Websites

Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery

Website.
An archive of thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements taken out by people freed from slavery who are searching for family members who had been sold apart.

Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Slavery and Resistance

Last Seen is an archive of thousands of “Information Wanted” advertisements taken out by people freed from slavery who are searching for family members. Their families were separated by the cruel and criminal institution of slavery which tore generations of families apart for close to three centuries.

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.

The archive, maintained by graduate students at Villanova University, can be a powerful tool in the classroom to tell stories of forced separation and survival during slavery, emancipation, and Civil War.

A few examples: