City University of New York has Compiled the State’s First Slavery Records Index

The New York Slavery Index, created by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY) , provides records dating back to the year 1525 all the way through the American Civil War. The database includes records, documents, narratives and other sources that identify individual enslaved people and their owners.

Visitors to the free public database can search 35,000 records related to New York state, including the names of the slave-owning senators and records of people who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad. The goal is to deepen the understanding of slavery in New York by bringing together information that until now has been largely disconnected and difficult to access. This allows for searches that combine records from all indexed sources based on parameters such as the name of an owner, a place name, and date ranges.

The New York Slavery Records Index is available to all at no charge at:


I hope this same effort is extended in other states. That said, Thank You JJCCJ for this groundbreaking effort!


The website is a good start. Most of the records were already available but the site groups them together. What is really needed is a crowd sourced site to expand on this. Like Find A Grave style site (Find A Slave?) that people can contribute to with their own sources, such as wills and diaries. My preference is that no contribution be allowed until an admin verifies the documentation of the submission. I just received a family Bible a few days ago that was from a prominent Albany NY family and in the back was the births from two of the slave women the family owned, along with notations if they died or ran away. But there is no one go-to site to share this type information.


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