Wed 26 Nov, 2008
Tags: Abolition, Bicentennial, History, Slave trade
Earlier this year, we saw the launch of Voyages, an innovative new web site designed to make available to the public the latest incarnation of the invaluable Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.
On December 5 and 6, Emory University will host an international group of scholars for a conference to celebrate the launch of Voyages, to commemorate the bicentennial of the abolition of the trade, and to present research on the slave trade.
Those of us who have worked on the history of the DeWolf family and the slave trade in Rhode Island for the documentary Traces of the Trade, and the book Inheriting the Trade, found earlier versions of the trans-Atlantic slave trade database, including the original 1999 database as well as the more recently updated database and the beta version of the Voyages web site, to be invaluable as research tools.
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database was originally a collaborative project based out of Harvard University, and debuted on CD-ROM in 1999. Since that time, David Eltis, a key collaborator, has moved the project to Emory. The database has been substantially updated in the last nine years, growing from more than 27,000 voyages to nearly 35,000. Meanwhile, the new web site brings this information to the public with a more accessible interface and supporting resources.
The conference will feature a keynote lecture by David Brion Davis, as well as panels on the slave trade and the web site in education and public history, and presentations by graduate students involved with the database.
Update: One component of the database, the African Names Database, is generated particular attention among genealogists and others with an interest in researching the origins of black Americans with enslaved ancestors. This is a topic with special significance for many of us in the DeWolf family, as we have long been interested in using our family’s records in the slave trading business to help trace the family histories of those whose ancestors may have been transported by our family.