LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson: Author | Teacher | Certified Genealogical Lecturer ℠ | Certified Genealogist® | Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists

Be on the lookout for press releases later this month about a new resource for researching enslaved African Americans. I am particularly excited about this project because it is under construction by a team of professors and graduate students at my alma mater, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.

The purpose of the “New York Slavery Records Index” project is to “assemble a searchable index of records of slavery in New York identifying enslaved persons and their owners.” The database also includes enslaved persons who “eventually lived outside of New York, such as those who emigrated to Canada after the Revolutionary War.”

Search parameters include the first and last names of enslaved persons as well as slaveholders, place or vessel names, and date ranges. The website indicates that the “project will always be a work in progress because new information is always emerging.”

At present, one can search more than 35,000 records with dates between 1525 and 1863. For example, I am informed that the developers have indexed records of ownership of ships delivering enslaved people to the Port of New York, and have also identified records of the “Underground Railroad” in New York. “All slave records include the owner identification when it exists.”

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