Slave names

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Dec 10 20:14:18 UTC 2007

Pertinently to my real project, following Bill Mullin's lead I
counted "slave names" in the Federal censuses of 1790 and 1830, from  Of course I cannot tell who was a slave -- for
example, some Cesars, Cesares, etc. are French or Italian (I did not
count the occasional Czar) -- and for these two years the database
does not have a column for race.  I looked at only the following 5
name groups, including variant spellings:

YEAR                1790         1830
Caesar                  73             189
Pompey                26               79
Scipio                   11               14
Cuffee                   29               13
      and, ironically and surprisingly to me, considering his
reputation (and Trenchard/Gordon's) among the Colonial elite:
Cato                     54                88

It is perhaps of interest that "Cuffee" declined; I would hypothesize
that either fewer slaves arrived directly from Africa, or such
"alien" names became less popular among owners, or both.

(A few persons are identified as "Negro", "free", or "Freeman" in the
name column, but so few that I think no conclusions should be drawn.)

If anyone wants to suggest a few more "day names", I will add those
to this list.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list