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Resources for Learning About Ancestors Who Were Slaves

Resources for Learning About Ancestors Who Were Slaves  Find more genealogy blogs at who are working on researching their ancestors may or may not have an easy time finding what they are looking for. Those who want to learn about ancestors who were slaves have additional difficulties. Fortunately, there are now some resources that have collections of records that were kept on people who were slaves. Some of these resources are online.

Legacies of British Slave Ownership
Legacies of British Slave Ownership is a database that is run by University College London. The website is a hub for two different projects that trace the impact of slave-ownership on the formation on modern Britain.

The Legacies of British Slave Ownership project is now complete. A second project, called Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership, is running through 2015. The information connected to these two projects focuses on records from, and impacts of, slavery in Britain.

Genealogists can use the website to search the database. Anyone who wants to use it can do that for free. The more information you can put in, the better. There is a handy search guide that you can view if you are having trouble with your search.

UK National Archives
The UK National Archives has a guide that can help you search their records on the topic of slavery or slave owners. Again, it helps if you know the name of the person who was a slave and the name of the slave owner. This website can be searched for free.

There are groups of records that can be viewed online. One is called “Slave registers (1812 – 1834)”. Another one is called “British transatlantic slave trade records”. There is a guide. that has been designed to help genealogists with their search through this group pf records. In addition, there are more records that can be searched if you visit the UK National Archives itself.

The UK National Archives offers a helpful tip for genealogists. It notes that there are no registers of slaves before 1812. They suggest that those who are seeking information from before 1812 may find it in the personal papers of the slave owner.

The Freedmen’s Bureau Project
The Freemen’s Bureau Project is a recently created online collection of records. These records connect to individuals who were once a slave and who were later freed. The records come from the Freedmen’s Bureau records. Some are accessible online right now. Others are being added.

The records can help people to learn about their Civil War-era ancestors. FamilySearch is involved with organizing volunteers to index the records that are not yet online.

Image by Dee Teal on Flickr.

Related Articles at

* Four Million Freedman’s Bureau Records Released

* Slave and African-Americans on Documents

* Locating the Ancestral Lineage of an African-American Slave and Their Owner’s Family

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