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Descendant Voices

Who Were the GU272?

In 1838, the Maryland Jesuits sold more than 300 enslaved people to sugar plantations in southern Louisiana, in order to rescue Georgetown University from bankruptcy.  In all, the Jesuits sold 314 men, women and children over a 5-year period stretching from 1838 to 1843.  Today, these enslaved people are known collectively as the “GU272 Ancestors.” Genealogists have identified many of the original people who were sold, along with 8,425 of their descendants, living and dead. 

How Do I Find My GU272 Ancestor?

The GU272 were enslaved people who were sold by Georgetown University and the Maryland Jesuits to southern Louisiana in 1838. Many of their descendants still live in southern Maryland and Louisiana today. Here are a few indicators you may be related:

  • Your family is black or mixed race, with ties to slavery.
  • Your family is Roman Catholic, or used to be Catholic.
  • Your family has historic ties to southern Maryland.
  • Your family has historic ties to southern Louisiana.

Support this Project

You can support this project in several ways. If you are a GU272 descendant, please consider recording an oral history for the archive on this website. GU272 descendants can also contribute relevant documents, such as birth, death, or marriage records, diaries or letters, or photographs. Anyone can help fund the project. Funds support creation of the searchable database, the website, and travel to Louisiana and Maryland to record oral histories and offer family history workshops for descendants.