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December 2008







Saturday, December 06, 2008

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Debuts at Emory

Web database catalogs slaves' trans-Atlantic treks

By ERRIN HAINES

ATLANTA (AP) Historians hope a new Web database will help bring millions of blacks closer to their African ancestors who were forced onto slave ships, connecting them to their heritage in a way that has long been possible for white Europeans.

"Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database" launched Friday in conjunction with a conference at Emory University marking the bicentennial of the official end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808. Emory spearheaded the two-year interactive project, which is free to the public.

"It's basically doing for people of African descent what already exists for people of European descent in the Americas," said Emory history professor David Eltis, who helped direct the project.

"Voyages" documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World that took place over three centuries between the 1500s and 1800s and includes searchable information on nearly 35,000 trips and the names of 70,000 human cargo. The voluminous work includes data on more than 95 percent of all voyages that left ports from England the country with the second-largest slave trade and documents two-thirds of all slave trade voyages between 1514 and 1866.

Genealogy and DNA tracing have gained popularity for blacks looking to trace their slave roots, and "Voyages" could help give a fuller picture of slavery for a culture stripped of its heritage, Eltis said.

"It's not a super tool for genealogists because you cannot make that connection from ancestor to voyager, but it does give a context," he said, explaining that because the database lists the slaves' African names which were later Westernized researching an ancestor by name is difficult.

Read the rest of the story . . .


Source: Associated Press


Posted by Staff on 12/06/08 at 11:23 pm EST



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