Explanation of the fields in the database

Note on column order: in the version of the database that is offered by the National Archives, the order of the columns as described below, has been changed: columns 2-6 have been moved to the end of the sheet. This means that the second column displays the name of the mother of the enslaved, and so forth.

Note on spelling:

  • (...) indicates that information is not legible.
  • Names with an ij or a y are written as 'ij'.
Column Field name Explanations
1 Primary Key Unique identifier
2 Source_order Code that indicates the original order of the data entry in the archival source
3 Naam (name) In this field you find the name. In the slave register this is always the first name or first names, because people in slavery were not allowed to have a last name. This is the so-called ‘slave name’ that people in slavery had until 1863. The 1863 Registers of Emancipation lists the first and last names people received when slavery was abolished on July 1, 1863. Sometimes people were known by a name other than their formal name. In that case this name was added, in brackets or separated by the Dutch word for ‘or’: ‘of’ (e.g., ‘Klaas of Nicolaas’). Sometimes a number or attribute was added to the name to keep several people with the same name apart. (Note that the names of people manumitted before July 1, 1863 is listed in the ‘Remarks’ column.)
4 Extrainformatiebijnaam This field is not used in this dataset (empty column)
5 Geslacht (gender) This field indicates whether a person was male or female.
6 Geboortedatum (date of birth) In the slave register and in most entries in the emancipation registers, the year of birth is given here. Particularly in the emancipation registers, the date of birth was sometimes given.
7 Leeftijd (age) In parts of the emancipation registers, an indication of age of the former enslaved is given instead of the date of birth.
8 Moeder (Mother) This is the name of the person's mother. This is standardly noted in both the slave register and the emancipation registers. The information listed under the 'Name' field also applies here. Sometimes the name is followed by the fact that the mother is deceased, sometimes there is no name, but only the mention 'deceased'. Especially with older people, mother is often marked 'unknown'.
9 Eigenaar (owner) This is the name of the slave owner in the case of the slave register and the name of the former slave owner in the case of the emancipation registers. The names have basically been copied as they appear in the registers. However, abbreviations such as 'wed.' and 'bl.' have been replaced in the database by 'weduwe' (widow) and 'boedel' (estate) to increase readability. If an owner's name has been crossed out and replaced by his widow or another relative without the people being transferred to a new folio, then both names are given in the column Owner.
10 Mutatiedatuminschrijving (Date of registration) This is the date a person was registered with an owner. People who were already owned by the same owner before the slave registry began in 1839 have been given the registration date of 1839. For births, the date of enrollment is usually the date of birth. For sales or imports of people from outside Curacao usually the date on which that purchase or import was registered. This does not have to be the date of the purchase itself. A special group of people are those who have been registered in or out on the basis of a gouvernement decree, a decision by the colonial government. In that case, the date of the government resolution was considered the mutation date.
11 Aanvullendeinformatieinschrijving
(Additional information registration)
Here is additional information written down by the official. This could be the date of birth or the name of the previous owner. It also contains information about governmental resolutions. If there is additional information in the further access, but on the scan there is nothing after the name, this means that an announcement was made on an earlier page that applies to a whole group of people. If someone was purchased, this also includes the name of the previous owner and the folio number where the person was previously enrolled.
12 Mutatiedatumuitschrijving (Deregistration date) For the mutation date of deregistration the same applies as mentioned under mutation date of registration. A peculiarity with deregistrations is that even with the emancipation on July 1, 1863, it was not mentioned that people were deregistered. We have solved this by entering mutation date '1 July 1863'.
13 Aanvullendeinformatieuitschrijving
(Additional information deregistration)
Here additional information is recorded by the official. If someone was transferred to another owner then this also contains the name of the new owner and the folio number.
14 Opmerking (Remarks) The column Remarks contains relevant information that is not in the slave register or the emancipation registers, but is supplemented from the manumission index or ‘Borderellen’. The surnames of people manumitted before July 1, 1863 is listed here.
15 Verwijzing (Reference) This is a reference to the source on which the information in the Remark column is based.
16 Inventarisnummer
(Inventory number)
The inventory number is the number under which the record is stored in the National Archives of Curacao. The eight books of the slave register have inventory numbers 53 through 60. The emancipation registers have inventory numbers 116 (Register of freed persons in the third district) and 117 (Register of freed persons in the city district).
17 Folionummer
(Folio number)
The folio number on which the entry is recorded. In the case of the slave register, the folio number is at the top left of the page. For the emancipation registers it is at the top center or right side of the page. The slave register is divided into eight books, but the folios are numbered consecutively from 1 to 1070. The two emancipation registers each start from folio 1.
18 Anno This field is not used in this dataset
19 Series register Because the slave register remained in use for the entire period 1839-1863, only two series are listed in this column: 1839-1863 for the slave register and 1863 for the emancipation registers.
20 Type of register Three types of registers are included in this database: the slave register, the emancipation register in the city district, and the emancipation register in the third district.
21 Scan Reference and permanent URL to scan file