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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Richmond County, GA, Slave Importation Records

The table at the link, below, includes sample extracts from seventeen pages in the book, Richmond County (Ordinary) Slave Importation Records, 1822-1837. There are hundreds of pages in the book, documenting thousands of slaves. The book has been microfilmed, and is catalogued as Georgia Department of Archives and History, Microfilm Reel 381.


In 1798 and again in 1817, the Georgia General Assembly banned the interstate movement of slaves into Georgia, and provided fines and imprisonment for violators -- but also provided that residents of the state and people migrating into Georgia could bring their own slaves across the border for their own use. To document these legal importations, the 1817 law required:

"That any person or persons hereby authorized to bring, import, or introduce any slave or slaves into this State, shall, before such slave or slaves is or are actually so brought, imported or introduced therein, go before the Clerk of the Superior Court of some county in this State, and make and subscribe an affidavit in writing, which shall be lodged with such Clerk, stating that he or she is about to bring, import and introduce into this State, a slave or slaves, in terms of this Act, particularly describing such slave or slaves by their names, ages and qualifications; that he or she is the true and lawful owner of such slave or slaves; that the said slave or slaves is or are about to be brought, imported or introduced into this State, for the sole purpose of being held to service and labor by him or her."


The Georgia State Archives has microfilmed books from Camden, Columbia, Elbert, Franklin, Jackson, Jones, Morgan, Oglethorpe, Pulaski, Richmond, Warren, and Wilkes Counties that record affidavits of persons importing slaves into Georgia. Years covered vary by county, but range from 1800 to 1845.

While the patchy records existent today doubtless reflect some lax enforcement and the loss or destruction of records, large gaps in the record are due the on-again-off-again legal history of the ban on interstate slave traffic into Georgia ---Imposed in 1798 and 1817, the ban was repealed in 1824, then re-enacted in 1829. Restrictions in the law were modified in 1836. The ban was repealed in 1842, re-enacted exactly one year later in 1843, repealed again in 1849, reimposed in 1851, and finally repealed for the last time in 1855.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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