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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Slaves freed in Virginia after 1782 - Time Limits?


I think this is a fantastic idea. I have come across various records and would be glad to share them. Although I imagine you've found most of what there is to find of emancipation records in Virginia.

As for the dating of the manumissions, I discovered that 1816 was the year in which the largest number of people were manumitted in Norfolk, not 1805 or 1806 as most would anticipate, and certainly not immediately after the revolution. One explanation for Norfolk's numbers is that a large group of slaves assisted in the War of 1812 efforts in the borough, and in gratitude were freed. To date only one woman's emancipation has been clearly linked to this effort, while the others remain to be authenticated.

I haven't compared Norfolk Borough records against Norfolk County records, so the numbers may be very different. I imagine that the borough's destruction during the revolution may have impacted upon anyone's effort to free their slaves within borough courts. It may well be the case that some slave owners freed their slaves in the counties where they maintained their country estates. I'd have to search those recods to see if this was the case.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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