The title of this post is ironic as I’m not sure there is anything natural about one person “owning” another. However, as I transcribe contraband camp registers, noting next to each freedperson the name of their “former owner,” I am lending regularity to something that would otherwise feel very strange. … Continue Reading The Nature of the Work of Transcribing Slave Names
Hennig Cohen, formerly of the University of Pennsylvania, referred to a “dual naming system among slaves in the eighteenth century” (103). Enslaved persons might have an English name but also have a nickname (“country name”) that might be African or African-influenced. Hennig’s study was based on names found in the … Continue Reading Hennig Cohen on S.C. Slave Names*
I tend to think that a month name might not have indicated the actual month of birth. Rather, the month could stand for something like “first,” winter, cold, Janus, etc. I think there are all sorts of possibilities and what was most important was what the word symbolized.