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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Re: Slave Schedule Notations
In Response To: Slave Schedule Notations ()

I found the answer to my question in the 1860 Census instructions to enumerators for completing Schedule No. 2—Slave Inhabitants., which impressed upon enumerators the desire to obtain an accurate count of the number of slave owners and the number of slaves:

“1. Owners of Slaves. —Under heading No. 1 insert, in proper consecutive order, the names of all owners of slaves. When slaves are the property of a corporation, enter the name of the corporation. If held in trust for persons who have attained to their majority, whose names as owners do not elsewhere appear, the names of such persons may be entered, or their number, as ‘John Smith and two others;’ always provided that the ‘others’ do not appear as owners in other places. If held in trust for minors, give the number of such minors. The desire is to obtain a true return of the number of owners.

2. Number of Slaves. —Under heading 2, entitled ‘Number of slaves,’ insert, in regular numerical order, the number of all the slaves, of both sexes, and of every age, belonging to the owner whose name you have recorded. In the case of slaves, numbers are to be substituted for names. The description of every slave, as numbered, is to be recorded, and you are to enumerate such slaves as may be temporarily absent, provided they are usually held to service in your subdivision.

The slaves of each owner are to be numbered separately, beginning with the older at No. 1. The person in whose charge, or on whose plantation the slave is found to be employed may return all slaves in his charge, (although they may be owned by other persons,) provided they are not returned by their proper owner. The name of the bona fide owner should be returned as proprietor, and the name of the person having them in charge as employer.”

Thus, the presence of the word “Employer” underneath the slave owner name means the person listed was not the actual owner but rather had charge of the slave at the time of the census enumeration. And the presence of the word “Guardian” underneath the slave owner name likewise means the person listed was not the actual owner but had some kind of guardianship of the actual owner, such as a parent for a minor child. Recording Schedule No. 2 in that way means that the count of slave owners did not include anyone who was identified as “Employer”; the count of slave owners included the number of minor owners in cases when someone was identified as “Guardian”; and the count of slaves was recorded accurately without duplication.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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