90,000 19th century African slave names now online

INTERNET

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
90,000 19th century African slave names now online

The African-Origins (http://www.african-origins.org) website at Emory University, launched last year with the names of 10,000 Africans who were liberated from the slave trade in the 19th century, has added the names of more than 80,000 African captives to the site, making it the largest and most comprehensive record of the identity of individuals caught up in the slave trade to the Americas.

With this latest information now accessible, researchers again are inviting those who might recognize African names "to tell us which modern country, language and culture still uses the name today," says David Eltis, Woodruff Professor of History and leader of the project.

Eltis and researchers will then use the identifications made by visitors to the site to construct a geographic profile of the origins of African captives. With the new information, "for the first time we will be able to see not only where slaves left the African coast, but the probable location within Africa where their forced journey to the Americas began," Eltis says.

For most of the duration of the slave trade, once a person was forced onto a slaving vessel, "her identity and history became effectively lost," says Eltis. But after the slave trade was outlawed in 1807, authorities began intercepting illegal slave transports, and for the first time, maritime courts recorded the African captives' true names, sometimes more than once. 

Registers containing information on more than 90,000 individuals survived in the national archives of Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom, and it is these records that Eltis and a team of researchers have been painstakingly recreating in both written and audio form on the website.

The names in the expanded database comprise a record of well over half of all captives removed from slave ships in the 19th century. They represent every major language and ethnic group caught up in the forced migration of millions of people out of Africa after 1807.

"The database contains the names and records of Africans found on board 515 different slave vessels captured between 1808 and 1862," says Eltis. "There are records of captives leaving from and arriving at every significant slaving port on either side of the Atlantic. In short, it covers every major link between African and the Americas during the last six decades of the transatlantic slave traffic."

Because African languages had no written form at that time, the spelling of names was listed phonetically. The same name could appear in the records with different spellings, and researchers have provided up to three alternative renditions (together with recordings of their pronunciations) on the website to increase the accuracy of the identification.

Visitors to African-Origins.org are invited to search for a specific African name that they know, select a country or countries, then hit the Explore button to see if the name exists on the site. Once they find the name, they can hear several different pronunciations of it and see a list of individuals with that name, along with other information such as age, gender and sometimes other personal details or country of origin.

"If you recognise the name and know the origin of the name that you find, then you click the Contribute button," says Nafees Khan, project manager. "You can then register or log in on the site and give details of what you know about the spelling of the name and where it originated." Scholars then will review the contributor's information, looking for consensus among respondents.

"Since May 2011 we have been able to identify the modern ethno-linguistic associations of nearly 25,000 names in the database," says Eltis. "With help from the African public, we expect that we will be able to establish the origins of those of African descent in the Americas with an unprecedented degree of clarity and precision."



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE INTERNET NEWS

iWayAfrica re-launches Ka-band service with exclusive no equipment contracts

Dandemutande Investments (Private) Limited, a licensed Internet Access Provider operating the AfricaOnline, iWayAfrica, Utande and uMAX brands in Zimbabwe, has announced the re-launch of its iWayAfrica Ka-band VSAT service with a new nationwide campaign targeting households and businesses.  Read More

Terragon Group releases Digital Insights on the Nigerian banks

Terragon Group has released its Research Report which highlights the use of digital media by Nigerian banks and what impact these activities have on their overall business. Read More

BOFINET concludes Sekoma-Tsabong optic fibre project

Botswana Fibre Networks has successfully concluded its 360km Sekoma-Tsabong route optical fibre project. Read More

MainOne extends cable to Cameroun

MainOne has announced the extension of its world-class submarine fiber optic cable network from its Cable Landing Station in Lagos, Nigeria to Kribi, Cameroun.  Read More

PayPal, MallforAfrica join forces to give Kenyan shoppers more online payment options

MallforAfrica, a global e-commerce company that enables African consumers access to over 8.5 billion items, is teaming up with PayPal, one of the world’s most-loved ways to pay and get paid, through internet and mobile, to make online shopping from key markets outside of Kenya as easy as ... Read More

Alan Knott-Craig Jr to launch new venture

Former Mxit CEO Alan Knott-Craig Jr has announced the imminent commercial launch of HeroTel, a new venture seeking to consolidate Wireless Internet providers (WISPs). Read More

Click n Compare takes off Africa

CNC Group, parent company of the Click n Compare comparison website, is expanding its African footprint. Read More

Surfline Communications – one year of leading 4G LTE revolution in Ghana

Ghana’s leading 4G LTE network provider, Surfline Communications, is celebrating its first anniversary in grand style. Read More

MTN Business announces a partnership with Microsoft to offer a cloud solution

MTN Business has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to provide a pan-African cloud platform that offers customers a true hybrid cloud solution serviced from MTN’s data centres.  Read More

WACS Phase 1 upgrades complete

Upgrades on Phase 1 of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) cable have been completed.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika

FEATURED STORY

Young innovators shine during pitch sessionsYoung innovators shine during pitch sessions

Botswana saw an array of upcoming tech wizards selling their ideas during the Vendors’ Day pitch sessions this week.

IN DEPTH

High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.