“You will only be given tick marks to identify how many EPs were in each gender/age category. For these, also create unique records for each tick mark. Let’s say you are drawing information from the 1840 census, and there are two identified as Slaves/Male/10 & Under 24. You will create a Source Child to Enslaved Population named something like “1840 Census.” The two EPs will be added as children to 1840 Census with the given names:
Male #1 c1817-1830
Male #2 c1817-1830”
Wow: this is brilliant. Just as I’d given up hope on the argument for updating database fields on the site where I’ve been volunteering as Slavery sub-Project coordinator, I found the Beyond Kin Project (translating articles written in three languages is rewarding, especially when it provides practical help in finding enslaved persons from the Caribbean, but Last Name fields created for anglo names do not work for those of us tracing enslaved ancestors, nor for Latino families with two last names…). It helps. Really.
It is the breath of fresh air that I needed just when I’d begun to despair of arguments with the descendants of slave holders who did not want their names on the profiles of enslaved persons who had been held in bondage by their ancestors. Explaining that the vast majority of enslaved persons did not have their own last names, oddly, did not help. But apart from language barriers and social barriers, there was another hurdle: the records themselves. How do you find the name of a person listed only by description, or even as no more than just a tick mark on a ledger? Well, now, there may be a way.
The Beyond Kin Project method is a way of using documents naming or enumerating Enslaved Persons to keep the various bits of data in one place while gathering enough information to find and record the names and family groupings of former slaves and their families. This is data mostly in the possession of the descendants of slave holding families and institutions. Thus, the BKP method encourages descendants of slave holders to take the initiative, as one form of in-kind time-donation based reparations, of using the documents in their family archives to make it possible for those of us tracing our enslaved ancestors, once we get back beyond the usual 1870 Brick Wall.
The Beyond Kin project also offers all of us, whether related to slavery or not, a new hope. The hope that the children of slave owners and those of their slaves can work together, and the hope that those not involved in the history of slavery at all can also help, and that we can all heal together.
Yes, we can.