Translation and explanation of the different field names in the index

In the dataset that can be downloaded from the National Archives website, no column names are included. Below, the column names are given and explained.

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)

This field lists the name of the enslaved. This is always the first name, because people in slavery were not allowed to have a surname. Sometimes people were known by a name other than their formal name. In that case this name was added, in brackets or as an alternative (‘Klaas or Nicholas’). The name sometimes contained additions to distinguish between people with the same name. Often this is a number (‘Anthonie 2’) or a property (‘Groot Kees,’ meaning ‘Big Kees’). Occasionally there is an abbreviation behind the name. Sometimes this is the abbreviation of a plantation to which someone previously belonged. Sometimes it is not clear what this abbreviation means.

When people became free persons they did receive a surname and sometimes different first names as well. The surnames of people who were manumitted before 1 July 1863 are listed in the slave registers (this information is listed under ‘Additional information deregistration’). The surnames of people freed on 1 July 1863 are not listed in the slave registers, those can be searched in the database ‘Suriname: Vrijverklaarde slaven (Emancipatie 1863)’(Freed slaves Surinam (Emancipation 1863)), This index also lists the former owner (either plantation or private owner) and the ‘slave name’, which allows for linking back to the index of Surinamese slave registers.
4 Extra informatie bij naam (Extra information regarding the name) In this field you will find additional information that was written behind the name in the slave registers. This can be an indication of whether the person is part of twins or triplets. It can also be additional information about the owner. If it says ‘privé’ (private) it means that someone was owned by a private person. If it says ‘nomen uxorum’ or ‘nom. ux.’ it means that the person is registered under the name of a man, but is actually owned by his wife.
5 Geslacht (gender) This field indicates whether a person was male or female.
6 Geboortedatum (date of birth) In the slave registers series 1848-1851 and 1851-1863 the year of birth is mentioned here. For children born from 1851 onwards, the date of birth is often mentioned.
7 Leeftijd (age) This column was part of the folio’s in the slave registers series 1830-1838 and 1838-1848, with a similar function as that of year of birth that was used in the later series. It documents the age that people had at the time of registration. In practice, age was only recorded in a part of series 1830-1838. In series 1838-1848 the column remained empty.
8 Moeder (Mother) This is the name of the enslaved person’s mother. The mother’s name is routinely listed in the slave registers from 1848 onwards. The information about names under the previous heading ‘Name’ also applies here, for instance that distinguishing numbers or properties can be added to the name. Sometimes the name states that the mother is deceased, sometimes no name is stated, only the remark ‘overleden’ (deceased). Particularly in the case of older people, often the mother’s name is listed as ‘onbekend’ (unknown).
9 Eigenaar (owner) There are two groups of owners in the slave registers: plantations and private owners. The name of the owner can be found at the top of the folio. In the case of plantations, the name of the plantation is stated, followed by the division or district in which the plantation is located and then the term ‘plantage’ (plantation). Plantation Accaribo in the Para division is therefore written as: ‘Accaribo Divisie Para Plantage’. Sometimes the word ‘plantage’ is replaced by a more specific designation, such as ‘houtgrond’ (a forestry plantation). In the case of private owners, the entry starts with the surname of the main owner, followed by additional information and ends with the first names or initials of the main owner. For example, the folio on which the slaves of Isaac Jacob Bueno de Mesquita and his wife are listed is called: ‘Mesquita privé en nom.ux., Isaac Jacob Bueno de’.
10 Mutatiedatuminschrijving (Date of registration)

There are two types of mutations: ‘inschrijving’ (registration) and ‘uitschrijving’ (deregistration). The slave registers are organised as an ‘accounting ledger’ of enslaved people per owner. Anything that imports an enslaved person into the folio of an owner is considered a registration (birth, purchase, transfer from previous series of slave registers), everything that exports someone off the list is considered a deregistration (death, sale, release). Especially in the case of a sale, deregistration from one owner’s folio also means that the person is registered to another owner. People who are sold multiple times therefore have multiple registrations and deregistrations in the ledgers. The registration date is the date on which an entry is registered in the register. This is not a date of birth: especially on plantations there can sometimes be months between birth and the final registration date. Until around 1850, only the registration date is usually recorded, in the period after that, the date of birth is often also stated. There are cases where people are registered without a date.

With the introduction of a new series of slave registers, persons were transferred from the folio of their owner in the old register to that in the new register. This transfer is not reported separately. Because it is not known on which date someone was transferred to the new series, we have solved this by taking the starting year of a series as the mutation date: 1830, 1838, 1848 or 1851. A particular group of people registered without a mutation date are people who have been registered or deregistered on the basis of a government resolution, a decision of the colonial government. This happened in all cases when special permission of the government was needed, for example when someone was manumitted, or when someone was sold abroad or when children were separated from their mother. In that case, the date of the government resolution is considered to be the change date.

