About the Project

During Black History Month in 2015 a Facebook group of Genealogy Bloggers began the Slave Name Roll Project with five contributions. The project objective is to record information about named slaves whenever and where ever they may be found so that African-American genealogists and family historians may break through the wall that is the 1870 census. Documents such as wills and other probate records, bills of sale, court cases and newspaper advertisements for run away slaves are often rich sources of information. Schalene Dagutis mantained the project page on her blog, Tangled Roots and Trees.

As we entered 2017, the project has grown to over 500 contributions. Thanks the Slave Name Roll Project being mentioned in an educational video about Documenting the Enslaved which was conducted on 28 February 2017, contributions have grown rapidly.

The Slave Name Roll Project is now a separate blog maintained by a group of volunteers and we are in the process of migrating the previously submitted information to this blog. Until that effort is completed, you may find it here: Slave Name Roll Project on Tangled Roots and Trees. Any contributions made after 1 March 2017 are included on this website.

We hope you will consider making contributions to this project as you find source documents which name slaves in your research. Simply, leave a comment on any post. Please include the following information:
  1. Name of the enslaved (usually only a given name)
  2. Name of the slave owner
  3. Source of the information (will, estate inventory, court case, deed, etc.)
  4. Date and location of the source information
Thank you for your contributions!

If you have a success using this project in finding your enslaved ancestors we hope you will share that success with us by leaving a comment.


  1. The following does not include names of the enslaved, but might be helpful, nonetheless:

    Mathias Harmon’s Bill of Sale
    Smyth County Virginia, Will Book 3, p. 162

    Citation: (EE Citing an individual volume, p. 522-523)
    Src. Lst. Entry: Virginia. Smyth County. “Will Book 3.” County Clerk’s Office, Marion.
    1st ref.: Smyth County, Virginia, Will Book 3:162, sale of slaves of Mathias Harmon: County Clerk’s Office, Marion.
    Subs.: Smyth Co., Va, Will Book 3: 162.


    “[in left column]
    "Matthias Harmon

    [Body of page]
    "The following property was sold by the administrator of Matthias Harmon Decd
    James B Crockett a Negro man $ 1020 00
    Ransom Tilson a Negro Girl 1015 00
    Hezekiah Harmon a Negro man 755 00
    Hobson Clack a Negro woman & child 1251 00
    $ 4041 00

    "Given under our hands April 20th 1858
    Henry Harmon
    J. Wagoner
    "Virginia: At a Court held for Smyth County 17 May 1859
    The sale Bill of the personal estate of "Matthias Harmon De’cd was presented in Court and ordered to be recorded.

    "Teste W C Sexton C”

    1. Zola, I will leave your comment as it is indexed by search engines in case it is useful to researchers. Thank you.

  2. Moses, Charles, Nance, Peter
    1788 Deed of Manumission
    Kent County, Delaware
    Henry Newell

  3. 1792 Deed of Manumission Kent County, Pennsylvania
    Mary Turley
    Jane & her children Robert & Sarah
    Rachel & her children Hessee & Margaret

  4. 23 Aug 1840, Polk County, Texas Wills and Probate Records, 1833-1974
    Probate Minutes, Vol, A-C, 1847-1862.

    William Butler, will, Republic of Texas, North Division of Liberty County; pages 1-2.
    Bequeathed to wife Sarah, “a certain Negro woman named Nancy, which is her [Sarah’s] own property inherited by heirship” (page 1)

    Caleb Young, will, Polk Co, TX
    filed 30 Nov 1847 and recorded 6 Apr 1848; pages 2-3
    Bequeathed to wife Catherine Young “my named Negro slaves (to wit) Sophie, Eliza, Lucy, James, and Thomas together with all their increase”

  5. Sherriff's Sale 1838 Edgefield County South Carolina
    Edgefield Advertiser
    SH Tully F Sullivan also recorded as Tully F Sullivant
    9 people

  6. Joshua Tanner
    Slave holder: Joseph Tanner

    Source: Henrico County, Virginia Court Orders (April 1, 1678 – April 17, 1693)
    URL of source (FHL) https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1473338?availability=Family%20History%20Library.

    Text: Joshua an Indian boy belonging to Joseph Tanner (& comeing in since the late Act makeking Indians Slaves) being brought before the Wor" Court is adjudged five years of age.