10 million names project launched by American Ancestors and Family Search


15 February 2024
A pioneering new project will leverage the skills of a network of professional genealogists to recover the names of an estimated ten million people of African descent who were enslaved in pre- and post-colonial America.

10 Million Names will leverage both individual family history stories and historical documentation to build a free, searchable database of information about enslaved African ancestors that extends over centuries during the Transatlantic Slave Trade period - from the 1500s and 1800s.

The project will leverage a network of professional genealogists, cultural organisations, and community-based family historians. The applied research approach will be different from the standard methods genealogists use. Instead of going from the present (living individuals) to the past (ancestors), project researchers will start in the past and move to the present.

Recovering 10 Million stories and names

FamilySearch is sharing its artificial intelligence and technology capabilities to help identify enslaved persons from its millions of freely searchable historical records, the largest source of records for African Americans of any organization in the world. It will also help 10 Million Names identify, digitise, transcribe, and publish new, previously unavailable collections. 

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American Ancestors will be sharing the story of 10 Million Names and their joint effort with FamilySearch and other entities on the main stage at RootsTech on Friday, March 1, 2024. Watch online for free, or plan to attend in person. Register and learn more at RootsTech.org. Explore the 10 Million Names website here.

Report and graphic courtesy of Family Search.