This post is part of the Trask 250 series which documents the lives of more than 250 formerly enslaved of the Trask and Ventress families of Louisiana and Mississippi. 

UPDATE: As of February 8, 2021, I’ve identified more than 5,000 descendants of the Trask 250. The post below remains unchanged but the list at the bottom includes 2,000 more people than the one originally published in August 2019. For the latest updates, click here.

After three years, it’s almost unbelievable that I’ve come to this milestone. 

I still sort of can’t believe it happened so fast. I just got to this number only a few years ago with my tried and true Atlas family database and that took me more than 15 years to get there. But three years?!? It’s crazy just typing it!

Today, I’m elated to announce that I have crossed the 3,000 person mark for my Trask 250+ database. That means I have connected 3,000 people to my project through DNA and traditional genealogy. This database, which is in private, non-searchable format on Ancestry, includes the following:

  • nearly 1,100 media items
  • more than 100 death certificates
  • nearly 70 marriage licenses
  • more than 70 obituaries
  • eight lists of the enslaved, which have never been available outside of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  • sourced, detailed genealogical information largely covering Louisiana and Mississippi and other states like Virginia, North Carolina and more.

And I’m not even close to being done!

In celebration of such a milestone, I’m releasing the names of most of the the folks that are currently within the database. While the total official number is 2,940, the list below are 2,709 as I’ve removed the names of those who have DNA tested for privacy reasons. 


Portion of the 1852 slave list from Prospect Plantation, owned by James Lawrence Trask. Source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

“So, how did you do it?”

In my webinar, The Family DNA Project, I talk at length about establishing a proxy group of known family members to DNA test to stand proxy for your ancestors. Using this process, I identified two groups of five who were more closely related to each other than the the folks in other group. One of those groups includes me, a first cousin once removed, two second cousins, and a half third cousin once removed. 

Next, I used the DNA results of all ten people to identify a third group of more than 160 people we had in common or triangulated with. There were some cases where all ten people matched a particular person, but for the most part different combinations in the group of ten matched different people in the larger group. DNA lead the way in terms of identifying people, but the paper trail lined right up with what the DNA was telling me. It’s at the point now where once I triangulate a new match with the proxy group, I can figure out the exact branch they descend from in less than 30 minutes.

Trask 250! I Want To Hear From YOU!

I’ve been reaching out to descendants left and right using the messaging systems at AncestryDNA and 23andMe, but I know that folks who haven’t tested, and are connected, are still interested in the work I’m doing. Early this year, I set up a Facebook Group, To LaGrange and Beyond (Trask 250+), to share my research findings and to locate more descendants. It’s steadily growing as the word gets out and I hope that by publishing this post, more folks will join or reach out.  

Below, you’ll find a downloadable PDF with the list of nearly 3,000 names. It is searchable, so be sure to search multiple options once you get it open. It’s almost 40 pages and includes name, birth date/year and place, marriage date and place, spouse/partner name, death date and place. If you find someone you think is connected to you, please be sure to contact me! I LOVE sharing the sourced information with descendants but request that folks respect my copyright since I’m the one that put all the time into this.  

Of course they’ll be so much more coming from the project, including a trip to good ole Israel’s stomping grounds, so stay tuned!

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