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African American Family History

Fugitive Slave Ads

About Fugitive Slave Ads

Slave owners place ads in newspapers offering rewards for the capture and return of those who defiantly escape enslavement. Ads contain names and descriptions of escapees, including physical and distinctive features, literacy level, specialized skills, and where an escapee might be headed and why.

(Source: The Library of Congress)

Where to Find Fugitive Slave Ads

Southern Plantation Records

Genealogists Amy Johnson Crow, MLIS, interviews African American genealogy expert Ari Wilkins of the Dallas Public Library's about this highly underutilized collection. Ari Wilkins describes what plantation records are, how to find them, and what they're good for in your genealogy. Whether your ancestor was enslaved, a wealthy plantation owner, or a member of the community (with or without slaves), plantation records can benefit your southern genealogy research.