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Louisiana Slave Database

Peer-Reviewed Data Article

Page Image

Slave Quarters, Louisiana, 1861-65 "Slave Quarters, Louisiana, 1861-65 ", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed June 25, 2020,

Volume 1 Issue 1

Louisiana Slave Database


Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Rutgers University, Northeastern University

Date Published


How to Cite

Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo. "Louisiana Slave Database." Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation 1, no. 1 (2020).

Article DOI

Article Rights

Copyright: Gwendolyn Midlo Hall

Article License

Dataset Publisher

Harvard Dataverse

Over 104,000 records containing 162 fields each containing descriptions of slaves found in original manuscript documents. African slave names, genders, ages, occupations, illnesses, family relationships, ethnicity, places of origin, prices paid by slave owners, and slaves' testimony and emancipations, and type of documents where they were found and where to retrieve the original document are some of the major fields. The project finally included all the geographic areas now constituting the State of Louisiana through 1820 and also included some documents originating in or involving parts of what are now Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The vast majority of the documents used are housed in Louisiana, but a few were consulted in archives in France and Spain and at the University of Texas in Austin. The project stopped with 1820 when descriptions of the African ethnicities of slaves became sparse in Louisiana at the same time as the volume of documents escalated.

Date Data Collected

1984 - 1999

Languages of the Data




Coverage Spatial

Parishes in Louisiana




Temporal Coverage

1719 - 1820

Document Type(s)

Auction Notice

Bill of Sale or Receipt

Census or Register



Freedom or Emancipation Document


Membership List

Life History

Membership List


Runaway Ad

Sacramental or Religious

Ship Registry or Manifest

Tax Record



The documents we used were housed mainly in courthouses throughout Louisiana and written in French, Spanish, and English with a few examples of Louisiana Creole. I worked with a few graduate students, teaching them how to read these very difficult, hand-written documents and the minimum vocabulary they needed to know in each language. I supervised their work carefully until I was confident in them before allowing them to do research and data entry on their own. We brought laptops with us and used an excellent data entry form from dBASE V, the program we used. I maintained the central database and prepared it for publication.

Source Citations

The dataset draws from a huge number of sources, including: Louisiana Historical Center of Louisiana State Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana), New Orleans Notarial Archives (New Orleans, Louisiana), Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse (New Roads, Louisiana). Full source information is present within individual rows in the dataset.


Patrick Manning


National Endowment for the Humanities

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