people who have slave ancestry since it usually contains the owner or shipper’s name (if they were perhaps being shipped by a company from one place to another to be sold). That is key info for researching ancestors who are difficult to find.

I wasn’t prepared for how poignant an experience this would be for me.  Seeing these names of men and women – most of whom don’t have last names- written out makes me think of who they were and what their life was like. I just got an image that lists a young woman and then 4 children, boys 8, 6, and 4 and a little girl, 2. I  hope that these were her children being transported with her- but the reality is that they could not be and, since slaves were property, they could have been taken from their parents to be sold elsewhere (surely they wouldn’t sell little kids 2 or 4, right? they couldn’t do much…).

It is also interesting to see how many are listed as “mulatto”. It is sad that people who had a white parent were still considered slaves.

I’m so grateful that this work is being done. I have a nephew who is black will one day likely want to seek out his family tree (he is adopted) and I hope that with the help of putting projects and indexes like this online, that process will be easier.

Check it out- indexing is fun, easy and you can tell me what you think of the tool and process 🙂


February 17, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Kate replied:

    You do remember that you have a niece who is black also, don’t you? Did you leave her out because she is from the Caribbean and probably doesn’t have slave origins? Or is it that you don’t like her as much as Cubby? Or maybe you just like nephews better than nieces? Which would be really hypocritical since you only have girls, thereby only providing nieces to the rest of us.

    I think that’s actually really cool that you’re doing that. Like you said, it’s very important work for someone trying to trace ancestors who came over as slaves. I imagine there would be a lot of dead ends involved in that work and any bit of information would help.

    Good for you. I’m very impressed

  2. makphilips replied:

    What? NoNo is Black?!?!? I had no idea! I remembered, but I figured since her BM is from the Bahamas, her genealogy story is going to be different (although with slave ancestors, no doubt).

    You could do it, too. I’d love to have input 🙂

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