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Daily Invest Pro

  /  World News   /  Records link relatives of enslaved individuals with past

Records link relatives of enslaved individuals with past

(NewsNation) — Nearly 38,000 newspaper stories related to formerly enslaved people have been released by as a way of providing descendants of those whose stories are told in those publications with a historical connection with their family members and loved ones., a web-based company that specializes in family histories, released the records, which involve more than 183,000 formerly enslaved people who lived in the United States between 1788 and 1867.

The release of the published information comes ahead of Juneteenth, the federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

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The company is making the collection of published articles available at no cost as a way of helping millions of Americans discover more about their families. The publication of the materials is part of an effort, the company said, to ensure that culturally significant history is not forgotten.

“Greater access to these records on Ancestry will enhance understanding of how chattel slavery and the forced movement of enslaved people became normalized in the United States,” Karcheik Sims-Alvarado, assistant professor of Africana Studies at Morehouse College, said in a statement released by the company.

Sims-Alvarado said that the free collection helps provide descendants of enslaved individuals with insights into their ancestral histories and their forebears’ acts of resistance and resilience despite the Emancipation Proclamation being largely ignored by enslavers, newspaper publishers and lawmakers.

“By piecing together individual stories, researchers can construct a more detailed picture of the lived experiences of Black Americans, enriching our collective understanding of history,” Sims-Alvarado said.

The collection of published materials uses artificial intelligence as part of the search process. The collection includes details of the formerly enslaved individuals, including names, ages, physical descriptions and locations where they lived during their lives. Much of the information provided in the publications has never been seen before now, the company said, after many of the courthouse and community records were destroyed or lost.

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Ancestry officials said that the release of the newly released publication materials complements the more than 18 million records the company has on formerly enslaved or newly emancipated people.

However, the company warned that much of the details found in the collection also contain sensitive information and details about those who were enslaved, including details of when the former enslaved people were bought and sold. Much of that information, the company said, may be distressing or traumatic for some.

“Family history research can be challenging for Black Americans due to the long history of slavery in the United States and the lack of documentation about those who were enslaved,” Nicka Sewell-Smith, a professional genealogist and senior story producer at Ancestry, said.

“Exploring the articles in the context of their original publication can help us understand more about how slavery shaped everyday life in the United States and can help descendants of previously enslaved people unearth key discoveries about their family history.”