South Africa, Register of Slaves (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Africa

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South Africa, Register of Slaves, 1762-1838
This article describes a collection of records at
South Africa, South Africa
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Flag of South Africa
Location of South Africa, South Africa
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Record Description
Record Type: Register of Slaves
Collection years: 1762-1838
Languages: English
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria

What is in This Collection?

This is a collection of slave registers kept in Cape Province, South Africa for the years 1762 through 1838. It contains registers of people taken in South Africa to be deported and sold into the slave trade. Some of the owners are free persons of color, or have notes accompanying their name which explain their relationship to other owners.

The registers are in bound volumes, usually in chronological order, but are incomplete with some sections missing. Other volumes contain birth, marriage, death and other records pertaining to slaves. Entries are handwritten.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Registers and marriage records are presented in handwritten forms. Birth and death records are handwritten narratives.


  • Date of registry
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age or date of birth
  • Mother's name
  • Country/homeland
  • Occupation
  • Registry of debts
  • Remarks


  • Mother's name
  • Age of mother
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Date of birth
  • Gender of child
  • Name of child
  • Name of owner


  • Gender
  • Name
  • Date of death
  • Name of owner


  • Date of marriage
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Gender
  • Age or date of birth
  • Place of registration
  • Name of proprietor
  • Residence
  • By whom and where marriage was performed
  • Date of baptism
  • Whether marriage performed with consent of owner

Other records may include information on manumissions, transfers, and inheritances.

Collection Content

Sample Images

Click on the image for a larger view.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person you are looking for
  • Approximate date of birth or age

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. Whenever possible, look at an original document. There may be additional information on the document that has not been transcribed.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the place of residence, age, and other information for each person to search for the individuals in other records
  • Use information found to search in other nearby locations

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor
  • Former slaves may have had used multiple names or changed their names until they decided upon one particular name. Search all possible names along with variations or spellings of their known names
  • Study the life and records of the slave owner and his family. Your ancestor’s life was inseparably connected with the slave owner. Your ancestor will be listed in records of the slave owner’s property
  • Search for oral histories

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"South Africa, Register of Slaves, 1762-1838." Database. FamilySearch. : 8 January 2018. National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria.

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