MyFamily.com, Inc. Celebrates Black History Month by Providing Free Access To 'Slave Narratives,' the Oral Accounts of 3,500 Former Slaves Detailing The Lives of Tens of Thousands of People
PROVO, Utah, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- For African Americans, piecing together their family history can present unique challenges. A lack of credible documentation can hamper what should be a rich experience. Fortunately, there is a vast collection of data available online. In celebration of Black History Month, MyFamily.com, Inc., the leading online network connecting families, announced that its Ancestry.com Web site (http://www.ancestry.com) is offering free access to the "Slave Narratives."
(The "Slave Narratives" are part of the Ancestry.com U.S. Records Collection subscription normally priced at $79.95 per year.)
The "Slave Narratives" collection contains over 20,000 pages of type-scripted interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a ten-year period, from 1929 to 1939. This database provides a poignant picture of what it was like to live as a slave in the American South. The interviews, written exactly as they were dictated, mention tens of thousands of people. This rare information is an essential source of history, culture, and folklore. Many of the narratives are also very rich in family history data, often identifying ages, places of residence and birth, and names of spouses, children, siblings, and parents.
Excerpt from the narrative of former slave Annie Bridges:
"I's born on March 6,1855; on Wolf Crick, in St. Francois County. My muthuh, Clausa McFarland Bridges, was borned on Wolf Crick too, but mah fauthar, Jerry Bridges, kum from Californie. William McFerland was our boss, and he had a lotta' slaves. Us liv'd in a log cabin, wis two rooms. Yep, there was a floor an' wo had a bed, but hit hadn't no mattress; jue' roped an' cord'd."
"This collection is one of the most complete portrayals of the African American experience with slavery," said Tom Stockham, President and CEO of MyFamily.com. "By making this information easily accessible, MyFamily.com is making it easier for the people who are descended from slaves to uncover the personal stories that make up their family history and heritage."
Along with the life story and details of family relationships of the individuals interviewed, the series contains insights into slave folklore, poetry, songs, recipes and even ghost stories. People interviewed share details about everything from oral traditions to unique medicines employed by those in slavery. Multiple first-hand accounts are given of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Booker T. Washington.
This one-of-a-kind collection is also available for purchase on CD ROM from Ancestry.com. Other resources available from Ancestry.com include the book, "Finding Your African American Ancestors, A Beginner's Guide," by David Thackery. Along with the "Slave Narratives" database and CD ROM, the Ancestry.com site also contains articles and links to additional sources of information on African-American history and genealogy.
About MyFamily.com, Inc.
MyFamily.com, Inc. is among the largest online subscription businesses, with over 900,000 paid subscriptions. A next-generation media company, MyFamily is focused on connecting families with their histories and one another. The company provides both free and paid subscription services through its network of Internet properties, which include: Ancestry.com, the number one source for tracing family history online; RootsWeb.com, the oldest and largest free genealogy community; and MyFamily.com, the foremost provider of private family web sites. The Company also publishes Ancestry magazine, Genealogical Computing magazine, Ancestry Family Tree software, over 50 book titles, and databases on CD-ROM.
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