Nearly 900 public claims from Auditor of Public Accounts have been indexed, digitized, and added to Virginia Untold. A public claim is a record remitted to the commonwealth by a locality or individual in order to obtain payment. These public claims concern pre-1865 enslaved persons and free African Americans convicted of capital crimes. Virginia passed increasingly restrictive laws in response to white fears of slave crime and insurrection. Slaveholders were compensated when enslaved people ran away or were imprisoned or executed.
The American Colonization Society transported some free African Americans and condemned enslaved people to Liberia. Public service claims may include affidavits, bonds, correspondence, local court records, death warrants, estate files, powers of attorney, receipts, sheriff certificates, and valuations of enslaved people and free African Americans.