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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Mortality Index
In Response To: Mortality Index ()

Entering 'slave' in the opening (advanced) search engine KEYWORD SPACE of Ancestry (in otherwise 'nameless search') will yield hundreds of thousands of records, all the way back to the 1600s.

Among search results are about 66,800 entries in the Federal Mortality Index 1850-80. Subtracting the small number of individuals, mostly coming from Eastern Europe, with a surname Slave, and the few entries perhaps coming from a location with 'Slave' in the place name, the tens upon tens of thousands that remain are specific slaves listed on the 1850 and 1860 FMI. As I understand it, FMI includes deaths recorded by counties over a 12 month period, going six months into the year just preceding the census, then to June 1 of the Census year (1850=May 40 1849--June 1 1850)

Particular states did not participate, and not all returns have been entered into Ancestry; there's a helpful list that comes up with the database:

To the extent that many thousands of the total 66,924 are not named, the database documents aggregate dimensions of slave mortality and (coerced) mobility.

For mortality, here's a typical entry:

Name: Slave
Gender: Male
Race: Black
Slave: Slave
Place of Birth: Virginia
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1849
Age: 1
Month of Death: Apr
Cause of Death: Typhoid Fever
Place of Death: (City, County, State)
District 49th, Page, Virginia
Census Year: 1850
Residency Country: United States

But, there there are a good number of records like this one:

Surname: SARAH SLAVE ADAMS
Year: 1850
County: JEFFERSON CO.
State: WV
Age: 60
Gender: F
Month of Death: NOV
State of Birth: VA
ID#: MRT197_1351
Occupation: NONE LISTED
Cause of Death: HEART DIS

Returning to the opening search engine, > for example, provides a way to begin to identify events, epidemics, specific owners etc.

There are 2712 results in the search for 'slave' and 'typhoid,' but I'm going to post the remainder of this in a second message.

I'm going to post a second message as a continuation.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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