“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

David Phelps searching for his parents, Moses Phelps and Susan Phelps


His parents were in Beatville, Mississippi [Batesville?], when last heard from.

Lucy Brown searching for her mother, Mrs. Rachel Brown


Lucy Brown is in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother was in Campbell County, Virginia, when last heard from. Ad placed in 1867, during Reconstruction.

Kesia Able searching for her daughter, Frenes Taylor [Frances Taylor]


Able, in Washington, DC, is searching for her daughter, who was in Richmond, Virginia, when last heard from. Ad placed in May 1867, during…