The Origins/Genealogy Project aims to collect all available demographic,
ethnographic, spatial information on the slave population to enable descendants
of slaves to reconstruct their family history. One of the most important set of
documents concerned in this process is the slave registration returns compiled
from 1815 by the Slave Registry. The sets found in the Mauritius National
Archive are not complete and therefore the Mauritius National Archive ordered
complete sets from the Public Record Office based in London. These are being
transcribed by 2nd year History students of the University of Mauritius.
It will some time before all databases are available to the public. In the
meantime, the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture’s Family History Unit
has decided to put at the disposal of Mauritians a database containing the names
of all slaves freed in 1835.
Who and How can this database help you in your family search?
1. Mauritians who believe they have slave ancestry and whose families have
not changed their names can consult this database to check if their
Many names may be spelt in a different way from how you are used to seeing
it. You must use your imagination and think about how else it could have
been written and search for those names too. Think of what the name sounds
like when spoken.
A few examples:
If you cannot find the family name you are searching for, the slaves may have
Passed away. Consult Civil status registers.
Freed from slavery. Consult manumission registers.
Marooned. Consult maroonage registers.
Married and changed names. Consult civil status or parish
Form part of the 15,000 slaves who do not yet appear in the
1835 database. Consult microfilm of 1835 found in National
2. If the slave was part of a large estate, you can continue your search and find
the name of the estate and the names of all other slaves living on the same
3. If the estate was a well established one, you will also be able to locate it on the
map. For the time being this map contains only the large estates.
If you wish to read about the experiences of others, please read Joyce Fortune’s
article in History Memory and Identity.
Other documents that you can consult include:
Civil status registers - Civil Status Office in Port Louis and branches
contain birth marriage, death and manumission certificates.
Parish registers – Diocese de Port Louis (private)
Manumission registers containing manumission certificates of thousands
of slaves. Mauritius National Archives
Maroonage registers - Mauritius National Archives
Database of cemeteries and genealogies comiled by the Societe de
Slave registration returns for 1815, 1823, 1826 and 1835 available at
Mauritius National Archives on microfilm.
Registers of White, Coloured and Slave population, KK series Mauritius
Notarial documents in the slave had acquired land or other property.
These databases are also being compiled by NMCAC and should be available in
The 1835 database was compiled through the support of the Mauritius Research
Council between 1996 and 1998. Funding was continued from 2006 by the
Ministry of Culture and is ongoing.
For any further information, please contact Mrs Colette Lechartier Head
Research and Documentation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although this database provides information for slaves on large estate there were
many slaves working w\on small estates or as domestics in households. For
these only the names of the owner and district can be given as no other record
has been found for them yet. Over the years it will be possible to link these
names with other returns and go further back in time.
Colette Lechartier, Head Research and Documentation, NMCAC & Vijaya
Teelock, Principal Investigator, Origins project
Assisted by the students of the University of Mauritius since 1987.