Digital archives provide more than just ease of access and preservation of history. In some instances, they provide opportunities for reconciliation. This interesting news came to us from ABC 13 out of Virginia in their article, “UNC Greensboro to digitize slave deed records from across the state.

The history of slavery in the United States is a difficult subject. For African Americans who want to examine records in order to trace history and lineage, this can be a daunting task. Many are conducting their own genealogical research to understand their ancestry and build their family lineage. Some descendants of slave-holders are also looking into the past to reconcile their families roles.

This is not a simple task and in many cases, the cost of extensive professional research coupled with DNA testing can present additional challenges.

A project piloted by UNC Greensboro can now make some slave records more accessible. The ‘People Not Property” project looks to digitize property deeds and bills of sale in North Carolina which are linked to slavery. It is an addition to the evolution of the Digital Library on American Slavery, the project is leading towards a unique, centralized database of bills of sales indexing the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.