This new database will help many genealogists seeking their slave ancestors. Even better, if you already have information about a slave ancestor who escaped, or attempted to escape, those bonds, you can contribute the information you have in order to help future genealogists, historians, and others.
Freedom on the Move (FOTM) is an online project devoted to fugitives from slavery in North America The site’s owners are enlisting the help of the public to create a database for tens of thousands of advertisements placed by enslavers who wanted to recapture self-liberating Africans and African-Americans.
The ads were placed in newspapers by enslavers trying to locate fugitives and by jailers wanting to return captured fugitives to the enslavers claiming them as “property.” The ads offered monetary rewards and included a wealth of personal details about the fugitives’ appearance, mannerisms, clothing, speech, family members, places of origin and destinations. The insights the ads provide into the experiences of enslaved Africans and African-Americans are especially valuable because so little information about them as individuals has been preserved.
Currently the site has approximately 12,000 newspaper advertisements available for crowdsourcing, with thousands more still to be added.
You can read more in an article by Linda B. Glaserin the Cornell University web site at https://as.cornell.edu/news/freedom-move-launches-database-fugitives-american-slavery. The Freedom on the Move database may be found at: https://freedomonthemove.org/.