What documents should the president of the U.S. take hold of in order to establish his list of slave owners, including former slaveowners in the decades leading up to the war, in April of 1865?

One might think that documents like plantation inventories can be very easily made to disappear whereas the documents of the court proceedings of cases that fell under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 cannot be easily made to disappear. Among the plethora of documents, which of them would be the most censorship resistant and / or resistant to disappearance?

  • 1
    1850 and 1860 US Census had slaves listed/enumerated.
    – justCal
    Aug 6 at 0:39
  • @justCal - Were they listed out by owner though? I've looked at old raw census tabulations before, and it seems like they might have been, but its a very foggy memory.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 6 at 1:04
  • 3
    The link mentions they are numbered under the landowners name. For smaller groups I have found them in the census itself listed in the household as well.
    – justCal
    Aug 6 at 1:07
  • @justCal - Thank you. That kinda jibes with my memory of it as well. Which means you could (with a LOT of work) get yourself a list of slaveholders by looking over those detailed records and taking note of everyone who had at least 1 slave listed for their household. If someone has them digitized, it could probably be done with a script (or even a database query).
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 6 at 2:29


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