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Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy (1719-1820)

In 1984, a professor at Rutgers University stumbled upon a trove of historic data in a courthouse in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Over the next 15 years, Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, a noted New Orleans writer and historian, painstakingly uncovered the background of 100,000 slaves who were brought to Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries making fortunes for their owners.

Poring through documents from all over Louisiana, as well as archives in France, Spain and Texas, Dr. Hall designed and created a database into which she recorded and calculated the information she obtained from these documents about African slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves' testimony and emancipations. In March 2000, the Louisiana State University Press published published Dr. Hall's databases on a CD-ROM.

The data has amazed genealogists and historians of slavery with the breadth of its information. Because the French and Spanish proprietors of Louisiana kept far more detailed records than their British counterparts at slave ports on the Atlantic coast, the records show valuable historical data. For historians who thought such information was lost or could never be collected and analyzed, the database is a once-unimaginable prize.

Dr. Hall's work in creating the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy is far reaching. There are many who have a stake in being able to freely access this data, from historians, genealogists, anthropologists, geneticists and linguists , to Americans seeking keys to their past. Dr. Hall shares with others an interest in seeing that her research and databases reach the broadest possible audience. Together, Dr. Hall, the Center for the Public Domain, and ibiblio.org bring you the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1699 - 1820 Database, a user-friendly, searchable, online database that is freely accessible to the public.

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