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Black Loyalist Surnames  See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada

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 The Book of Negroes

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Choose a letter to see the Black Loyalist surnames recovered during the 1998-'99 research project. They are all the surnames recorded in the Book of Negroes in 1783, with some additions from the 1784 Nova Scotian muster rolls.

Muster roll names have an asterisk * after the name. (The muster rolls were lists of people given provisions by the government.) In some cases, but not in all, Black Loyalists used an owner's surname.

All names appear alphabetically, written exactly as they appear in the Book of Negroes and the muster rolls. Sometimes different families had similar-sounding names but they were spelled differently in the records. Each one has been included: O'NEAL O'NEIL O'NEILL

In some instances, you will see names in brackets. These either correct a mistake made in the Book of Negroes by a poor speller: RAGG [see WRAGG] or they are other spellings of the individual's name as they appear in later documents: REDDICK [variant: REDWICK, REDOCK, REDICK, RUDDOCK]

Some people, mainly children, appear in the Book of Negroes without a surname or an owner's name. Perhaps the surnames that are on the muster rolls but aren't in the Book of Negroes are the names chosen by these people upon arriving in Nova Scotia. An enslaved person's surname is not often listed in the Book of Negroes. A name inside a bracket followed by a question mark is a slave owner's name or an indenturer's name (and sometimes both): [HOLMES?] In these instances, the slave owner's name or the indenturer's name is a starting point when doing genealogical research, since an individual may have chosen it as a surname.