Virginia Untold provides digital access to records that document some of the lived experiences of enslaved and free Black people in the Library of Virginia’s collections. Please help improve the discoverability of these sources by transcribing one of the project's many record types, deeds of emancipation and manumission.
Deeds of emancipation and manumission record an enslavers’ intent to emancipate enslaved people from bondage. They include the name of the enslaver, the name of the enslaved person to be freed, the date of anticipated freedom, the date the manumission was proved or certified, and, sometimes a reason why the enslaver decided to emancipate the enslaved person. In a deed of manumission, an enslaver directly freed an enslaved person by manumission. In a deed of emancipation, an enslaved person could be freed after the enslaver’s death by those executing a last will and testament. This collection also includes court orders that record the date or age when enslaved individuals were to be emancipated by deed as stipulated in an enslaver's will.