The state of Illinois has compiled a little-known database that can provide a lot of help to genealogists. A freed slave was required to carry a certificate to prove he or she was free and not a runaway. Those certificates, called “free Negro bonds,” had to be submitted to the county and, today, provide some of the information for an online database.
Archivists working under the auspices of the secretary of state’s office maintain the Servitude and Emancipation Record Database (www.ilsos.gov/GenealogyMWeb/servfrm.html) that contains historical records, many of them documenting freed slaves who settled in Illinois.
You can learn more in an article by Dave Bakke in The State Journal-Register at http://goo.gl/BDFwA.
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