Historical ads in newspapers can help you find long-lost ancestors that went missing or ran away from enslavement or servitude. Discover real estate & items that your ancestors owned in old newspaper ads.
Ads & Classifieds Search Tips
Use this search to find advertisements for missing persons and items, runaway slaves and indentured servants, real estate and property, and more in the historical newspaper archives. This online collection contains ads and classifieds as published in U.S. newspapers from 1704–2010.
Runaway Slave Ads
Search for runaway slaves by name. Often this was only a first name so be flexible in your searches. Try searching for the slave owner’s surname and the location of the local slave market or owner’s residence if known.
Runaway Indentured Servant Ads
Try searching for runaway indentured servants by using the person’s name and/or the employer’s name.
Real Estate & Property Ads
Try searching for your ancestor’s home or property ad by using the address in the Include Keywords field.
Missing Relatives and Friends
If you are searching for old advertisements run by people who were searching for missing family members or friends, try including the keywords "information wanted," "lost" or "missing" in the Include Keywords field along with the surname of the target person.
Visit the Blog
Need additional help tracing your family tree? Visit our genealogy blog for more search tips that will help you do better family history research with GenealogyBank.