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Archdiocese Posts Trove of Slave Records Online

posted by editor

The Archdiocese of New Orleans on Tuesday (Feb. 1) unveiled a new online database containing records of baptisms, marriages and deaths in colonial New Orleans, including those of African slaves.
The first batch of five registers to go online contains baptismal records of slaves and free persons of color, most of them bereft of family names. Until now, the records were largely beyond the reach of most genealogical researchers.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond acknowledged the records will also draw renewed attention to the uncomfortable fact that in colonial New Orleans the church and its religious orders were often slave-holders.
The publication of the records is offered with an apology, he said.
“I apologize in the name of the church because we allowed some of these things to continue,” Aymond said. “This is sinful. Racism is sinful.”
Emilie Leumas, the church’s chief archivist, said the indexed records online now mostly contain only people who, because of their enslavement or low social status as free persons of color, were known only by first names.
Aymond suggested the database affords a measure of public dignity for lives lived in crushing anonymity. Bringing the name of a long lost person into public view “is a way of getting in touch with that person’s spirit,” he said.
– Bruce Nolan / The Times-Picayune

Comments read comments(8)
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posted February 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Maybe it will help some folks find their history.

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posted February 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm

It’s a good thing to do, surely.

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posted February 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

This news story brought tears to my eyes. I was in New Orleans for the first time recently, and the people were still reeling from the devastating effects of Katrina. They are very proud of their city and their heritage, and I hope that knowing their ancestors’ names will add to their deep sense of strength and continuity.

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posted February 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

“Until now, the records were largely beyond the reach of most genealogical researchers.”
One would have to ask the question why would this be so even in this day and age.

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posted February 4, 2011 at 1:37 am

“Until now, the records were largely beyond the reach of most genealogical researchers.”
Before applauding one should ask why so late

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posted February 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

Better late than never, IMO, cknuck. Who knows “why” but it is LA.

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Angela Tircuit

posted February 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

An actual link to this database would be nice.

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Carolyn Yvonne

posted February 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm

What’s the link, database, web address?????

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