Baptism Record Database for Slave Societies

Saturday, January 9, 2016: 11:30 AM
Regency Ballroom V (Hyatt Regency Atlanta)
Andrew Barsom, Michigan State University
Jorge Felipe, Michigan State University
The Baptism Record Database for Slave Societies (BARDSS) project is a relational database created in the History Department at Michigan State University with the objective of making available for scholarly and genealogical inquiry the vast amount of information on African and African-descended populations contained in Catholic baptism records produced in Atlantic World slave societies.  Using church records digitized and made publicly available by the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) project at Vanderbilt University, BARDSS contains data on hundreds of thousands of individual slaves and free people of color in colonial Cuba. For each individual baptized, BARDSS contains data variables, including name, sex, date of birth, provenance (including African regional origin), identity of owner(s), parentage, godparentage, and more. BARDSS will be an invaluable resource for social historians of slavery and the slave trade, and for those interested in Afro-Cuban family genealogy.  The outcome of this project will be not only the largest demographic dataset for a slave population in the Atlantic World, but also the largest demographic dataset of a pre-colonial African population in existence.  Using data manipulation and visualization tools, scholars can examine a variety of population patterns ranging from ethnic clustering to seasonal fertility, while at the same time locating individuals within space and time.  Owing to the uniformity of the (Catholic baptism record) genre, BARDSS is an expandable project, with the potential to incorporate data from records located in sites around the Atlantic World.
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