To the memory of Ulysses S. Ricard, Jr.,
a true Louisiana Creole
In 1984, a professor at Rutgers University stumbled upon a trove of historic
data in a courthouse in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Over the next
15 years, Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, a noted New Orleans writer and historian, painstakingly
uncovered the background of 100,000 slaves who were brought to Louisiana
in the 18th and 19th centuries making
fortunes for their owners.
Poring through documents from all over Louisiana, as well as archives
in France, Spain and Texas, Dr. Hall designed and created a
database into which she recorded and calculated the information she obtained
from these documents about African
slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships,
ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves'
testimony and emancipations. In March 2000, the Louisiana State University
Press published published Dr. Hall's databases on a CD-ROM.
The data has amazed genealogists and historians of slavery with the breadth
of its information. Because the French and Spanish proprietors of Louisiana
kept far more detailed records than their British counterparts at slave
ports on the Atlantic coast, the records show valuable historical data.
For historians who thought such information was lost or could never be
collected and analyzed, the database is a once-unimaginable prize.
Dr. Hall's work in creating the Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy is
far reaching. There are many who have a stake in being able to freely
access this data, from historians, genealogists, anthropologists, geneticists and linguists
, to Americans seeking
keys to their past. Dr. Hall shares with others an interest in seeing
that her research and databases reach the broadest possible audience. Together, Dr.
Hall, the Center for the Public Domain, and ibiblio.org bring you the
Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy 1699 - 1820 Database, a user-friendly, searchable,
online database that is freely accessible to the public.