Though an 1807 law banned the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the United States as of 1 January 1808, slaves could still be bought and sold—and transported—within the country. The same law that banned the foreign slave trade also regulated the internal transportation of slaves, requiring masters of vessels carrying slaves in coastal waters to provide a manifest detailing their slave cargo when leaving (“outward”) or entering (“inward”) a port. Ports of departure or intended arrival stretched from Baltimore, Maryland, to Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.
About this Database:
Those required slave manifests, provided by ships entering or leaving from the port at New Orleans, make up the records in this database. Not all manifests have survived: there are no inward manifests for 1808–1818 and 1858 and no outward manifests for 1813–1817, 1837, and 1859, for example. Others may have been lost as well.
Using the Records
This collection has recently been indexed by volunteers with the Ancestry World Archives Project and can now be searched by ship name, port and date of departure, date of arrival, name, estimated birth year, gender, and color. The records can also contain the following additional information:
- Slave’s age and height
- Date of manifest
- Slave owners’/shippers’ name(s) and residence
- Port of destination
- Captain’s name
- Dates of certification by the collector of customs
The manifests can also be browsed by date of departure or arrival and ship.
For additional information about this collection, please see the Publication Details, compiled by Clair Prechtel-Klusken, of NARA microfilm series M1895, Slave Manifests of Coastwise Vessels Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860, Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2007, or visit http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/heritage/african-american/slave-ship-manifests.html.
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