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Slave and African-Americans on Documents

Slaves-Wilson family-VA The Virginia Historical Society had put a collection together for African-Americans who have lived in the state over the centuries. They have over 8 million items in the collection. One of their recent databases titled Unknown No Longer‘, has unpublished historical records with as much biographical detail as remains of the enslaved Virginians, including family members, birth and marriage dates and occupational skills. It is one that is continually being added to. As of September 2011 there were over 1,500 enslaved persons listed in ‘Unknown No Longer’, but not just from Virginia, rather from many states. More documents are being added.

They have an advanced search box where you can place a given name, a surname, a date range, a state selection and occupation. All the choices can help narrow down your research. For example, you might know an ancestor’s given name, but do not know a surname. You know their occupation, but not which county in Virginia they lived.

Some of the material is several pages and there is an arrow directing you to the additional pages. You can enlarge the pages for clearer viewing. Some, being very old documents, are in very poor condition while others are very clear to read.

Most of the available documents and records are for Virginia, but there some listings for those who lived in other states. If you locate a record then make note of all the additional information the database has on the record including information on the slave owner. You can save to your computer each of the images. Also provided will be on a map the location, farm, plantation or town where the people’s names were listed.

Photo: Kept on the Charles Willson Farmer family plantation near Jetersville in Amelia County, Virginia. Contains birth and death records for male and female slaves born between 1762 and 1864. This page of the records has given names, birth dates ranging from 1792 to 1844. The owner, Charles Farmer was an Amelia County planter and justice of the peace. He also apparently served in the Amelia County defense forces near the end of the Civil War (Amelia Reserves, Company I).

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