New Jersey Slavery Records aims to document the history of slavery in our communities through digital archival sources and linked open data.

Explore Records

At the core of our database are records of events in the lives of enslaved people, such as births, sales, manumissions, labor, and running for freedom. The EVENTS browsing page is the main gateway into the database, and it allows you to search and filter information by event type, date, location, name, sex, and age of the participant.

You can explore PERSON profile records to identify persons of African descent, enslavers, and other groups of people who interacted with enslaved persons, such as government officials, estate executors, and jailers. Person profiles provide biographical notes and link the individual to relevant events, places, and family members in the database. Person profiles also show connections between enslaved persons and their enslavers and make it possible to identify related people in the household.

Start with PLACES to learn about New Jersey counties, towns, and historical sites that appear in our database.

All events in our database are documented with sources. A source citation is provided at the top of each event record, and most citations include a link to the transcript or to the digital fascimile of the document. Many links will lead you to digitized sources that we have published on our website (some links will lead you to another website where you can view the image in a different digital archive). You can use the SOURCES page to browse all of our digitized sources. Once you open a specific source record, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see a list of linked events that cite this particular document.

To learn about the types of records we have indexed to date, see Database Scope.

Recently added

Sussex (and Warren) County Slavery Records

We have reviewed and indexed Sussex County birth certificates of enslaved chidlren from digitized microfilm records. Since the territory of present-day Warren County was historically part of Sussex until 1824, records related to Warren County communities are also included in this collection.

Check out the guide to Sussex County Slavery Records for details.

Middlesex County Slavery Records

We have scanned and indexed bound volumes of manumission certificates, removal certificates, and birth records from Middlesex County.

Check out the guide to Middlesex County Slavery Records for details.

Interstate Slave Trade and Kidnapping Documents

We have published a collection of removal certificates and newspaper articles that document kidnappings and human trafficking in New Jersey in the early 19th century. These records highlight the machinations of Judge Jacob Van Wickle's slave trading ring in Middlesex County and the practice of kidnapping Black people in New Jersey for sale to the Southerns states.

Check out Understanding Interstate Slave Trade & Kidnapping Documents for details.

Rutgers and Slavery

We have created a special index for Rutgers affiliates and namesakes and a virtual campus tour related to the themes of the Scarlet and Black project.

Check out our Rutgers & Slavery topic guide for details.

About the Project