Browse by Names

Names are alphabetized by the first name of the slave. Entries also include the approximate date of birth, the name(s) of the slave owner, the location of the slave owner in the county, links to primary sources, and a brief note which includes any additional information found in the records. This is an ongoing project so as more names are found they will be added to the list.

A Note on Slave Names

As you browse through the names you will notice that the overwhelming majority of slaves only had the one name or were only referred to by one name. Many of the names you will find here were not given to the slaves by their family, but are the informal names their owners bestowed upon them. With their freedom from enslavement came a freedom to choose a new name. Often a former slave would change their name from the informal to something more formal like Joseph, Elizabeth, William, etc. For surnames, some took names from their trades or skills (Miller). Some took their new surnames from the color of their skin (Brown or Black). Some took their new surnames from famous Americans at the time (Washington or Franklin). While others took common surnames like Jackson, Johnson, Moore, and Morgan. It was all just one step in the process of a former slave reclaiming themselves for themself.

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Franklin County Archives 
340 N. Second Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201

(717) 261-3154

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