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Helping African Americans identify their enslaved ancestors

For hundreds of years, slavery stole countless things from African Americans. That includes the paper trails that most Americans take for granted when tracing their family trees.

Most enslaved people were prohibited from reading, writing, attending school, legally marrying or owning anything. As a result, very few written records of their lives exist for genealogy research.

In Durham County, staff at Stagville State Historic Site are sharing information about the records that do exist.

Reporter Victoria Eavis attended a Family Day at the former plantation to see what resources are now available.

At top: Some buildings where enslaved people lived have been preserved at former plantations, including Stagville State Historic Site. Limited paper records were created that document the lives of individuals who lived in such places. Photo by Corey Pilson