Virginia Unveils Database With Over 1,500 Slave Names

Virginia Unveils Database With Over 1,500 Slave Names

The Virginia Historical Society makes searching for ancestors easily accessible.

Published September 20, 2011

If you’re looking for some clues to your ancestry, you may find them in Virginia.


The Virginia Historical Society has launched a new database with over 1,500 searchable slave names.


The database, Unknown No Longer, which appears on their site, can find the slave names based on keywords such as name, gender, location, occupation and plantation. In addition to the names, the database includes more than 250 digital images of original source documents.


Since its founding in 1831, the organization has collected more than eight million unpublished manuscripts. The database is the latest step by the society to increase its collections relating to Virginians of African descent.


“Within these documents are numerous accounts that collectively help tell the stories of African-Americans who have lived in the state over the centuries,” the website reads. “It will take years to scour the millions of documents likely to contain the names of the enslaved. Rather than wait, we want to launch Unknown No Longer as a work in progress. In that fashion, we hope it will help promote access to our collections, even as we add to the list of names.”


Virginia slave records date back to the 1700s. The state held more slaves than any other states.


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(Photo: Courtesy Library of Congress Archive)

Written by Danielle Wright


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