Our friend The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, in her post, Shining a light, introduces us to this HeinOnline database.
This HeinOnline collection brings together, for the first time, all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. This includes every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute dealing with slavery, and all reported state and federal cases on slavery. Our cases go into the 20th century, because long after slavery was ended, there were still court cases based on issues emanating from slavery. To give one example, as late as 1901 Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had to decide if a man, both of whose parents had been slaves, could be the legitimate heir of his father, because under southern law, slaves could never be legally married.
I suggest you read her post and follow the instructions as given. Doing that, I was able to successfully register for and receive database access.
A neat feature is that for any found article, you can get the full citation (click the Cite box in the upper left near Show table of Contents) in MLA, APA, Chicago or Bluebook formats.
Since I’ve spent the last hour just looking around in this database, I’m just going to post this so that y’all can get yourselves signed up and do the same!
If you discovered some element of slave law that you were unfamiliar with previously, please tell us about it.
If an ancestor of yours is explicitly mentioned, share the context.
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