Oct 10, 2022

Enslaved Family History Records Brought to Public Light by Mississippi Project

For many Americans, finding a family’s history is a relatively straightforward process. Multiple research options allow people to find their people from the moment they stepped onto the shores of this country and even before.

The problem with genealogical research for many African Americans is that before 1870, there were very few records because they were not documented as human beings but as property.

However, an ongoing multi-state project enlisting help from three universities and libraries hopes to build a bridge for African American families wanting to trace their roots.

The Lantern Project is an effort to scan and make available to the public legal records documenting enslaved persons. Probate records and various other legal records from the early 1800s have been or are being scanned and will be available to people doing family history research or anyone interested.

This effort is intended to shine a light – thus the name Lantern – into ancestry that has been difficult to trace. The project has scanned Adams County court records from early statehood and some from Washington and Lowndes counties.

Six institutions are participating in the project: Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, Delta State, Historic Natchez Foundation, Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, and Montgomery County (Alabama) Archives.

You can read (much) more at:

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