The St. Louis Integrated Database of Enslavement (SLIDE) enables you to search many different historical records about enslavement, enslaved people, and enslavers in greater St. Louis, Missouri that are physically scattered across different archives at once.

By bringing these records together and making them searchable, we can begin to paint a portrait about the lives of enslaved people in St. Louis.

We hope the database will help you find crucial clues about the historical world living around you and inspire you to learn more about the lives of the people categorized in these documents. Use SLIDE to do genealogical research; to learn about the histories behind our street names, town names, monuments, buildings, and parks; to discover information about enslavers, enslaved persons, and free people of color in St. Louis; and to learn about their family and legal relations to one another.

Important Notice:

The 1840s U.S. Census Data is currently under review and offline. Searches will therefore omit any entries from that document.

Enter a keyword, such as a name, date, occupation, or other descriptor.

Please note that the database currently only produces results for exact spellings, and that spelling inconsistencies in records have not fully been corrected. If your search produces no results, this does not necessarily mean there is nothing about that person or subject in the database: try using different spellings or keywords.

The records in the SLIDE database contain violence, racism, and derogatory language which are inherent to the historical records’ structure and purpose. We do not endorse the harmful language and values expressed and implied in these documents, but we do wish to draw attention to their harmfulness rather than erase references to the violent history of enslavement. To counteract the violence of the record, we have attempted to forefront identifying information about the lives of enslaved and formerly enslaved people to the best of our ability when organizing the SLIDE database, knowing that we are limited when working with inherently racist documents whose very purposes are to commodify and constrain Black lives.

SLIDE currently contains curated data from the following sources:

  • 1830 and 1840 U.S. Census households with enslaved people
  • 1845 partial census for the city of St. Louis
  • 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census “Slave Schedules”
  • Court-ordered sales database of enslaved people registered in the St. Louis Probate Court from 1828 to 1864
  • Emancipations registered in the St. Louis Circuit Court from 1817 to 1865
  • Freedom License database, covering Freedom License applications filed in the county of St. Louis between 1835 and 1865

We are expanding the database with more datasets and interpretive information that will add context and contour to the records it currently contains. Learn more.