African Americans in New Orleans:
Family History Sources
Part II

This page from the report of the Police Jail for August 19, 1828 records the slaves admitted to the facility on that date. The new arrivals are listed by name and by master's name. There is also some indication of how or why each individual was incarcerated, I. e., brought in as runaways, brought in by their masters, brought in by the Guard (Police Dept.), or brought in by third parties, possibly for whatever rewards were made available. Note also that some individuals are listed as "s-d Libre" meaning that they claimed to be free, but apparently could not prove their status. View document

This 1844 death certificate for Francois Poree was filed in the Court of Probates succession record for settlement of his estate. It is a copy of the official certificate filed in the death register kept by the Recorder of Births and Deaths for New Orleans (the City Archives has microfilm copies of the death registers for the period 1804-1915. Note that this document provides Poree's occupation, place of birth, age, residence, and the name of his spouse. View document

African American Family, Paradis, La. George Francois Mugnier Collection

Masters desiring to free their slaves prior to 1846 were required to obtain permission from the Police Jury for Orleans Parish. Since the President of the Jury was the judge of the Orleans Parish Court, initial emancipation petitions were directed to that court. The petition displayed here sought permission to free Thomas Barber according to the wish of his late master, former governor William C. C. Claiborne, as stated in his last will and testament. View document

City directories are standard sources of information for anyone researching family history. Their usefulness for African American families, however, is somewhat unclear. Slaves surely were not listed in local directories. This page from the 1855 edition for New Orleans shows that John Barthe and a few other free blacks were indeed listed as indicated by the "fmc" (free man of color) designations after their names. City directories, which the Louisiana Division has for New Orleans from the 1820s to date, can be useful in numerous ways, for example, in providing approximate dates of death for a husband by reference to the initial listing of his wife as a widow. View document

Nursery School Graduation, Calliope (now B. W. Cooper) Housing Project, ca. 1945 Housing Authority of New Orleans Series, Municipal Government Photograph Collection

The Louisiana Division owns microfilm copies of the Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedmen's Savings and Trust Co., 1865-1874. This series includes, for Louisiana and several other states, the following information for each depositor: account number, name, age, complexion, place of birth, place raised, name of former master/mistress, residence, occupation, names of parents (and spouse, children and/or siblings), remarks, and signatures. This record from the New Orleans branch of the bank is a good example of the value of the Registers. View document

The City Archives holds a small group of lists of slaves imported for sale in the city of New Orleans during the year 1831. The records are manuscript declarations made before the Mayor by the master of the ship carrying the slaves or by the person to whom the slaves were consigned. Each list records the number of slaves imported, along with the sex, age, name, and place of origin of each individual slave, along with the name of the ship and its place of origin & date of arrival. Each list is signed by the individual making the declaration and is also signed and dated by the Mayor. Note on the example displayed here that the listed slaves came from Virginia and neighboring states via the port of Norfolk. View document

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