Digitizing ads from former slaves in search of loved ones
Now, Villanova University History Professor Judith Giesberg, PhD is gathering all of these 19th century ads in one place and digitizing them—giving genealogists and researchers a new tool for telling family stories of separation and survival during slavery, emancipation and the Civil War. The project is called “Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery.”
Genealogists attempting to trace ancestors into the 19th century often hit a roadblock with slavery. “Last Seen” offers access to thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements taken out by former slaves.
“These ads are a hidden treasure that have been overlooked for a hundred years. They have the potential to open up new doors to those whose family trees end with slavery,” said Dr. Giesberg, who is also director of Villanova’s Graduate Program in History.