26 December 2012

18th-century French and Spanish records shed new light on United States history

Part of the catalog for the French Superior Council holdings

Artdaily.org posted a neat article about the archives held by the Louisiana Historical Center (New Orleans).

A marathon project is under way in New Orleans to digitize thousands of time-worn 18th-century French and Spanish legal papers that historians say give the first historical accounts of slaves and free blacks in North America. Yellowed page by yellowed page, archivists are scanning the 220,000 manuscript pages from the French Superior Council and Spanish Judiciary between 1714 and 1803 in an effort to digitize, preserve, translate and index Louisiana's colonial past and in the process help re-write American history ... It's at the heart of a wave of research tracing American roots beyond the English colonies and into Spain, France and Africa.

... It wasn't until the early 1900s for serious preservation and translation work to begin. The Works Progress Administration then patched up pages with tape (chemical from the tape is now eating at pages) and wrote English synopses. But past archivists and translators also buried important documents. Entire chunks — most importantly documents dealing with slave trials and women — were conspicuously left out of consideration. In one memorable case, archivists censored a case about a soldier accused of bestiality.


It is always neat to see articles on non-genealogical blogs and sites regarding material that is relevant to the research we do!  I like to think that inside each historian there is a budding genealogist!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Follow NGS via Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to UpfrontNGS@mosaicrpm.com