Slave Record Collections in Ancestry LE  

We are often told how difficult it can be to research slave ancestors, and it is sometimes difficult indeed to find information about slave ancestors prior to 1865, when slavery was abolished in this country. Difficult, yes, but certainly not impossible…

Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) includes numerous record collections that provide information about slaves and slaveholders. These record collections normally list the name of the slave owner, but often also list the name of the slave (although name in this context generally means given name only). Since slaves sometimes adopted the surname of a former owner, however, the slave owner’s name can be useful indeed in the hunt for slave ancestors.

The following list provides the name of an Ancestry LE record collection; number of records in that collection; and if those records provide given name and surname of a slave, or given name only:

·         1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules--3,193,212 (owner’s name only)

·         1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules--3,859,287 (owner’s name only)

·         Adams County, Mississippi, Slave Certificates, 1858-1861--1,591 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Edgefield, South Carolina, Slave Records, 1774-1866--38,672 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Louisiana, Freed Slave Records, 1719-1820--4,064 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Louisiana, Slave Records, 1719-1820--100,666 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Mississippi, Wilkinson County Newspaper Slave Ads, 1823-1849--5,635 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifests, 1807-1860--104,117 owner’s name; (given names only)

·         Pennsylvania, County Slave Records 1780-1834--6,054 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies, 1813-1834--2,980,774 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Slave and Free People Records, 1779-1921--296,791 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Slave Plantation/Town Head Tax List, 1772-1821--30,400 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         U.S., Definitive List of Slaves and Property, 1827-1828--4,931 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         U.S., Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938--2,370 (owner’s name; given names & surnames)

·         U.S. Virgin Islands, Danish West Indies Slave Records, 1672-1917 (in Danish)--7,214 (browse only; in Danish)

·         U.S., Southeast Coastwise Inward and Outward Slave Manifests, 1790-1860--55,974 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Washington, D.C., Slave Emancipation Records, 1851-1863--7,336 (owner’s name; given names only)

·         Washington, D.C., Slave Owner Petitions, 1862-1863--4,250 (owner’s name; given names & surnames)

·         Web: California, Slave Era Insurance Policies Index, 1847-1860—688 (given names only)

·         Web: U.S., Slave Era Insurance Policies Index, 1640-1865—682 (given names only)

To locate these records in Ancestry LE, search as follows:


These record collections offer slave ancestor researchers the chance to search for 3,644,995 slave ancestors by name (even if a given name is all that is provided for that ancestor). Because it is possible to search for slave and a slave owner simultaneously, Ancestry LE is providing a valuable service indeed for persons researching slave ancestors.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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