Naming the Enslaved


Did you know that:

  • Slave registers were kept for the former British Colonial Dependencies between 1813-1834
  • The practice began as a result of the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. That law outlawed trafficking in enslaved people between Africa and British colonies but considered those already in place to be “lawfully enslaved.”
  • The registries were begun as a tool to prove compliance with the law.
  • Registers listed the name, the Christian name if baptized (a large proportion were, voluntarily or not), the age, and the nationality (usually African or Creole) of each. There are many cases in which the mother’s name is included in the notes. I suspect that is an effort to prove birth in the colony. The registries are a boon to genealogists.
  • An Office for the Registry of Colonial Slaves was created in London in 1819 to which registries kept by the colonies were kept.
  • The practice ended in 1834 when slavery was fully abolished throughout the empire.
Jamaica2 Did You Know
Royal Gazette, Jamaica 19 May 1781

Why was Caroline poking around in such records? I’m doing backstory and character outlines for the heroine for The Upright Son. Having settled on her roots I went looking for names to use.

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