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ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES


Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records

Compiled by the Illinois State Archives

Entering Search Criteria

Enter text in the name of servant, slave or free black, name of other party and date fields or choose a term from the drop-down menus in the county, sex, race and document fields to restrict the search to only those records which CONTAIN your search terms in these fields. Searches are not case sensitive: you may use any combination of upper and lower case letters. Click the "Search" button after you have typed your search term.

Searches may be conducted on any single field or any single field in combination with the county. Valid search criteria include:

  • By name of county
  • By name of indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By name of other party
  • By sex of the indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By race for the indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By document type
  • By the date of the document
  • By name of county and name of indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By name of county and name of other party
  • By name of county and sex of the indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By name of county and race for the indentured servant, slave or free black
  • By name of county and document type
  • By name of county and the date of the document

In many of these early records, slaves, servants, and even free blacks are identified only by a Christian name or sometimes by no name at all. The name of a master or other party to the transaction may be the only evidence of the identity of such poorly identified individuals. To search the database for a slave, servant, free black or master, witness, or other related party enter in the search field a surname or given name or the surname followed by a comma and the given name. (For example: type PITMAN or JOHN or PITMAN, JOHN.) To find all records in which the slave, servant, or free black is not identified by any name, enter in the search field [NO NAME LISTED.].

More information about how to obtain copies of the Servitude and Emancipation Records.