“We all have a past, we all have a history; some of us just know more about it than others. And it was my great lament that I didn’t know as much about my past as I did everybody else’s.”
--Peter Gomes, Theologian and Pastor

 “A lot has been stolen from Black Americans. A lot has been hidden from Black Americans. And so there is always a longing to know who you are and where you come from.”
--Kathleen Henderson, College Administrator

“It’s like the adopted kid that visits the birth parents. No matter how good their upbringing was, they still want a little closure to see where they’re from and where they’re going.”
--Chris Rock, Comedian, Actor, and Producer

Last Seen offers genealogists and researchers a new tool for telling family stories of separation and survival during slavery, emancipation, and Civil War. The site offers easy access to thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements taken out by former slaves searching for long lost family members. The ads taken out in black newspapers mention family members, often by name, and also by physical description, last seen locations, and at times by the name of a former slave master. 

You can help bring this new powerful genealogical tool to life by transcribing these ads!

Recently Added Items

Lewis Smith, formerly drummer boy of Co. F., 66th Colored Volunteer Infantry, searching for officers of that company

National Tribune. Aug 29 1901.jp2

Lewis Smith searching for Captain James H. Mathew and Lieutenant Dallas Duval

Frank Robinson/Frank Johnson searching for his brothers and sisters

1902 Richmond Planet Oct 18 1902. Frank Johnson.jp2

Frank Robinson/Frank Johnson, New Haven, CT, searching for his siblings. Children of Walker Robinson and Martha Robinson.

Dennis Johnson searching for William H. Bowman

1902 Richmond Planet Oct 18 1902. Dennis Johnson.jp2

Dennis Johnson, Kingston, NY, searching for William H. Bowman. Last heard from in Richmond, VA.