Records of slavery can answer the basic journalistic questions: who, what, when, where and why? Our database has documented the “where” of slavery by identifying counties, boroughs and localities in our records, and in some cases we have provided addresses. Some of the addresses refer to buildings that no longer exist, but in other cases the building associated with the enslavement still exists. In fact, in may cases the buildings house museums and historical societies.
We have therefore set up “house” records, that identify present-day houses or buildings for which there are records of slavery in the past. Each house has a tag includes the present-day zip code of the address and a letter, so, for example, the first house in zip 10538 is “house10538a” and the second is “house10538b,”
If you are aware of a house for which there is a record of slavery in the past, you can inform us by completing this survey: NY Residences with a History of Slavery.
Once a house has a “house” tag, we then add this tag to other records of slavery associated with the property.
How to do house searches
- Start on the SEARCH page – a link is on the main menu.
- To see all of the houses and buildings we have identified thus far, select “house” as the record type and click on the “search” button at the bottom of the form. You will see all the houses we have identified and indexed thus far. (With your help the list will grow.)
- To find houses with records of slavery in a locality, select “house” as the record type and enter the name of the county or borough in County-Boro or the name of the locality in the locality field.You will see a list of house records for the place specified.
- To find records of slavery for a particular house, first do the general house search and identify the full tag for the house, like “house10538a.” Then use the “Tag” field and in the lower part of the drop-down menu you can select the specific tag for the house you are interested in. The search results will include the house record as well as any other records associated with the property, such as a census record or slave sale by the owner.
We are just beginning to assemble house records so we have not yet identified all houses or associated records with all houses, and this may take period of years to substantially accomplish.