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Mon Sep 20, 2021, 01:45 PM

Records of 3.5 million enslaved people are digitized, giving Black families ancestry clues

After more than 20 years researching her family’s origin in America, Nicka Sewell-Smith found the name of an uncle who had filed a complaint about having his horse stolen. Another notation said he had shopped for bacon, a broom and tobacco in “Short’s Place” in Louisiana about seven months before the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865.

With her standard supply of popcorn and a beverage at her reach, Sewell-Smith clicked on, and learned that Hugh Short was a lawyer and owner of enslaved Black people. Then she came upon Short’s will, which listed the names of her great-great-great-grandparents near the bottom of the document.

“I could not turn from the page for an hour,” she said. “I had resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to find them. So, I called my cousin who had been searching also for 20 years and I said, ‘Guess what? We didn’t come here on a spaceship from Cameroon and land in North Louisiana.’”

A renowned genealogist, Sewell-Smith gathered much of the information through the Freedmen’s Bureau, a federal agency for formerly enslaved Black people created near the end of the Civil War in 1865. Its goal was to assist the newly freed in their transition out of slavery by negotiating labor contracts, legalizing marriages and locating lost relatives, among other things, documenting it all. It also provided food, housing, education and medical care to more than 4 million people, including poor whites and veterans displaced by war.

This is WONDERFUL! I'm a genealogy buff myself, so anything I don't have to go digging around in dusty archives for.....

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Reply Records of 3.5 million enslaved people are digitized, giving Black families ancestry clues (Original post)
Jilly_in_VA Sep 2021 OP
The Polack MSgt Sep 2021 #1

Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Mon Sep 20, 2021, 05:17 PM

1. K&R (nt)

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