“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

Lettice Lamb and Peggy Williams searching for Peggy's brothers

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Lettice Lamb and her daughter, Peggy, of Norwich, Connecticut, searching for Lettice's sons. They were last heard from in 1821, in or near Portland,…

Henny Butler searching for her daughter, Frances, before the Civil War

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Frances was taken from her mother, in Cumberland, Maryland, to Natchez, Mississippi, and then New Orleans, Louisiana. Her mother, Henny Butler,…

William Volantine/William Robinson searching for his brother, Joshua Volantine/Daniel Cromwell

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William Volantine (now named William Robinson) was once a slave in Baltimore, now living in New Bedford, MA. He is searching for his brother, Joshua,…