Beyond Kin naming conventions

We encourage researchers participating in the Beyond Kin Project to use a consistent format in naming enslaved persons (EPs), and the placeholder “people” who connect them. The given name will be the description or name (or both) offered by the source at hand—anything that will help us to distinguish one person from another. And the surname will be the name of the “institution” where the person was held, enclosed in parentheses. The institution might be a farm, plantation, factory, mine, or a university — among other possibilities.

Naming Scenarios

If Name Extracted From

Given Name


1850 slave census record for Jacob Newell Mayberry, page/image 3, 1st column, line 6, mulatto male, age 30

3a6 Mulatto Male c1820

(JN Mayberry Plantation)

Property inventory of probate file bequeathing to Patricia Coleman “Negro boy Jim $250”

Jim boy $250 (Patricia Coleman Farm)
University of Alabama board of trustees minutes allowing funds to replace blouse for “Mary the laundry slave” Mary the laundress (University of Alabama)

Moving to next steps

Now that you have been introduced to the basic concept and how we will be naming EPs, let’s move on to the nuts and bolts of setting up a Beyond Kin group and actually processing records that contain information about EPs.

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For every soul a story, a family, a name