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Searching for Ancestors Who Were Slaves:
An Index to the Freedom Records of 
Prince George's County Maryland, 1808-1869 
by Louise J. Hienton 
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This index provides name access to slaves and their masters contained in several series of records including:

1) the (Slave Statistics) which is a Register of slaves owned as of November 1, 1864, when the Constitution of 1864 abolished slavery in Maryland. In the hope that the federal government would compensate former slaveholders, the General Assembly in 1867 authorized the compilation of records establishing who had owned slaves and how much the slave property had been worth. The governor appointed a commissioner of slave statistics for each county, who remained in office for two years. Former slaveowners furnished the commissioner with descriptive information on each slave. The commissioners then filed the records with the clerk of the circuit court of his county. (Ch. 189, Acts of 1867; Ch. 385, Acts of 1868)

Entries give date of registration, name of the owner, and, if applicable, name of person acting for the owner. For each slave the records show his or her name, sex, age, physical condition, term of servitude, date of emancipation, and, if applicable,  information on and compensation for military service.


The appointments of the commissioners appear in Secretary of State (Commission Record) 1866-1868 [MSA S1081-13; 2/26/3/37] in the county lists. Robert Bowie of W. was appointed for Prince George's County  on March 23, 1867.

Prince George's County (Slave Statistics) in series C1307, 1867-1869, contains two volumes. Most of the entries are contained in the first volume that is indexed by the names of the owners or agents. The binding is coming apart and the first few pages of the index are loose. Some of the writing is faint, and does not contrast well. The second volume consists of only seventeen documents entered on ledger pages, now laminated and glued into binder covers. Here again the contrast between the background and the writing is not always well defined.

The original documents have survived in only Prince George's County - (Slave Statistics, Original) in series MSA C 1308. A comparison of the originals and the recorded copies reveals that all originals in that series are recorded. However, not all originals are extant. Using the index in the first volume,  24 instances were where the originals do not appear in the folders in series MSA C 1308.

The first volume in series MSA C 1307 contains an index of the names of the persons, owners or agents, providing the list of slaves. There is no index in the second book. The better index is found here in (Freedom Records, PG, Index), 1806-1869 [MSA S1411], which includes entries for the names of slaveowners, agents, and slaves in both volumes in series C1307. It does not encompass the records in MSA C 1308.


This index was compiled by Louise Heinton in 1971.  Originally a card index, it was was scanned, coverted to text, edited, and linked to the original sources by Megan Meyer and Scott Waite working with  Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse.  The text of the series appraisal and analysis is by Patricia Melville, Senior Appraisal Archivist, Maryland State Archives. Completed July 4, 2000.

Return to MSA S 1411


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©Copyright August 07, 2001
Maryland State Archives