Slave Manifest indexing

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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 🙂

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February 17, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.