Never Forgotten - Slaves Memoralized in Court Records
Due to its importance to the economy the institution of slavery was often addressed in historic court records and the names of slaves memorialized therein. As estates and business affairs were settled by the courts slave holdings were among the accountings which, in many instances, identified slave families, slave ages, slave professions, slave owners and/or slave quarters. Slaves also had their day in court as plaintiffs in suits for freedom, as defendants in criminal actions or as victims of crime. Slave births, deaths, illnesses and medical care are also found among the court records. It is through such thorough documentation in court records that all the slaves named therein have never been forgotten.
The names of slaves appearing in court records can be found in the searchable slave name database which currently contains more than 35245 slave names, of which 4404 names are unique. Some of the unique names are due to spelling variations such as Absalem, Absalom, Absalum. No attempt has been made to normalize name spellings and names in the database are as found in the court records. When several individuals with the same name appear in a record that name appears only once in the index of 35245 names. For instance the index for a single record might contain a single “George” while the record identifies “old George”, “young George”, “miller George”, “carpenter George”, “little George”, and “big George”.
Slave names have been included in the Historic Court Records database since its inception in 1992 and the slave name list continues to grow as more court records are indexed as part of the Historic Court Records Project of the Fredericksburg Circuit Court. In January 2013 the slave name database was created from the court records database in order to provide improved access to the slave-related court records.
Additional slave information can be found in the Free Negro and Slave Records collection which contains 344 slave names.
Disclaimer: Data provided by Historic Court Records is not official and is provided by the Historic Court Records site for genealogical and historical research purposes only. All data contained herein should be verified by obtaining a copy of the original record.
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Last Modified: January 30, 2013