Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History

Source Information

Virginia Free Negro Registrations , 1793-1861 (Library of Virginia African American Narratives project)

Censuses & Lists • 32 Records • Uploaded October 29, 2021 • Data Website: www.virginiamemory.com

Acts passed by the Virginia Legislature in 1793 and 1803 required every “free negro” or “mulatto” to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the county clerk. This collection contains records involved in the registration process. The registration language and process varied across localities, thus the information and type of records may differ. Registration records found in this collection include numbered certificates that recorded the free Black person’s name, sometimes age, a brief physical description, and the circumstances of the person’s freedom or emancipation. If an individual was born free, the record may reference their parents. If emancipated, the record may include former enslaver, place, and date of emancipation. There are affidavits that were given by individuals affirming a free person’s status, as well as written descriptions of free persons. In addition, there are registrations in the form of loose papers matching information found in the bound volumes of “Free Negro Registrations” kept in the court house.

This source (and description) was extracted from data provided under Creative Commons from the Library of Virginia’s VIRGINIA UNTOLD: THE AFRICAN AMERICAN NARRATIVE project. The Library’s African American Narrative project aims to provide greater accessibility to pre-1865 African American history and genealogy found in the rich primary sources in its holdings.

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Fields Included

The list below shows the data fields included in this source. If a field is marked as Indexed, it is searchable.

  • File Name
  • Type of Certificate Indexed
  • Year
  • Certificate Number
  • First Name Indexed
  • Middle Name Indexed
  • Surname Indexed
  • Suffix Indexed
  • Alias Indexed
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Physical Description Indexed
  • Occupation Indexed
  • Name of Parent Indexed
  • Name of Children Indexed
  • Name of Spouse Indexed
  • Form of Emancipation Indexed
  • Slave Owner's Name Indexed
  • Locality of Origination Indexed
  • Additional Surnames Indexed
  • Recorder's Notes Indexed
  • Processor's Notes Indexed
  • EAD
  • Locality Indexed
  • Source Indexed
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