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Website Lets Public Track Slave Trade Voyages

This year marks 200 years since the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, one of the largest, and most tragic, migrations of humans in history. To mark the anniversary, Emory University launched "Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database," a project that allows the public to search information about 35,000 trips and 70,000 slaves traded from the 1500s to the 1800s. In the introduction to the project, David Eltis of Emory writes:

It is difficult to believe in the first decade of the twenty-first century that just over two centuries ago, for those Europeans who thought about the issue, the shipping of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic was morally indistinguishable from shipping textiles, wheat, or even sugar.

Many of European ancestry can search records kept at Ellis Island or other entry points, if they want to know more about their ancestry. Now those of African slave descent can fill in details regarding the voyages of previously anonymous ancestors.


Join The Conversation
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
Wow going into this website is really sad. To think of what these people must have gone through...there are even records of children. wow. I'm going to ask my dad about our ancestors...
LibertySugar LibertySugar 8 years
Hey Jill! The US banned the importation of slaves on Jan. 1, 1808. But internal slave trading continued of course, as well as the international trade of slaves other places.
ujanadu ujanadu 8 years
I must say that this database is a testament to the record keeping of the traders. Quite intense to look up points of origin, especially for those that started in the Bight of Biafra. I will be spending some time on this.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
It is sometimes to find a link to the slaves from the original ancestors, based on the sale of families and the rape of many women and the sell of those children. Sometimes slave children didn't even know their parents or grandparents; so it is sometimes difficult for the oral histories to be passed down especially if your momma was on a plantation in TN and you were sold to a plantation in MS.
stephley stephley 8 years
"The voluminous work includes data on more than 95 percent of all voyages that left ports from England — the country with the second-largest slave trade — and documents two-thirds of all slave trade voyages between 1514 and 1866." I'm confused by the ending 200 years ago reference.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
No, I'm kidding.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
This is nice and all but where's my money?
GKitty GKitty 8 years
Smileyface: If you want to look for possible records to make a family tree, Start with The Mormon Church Archives. (clicked my mouse too fast),
GKitty GKitty 8 years
The Mormon Church extensive records of Slave Trade Records in their archives of birth records, census in the US.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
The database is so extensive, it really brings the reality and horror of how many people were transported like objects. Makes me grateful that I wasn't born then. I wish I knew more about my history to trace my AA and Cuban ancestors.
smileyface smileyface 8 years
**I meant Citizen, not Buzz. Sorry!! =)
smileyface smileyface 8 years
Wow, this is pretty interesting. And you make a good point Buzz that people of European ancestry can go to Ellis Island and other places to find out more about their ancestors. As an African-American, I know that my heritage does stem back to Africa and that my ancestors got to America through the slave trade, but I wouldn't even know where to start to try to find out who or when. But I still think that it is great that this project is being done.
akyiba akyiba 8 years
Thanks for this information. I am most definitely passing it on.
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