The Magazine of Early American Datasets (MEAD)

Document Type

Dataset

File Format

.xlsx

Abstract

This dataset contains information on more than 6,000 Black people and their enslavers compiled from extant registries in twelve Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Allegheny, Bedford, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette, Lancaster, Washington, and Westmoreland. Pennsylvania's 1780 gradual abolition law required enslavers to register with their county clerk any people they wished to continue holding in lifetime slavery. A 1788 law required that they do the same for any children they wished to hold in twenty-eight-year term slavery. Complete registries provide the name, place of residence, and occupation of enslavers; the date they filed their registration; and the name, age or birthday, race, and sex of those they enslaved. Roughly two-thirds of the entries record people whom enslavers held in lifetime slavery, while one-third record children they held in term slavery. This is the first effort to compile all of the extant registries in a single dataset.

Time Period: Start Date of Data Collection

2015

Time Period: End Date of Data Collection

2021

Time Period: Start Date of Data Coverage

1780

Time Period: End Date of Data Coverage

1845

Date of this Version

Summer 7-22-2021

Source(s)

Adams County Term Slave Registry (Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, 1800-1820, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Adams/r47-SlaveRecords-AdamsInterface.htm#AdamsSlave)

Allegheny County Term Slave Registry (Schenkel, Edwin N. “The Negro in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1813.” Unpublished Manuscript. 1913. Detre Library and Archives at the Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA)

Bedford County Slave Registrations (Records of Negro and Mulatto Children and Miscellaneous Slave Records, 1780-1834, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Bedford/r47-SlaveRecords-Bedford3rdGroup.htm#bedford3)

Bucks County Slave Registry (Bucks County Register of Slaves, [ca. 1783-1830], RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Bucks/r47-SlaveRecords-BucksInterface.htm)

Centre County Term Slave Registrations (Birth Returns for Negroes and Mulattoes, 1803-1820, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Centre/r47-SlaveRecords-CentreInterface.htm#CentreSlave)

Chester County Lifetime Slave Registry (“A Census of the Slaves in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1780-1815,” Box 3, Folder 8, Slavery Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (MS 717). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library; “Chester County, Pennsylvania: register of slaves [AmS .72], 1780,” Box 4B, Folder 1, Pennsylvania Abolition Society papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA)

Chester County Term Slave Registry (“A Census of the Slaves in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1780-1815,” Box 3, Folder 8, Slavery Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (MS 717). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library)

Cumberland County Slave Registrations (Slave Returns, Clerk of Courts Records, Cumberland County Archives, Carlisle, PA, https://ccweb.ccpa.net/archives/Inventory?PSID=541; Returns for Negro and Mulatto Slaves, 1780-1781, 1788-1811, 1813-1821, 1824-1826, 1833, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Cumberland/r47-SlaveRecords-CumberlandBOCC.htm#cumberland2)

Cumberland County Lifetime Slave Registry (Slave and Slave Owners Register, Clerk of Courts Records, Cumberland County Archives, Carlisle, PA https://ccweb.ccpa.net/archives/Holdings?PSID=1819)

Cumberland County Term Slave Registry (Slave and Slave Owners Register, Clerk of Courts Records, Cumberland County Archives, Carlisle, PA, https://ccweb.ccpa.net/archives/Holdings?PSID=1819)

Dauphin County Term Slave Registry (Dauphin County Pennsylvania Slave Records, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)

Fayette County Term Slave Registrations (Birth Records for Negroes and Mulattoes, 1788-1826, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Fayette/r47-SlaveRecords-FayetteInterface.htm#fayette)

Lancaster County Lifetime Slave Registry (Slaves in Lancaster County in 1780, MG-240: African American Records Collection, Series 1: Slave Register, Folder 17: Handwritten Copy of Slave Register, LancasterHistory, Lancaster, PA)

Lancaster County Term Slave Registry (Eshleman, J. B., comp. “Record of the Returns Made in Writing…As Clerk…By Possessors of Negro or Mulatto Children Born After March 1, 1780…John Hubley, clerk, June 7, 1788.” Call Number 326 R294p. LancasterHistory, Lancaster, PA)

Lancaster County Term Slave Registrations (Returns of Negro and Mulatto Children born after the year 1780, 1788-1793, RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Lancaster/r47-SlaveRecords-LancasterReturns.htm#LancasterReturns.

Washington County Slave Registry (Negro Register, 1782-1851 (bulk 1782-1820), RG-47, Records of the County Governments, Pennsylvania History and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, PA, www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r47-SlaveRecords/r47-SlaveRecords-Washington/r47-SlaveRecords-WashingtonInterface.htm)

Westmoreland County Lifetime Slave Registry (Appendix A in Albert, George Dallas, ed. History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia, PA: L. H. Everts & Co., 1882)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Comments

For any questions about specific registries, please email me at cory.james.young@gmail.com.

Additional Files

A_Just_and_True_Return_MEAD.txt (736 kB)
Tab-delimited text file

A Just and True Return MEAD.pdf (1881 kB)
Portable document format

Share

Article Location

 
COinS
 

Date Posted: 22 July 2021