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The Digital Library on American Slavery Review

The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) meets every June at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Students meet to take genealogical courses based on the topic they have chosen to learn that year. The course I took this past week was Researching African American Ancestors coordinated by Frazine Taylor. Frazine is the author of the book, “Researching African-American Genealogy in Alabama". One great point Frazine made in class was, most records that exist in one state usually exists in another state, with some exceptions of course. So, you can take her book, and substitute Alabama with another state. In some cases, these records would apply to other ethnic groups as well, not just African-Americans. This past week was a great informative week and I wanted to share one database I learned about .

The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others. Buried in these documents are the names and other data on roughly 80,000 individual slaves, 8,000 free people of color, and 62,000 whites, both slave owners and non-slave owners.. (quote taken from the website)

The database is searchable by Petition and Subject. There is a wonderful Glossary of Terms that is helpful in understanding some of the legal terms that might be included in the petitions.

The years cover 1775 thru 1867. The database includes information on both whites and blacks. Here are a couple tips I have found early on:

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