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Documenting Unnamed Enslaved Ancestors

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
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Surnames/tags: Black_History Enslaved_Ancestry
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WikiTree US Black Heritage Project Home Page

US Black Heritage Project's goal is to create a family profile for every enslaved ancestor named in every available document with the intention of honoring their lives and connecting them to their descendants.

WikiTree members do not need to join the US Black Heritage Project to employ the following methods of documenting slavery.


Documenting Unnamed Enslaved Persons

Note: This document is the companion page to Documenting Enslaved People in WikiTree If you have any names for the enslaved, please refer to that document.


The following method starts with a slave owner document listing slaves without names. You may see an age and/or gender. Examples of documents may be wills, bills of sale, runaway slave ads, manumissions, inventories, and census records.

If you're an experienced WikiTreer, jump to the Checklist: US Black Heritage Checklists

Ephraim Daniel left his slaves to his children in his will of 1856 but didn't list them by name. He did live long enough to appear on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules[1] list enslaved people by Age, Sex, and Color. Slaves of Ephraim Daniel - Slavery Documentation_Page


Create/Update Slave Owner Profile

1. If the slave owner profile has not been created, please see Creating Slave Owner Profiles
2. If the slave owner profile already exists, click on the edit tab and copy and paste the text from the first column of the following table into the Biography area. Make sure to leave Sources as the final heading on the page.

Copy, Paste - Modify Display Example Displayed
=== Slaves ===

=== Slaves ===


3. For each Unnamed Enslaved Person, use whatever information you have about each person. For example, Slave Schedules list enslaved people with age, sex, and color. All of these elements can be helpful to future researchers.

Use the asterisk * to create a bullet points
Example partial listing for Slaves of Ephraim Daniel
  • 48 M B
  • 48 F B
  • 47 F B
  • 34 M B
  • 33 F B

4. Adding categories to a profile puts the person in the US Black Heritage Project's Heritage Exchange system. To add categories, click the category button, then begin typing the name of the category.

Please add the following categories:

  • "USBH Heritage Exchange"
  • "County, State, Slave Owners" (if they held slaves in more than one location, add a category for each location)
  • [[Category: USBH Heritage Exchange, Needs Slaves Identified]]

Ephraim Daniel grew up in Edgecombe County, NC where he inherited enslaved people from his father, Joseph Daniel, and then migrated to Sumter County, AL. He has both of these location categories in his profile. The categories above his biography look like this:

[[Category:USBH Heritage Exchange]]
[[Category:Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Slave Owners]]
[[Category:Sumter County, Alabama, Slave Owners]]
[[Category: USBH Heritage Exchange, Needs Slaves Identified]]
  • If you don't see a category by location you need, please ask in the USBH Project Google group, in the project's Discord channel, or on this post.

5. Add the citation for the document you are using below the sources heading.
6. Click save.
7. When adding a list of slaves to a profile, especially one you don’t manage, please add something similar to this in the comment section of the profile. You can copy/paste the same message, changing the name each time.

As a member of the US Black Heritage Project, I have added a list of the slaves owned by <insert name> on this profile with categories using the standards of the US Black Heritage Exchange Program. This helps us connect enslaved ancestors to their descendants. See [ the Heritage Exchange Portal] for more information.

(if you are not a project member, just remove the first few words)

Slave Owner Space Pages

Slave owner profiles often contain multiple sources listing many enslaved people. When you have more than ten people to list, please create a Free Space Page.

A Slave Owner Space Page is a great way to group enslaved people and/or sources in order to provide as much location and relationship information as possible. For more information on how to create a space page see: Creating Slave Owner Space Pages

If you're an experienced WikiTreer, jump to the Checklist: US Black Heritage Checklists - Slave Owner Space Pages

Slavery Documentation Links

Email Your Info

  • If you or a friend would like to send us documentation or other information about an enslaved ancestor, just email: wikitrees-usbh-exchange at - replace the at with @


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