A pilot study for a collaborative online African-American Families Database recording and displaying genealogical and geographical data tracking generations of 19th-century descendants of individuals on two antebellum slave lists.
The African-American Families Database project involves a unique partnership between local historians, anthropologists, database designers, and community residents to develop an on-line database for connecting African-American families to their antebellum roots and tracing patterns of community formation in the post-bellum period. Working with historians and researchers we will develop a research methodology for entering information from standard archival records -- such as wills, census tallies, personal property taxes, and birth, marriage, and death certificates. Once entered into Excel spreadsheets we will export the data to a relational database, such as MySQL, and develop algorithms for searching for individual people. In this pilot study, we will test the associations between generations of families by tracking the 19th-century descendants of several dozen enslaved individuals listed on two antebellum "slave lists."