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General Question - Interpretting the 1850 Slave Schedule
  • Queenie September 2012
    This is a general question about how the Slave Schedule was compiled in 1850. Does the number and breakdown by sex reflect the actual numbers of enslaved individuals on site or is it an inventory of the slaves possessed by that owner?

    How can this class of document best be used by researchers?
  • paigepaige September 2012
    Hi Queenie,
    Thanks for visiting the UNL message board. Can you be more specific about which Slave Schedule your are referring to? Is it on the UNL site?

  • Queenie October 2012
    Hi Paige - The families I am researching were located in Prince Edward County near Moore's Ordinary. I am referring to the 1850 US Census Slave Schedule. My basic question was at the time of the census, does the number of individuals listed under a slave holder only include the people that would have been at that location on that day or does it refer to actual numbers of slaves held by the owner?

    There's a document on the UNL referring to a man named Nelson that was owned by the a Philip Southall. Briefly, this document discusses the monies owed on Nelson by a Mr. Farrar. This letter is dated in November of 1850 (I believe). I infer that Nelson was on lease to Farrar. Where would Nelson have been enumerated?

    I am looking for a man named Nelson that would have been in this locality.
  • paigepaige November 2012
    Hi Queenie,
    Great question!
    From what I understand, enslaved persons would have been enumerated where they were hired to (i.e., household or plantation of owner) at the time of the census.

    So yes, you infer correctly that Nelson was hired to Farrar. The question now is where is Mr. Farrar located, from the letter Philip Southall of Amelia County is writing Stephen Southall of Farmville to notify Mr. Farrar of hiring and/or purchasing Nelson. So Nelson was most likely noted in the census of Farmville, Prince Edward County.

    Does this help?
    Keep us posted.


  • Queenie March 2013
    Hi Paige,

    By way of an update, I found Nelson listed among the household slaves of the late Rev. Matthew Lyle in or about the year 1829. I found it in a search of the online Chancery Court Records. Nelson's ownership was transferred to Rev. Lyle's daughter Janetta Lyle. She died in 1858. So far, I haven't picked up any credible leads on Nelson's whereabouts.

    Thanks again for your input!

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