11 Aanvullende informatie inschrijving
(Additional information registration)
This field lists additional information on the mutation that the official has written down. This can be the date of birth or the name of the previous owner. It also contains information about government resolutions. If there is additional information listed here, but the corresponding information cannot be located on the scan of the original document, this means that an announcement was made on a previous page that applies to a subsequent group of people. This field can also contain information about things that have affected the ownership of a slave which has not led to deregistration. Examples are that someone has been bought ‘voor de vrijdom’ (with the obligation to free someone in due time) or an enslaved person has been mortgaged or impounded.
12 Mutatiedatum uitschrijving (Deregistration date) There are two types of mutations: ‘inschrijving’ (registration) and ‘uitschrijving’ (deregistration). The slave registers are organised as an ‘accounting ledger’ of people per owner. Anything that exports someone off the owner’s list is considered a deregistration (death, sale, release). Especially in the case of a sale, deregistration from one owner’s folio also means that the person is registered with another owner. People who are sold multiple times therefore have multiple registrations and deregistrations.
13 Aanvullende informatie uitschrijving
(Additional information deregistration)
This field lists additional information on the mutation that the official has written down. (See: ‘Additional information registration’.)
14 Inventarisnummer (Inventory number) Inventory number in the National Archives of Surinam of the original archival material
15 Folionummer (Folio number) Folio number
16 Anno In series 1830-1838 and 1838-1848 there was an option to register the age of the enslaved person. This would only make sense if the year of registration was given. Registrations that included age only occurred at the start of series 1830-1838.
17 Serieregister (Series) Indicates  which of the four surviving series is used
18 Typeregister (Ownership type) Plantation or private ownership
19 Scan file File name of scan
20 URL scan Web address of scan
21 [Number for internal use National Archives]

Abbreviations and special terms

Note on spelling:

  • The symbol “(...)” indicates that information in the original source was not legible.
  • Names spelled with “ij” or “y” have all been standardised to “ij”.

Abbreviations and special terms (original)

English translation
a.h. Ad hoc
Batavia Leprosy colony (people infected were sent there)
Besmet ‘Infected’. People were labelled ‘infected’ if they had contracted the diseases leprosy or elephantiasis and were sent to the leprosy colony Batavia.
bl. ‘Boedel’ = estate of a diseased person which was not yet divided among the heirs (inheritance, possession)
Comm. Commissariaat’ = Commissioner
c.s./cs. ‘Cum suis’ = and his/theirs
dd. ‘De dato’ = of the date
Decemr. December
di. 'Dito' = the same
d.j. 'Dit jaar’ = this year
etc. Etcetera
Executeren Execution of a decision or sentence (it does not refer to the death penalty).
Febij. February
Fo. Folio
Geb. ‘Geboren’ = born
Gemanum: ‘Gemanumitteerd’ = Manumitted/freed
Genl. 'Generaal’ = general, common
Geobmitteerd being absent or omitted
Geregd./Gergd. ‘Geregistreerd’ = Registered
G.G. ‘Gouverneur-Generaal’ = the Chief Executive Officer of the Dutch West Indies between 1828 and 1845.
Gouv. ‘Governement’ = colonial government
Gouv. Res. ‘Gouvernementsresolutie’ = Government resolution. Decision by the colonial government, necessary if the rules were departed from, e.g. in the event of a manumission or if someone was sold from a plantation.
id. ‘Idem’ = the same
Inl. 'Inlandsche’ = indigenous
Janij. January
jr. Junior
Kol: Ontv. 'Koloniale Ontvanger’ = colonial civil servant for finance
ll. ‘Laatstleden’ = most recent
Manumissie Manumission, freeing someone from slavery.
md./mindj. 'Minderjarige’ = minor
nn. ‘Nomen nescio’ = name unknown
No. Numero
n.o. ‘Naam onbekend’ = name unknown
nom. ux./n.ux ‘Nomen uxoris’ = a man who is acting on behalf of his wife
Novemr. November
Octbr. October
Pé. ‘Privé’  = enslaved person is private property of the owner
pl./plante. ‘Plantage’ = plantation
privé en N.ux. Person is owned jointly by a male owner and his wife.
qq. ‘Qualitate qua’ = in capacity of/on behalf of
R. ‘Registratie’ = registration

Folio slave register Suriname

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