The Virginia Historical Society has introduced a new online database that will be of interest to many people looking for enslaved ancestors.
Unknown No Longer is just one of the VHS’s projects to increase access to documents about African-Americans. The VHS has over 8 million unpublished manuscripts. The database is a work in progress, as it will take years to transcribe and index all the names of those who were ever enslaved in Virginia. However, since the project began in January 2011, they have already entered over 1500 names of slaves who lived in Virginia or moved with their masters to other states from Virginia.
There are several ways to search for an ancestor: by name; by location; and by type of record such as wills, deeds, bills of sale, account books, and more. Sometimes a search will uncover only a name. But you might also find more details such as occupation, family members, and dates of birth or death.