In 1850 and again in 1860, the U.S. government carried out a census of slave owners and their property. Transcribed by Mr. Cox, the 1850 U.S. slave census for Georgia is important for two reasons. First, some of the slave owners appearing here do not appear in the 1850 U.S. census of population for Georgia and are thus “restored” to the population of 1850. Second, and of considerable interest to historians, the transcription shows that less than 10 percent of the Georgia white population owned slaves in 1850. In fact, by far the largest number of slave owners were concentrated in Glynn County, a coastal county known for its rice production.
The slave owners’ census is arranged in alphabetical order according to the surname of the slave owner and gives his/her full name, number of slaves owned, and the county of residence. It is one of the great disappointments of the ante bellum U.S. population census that the slaves themselves are not identified by name; rather, merely as property owned. Nevertheless, now that Mr. Cox has made the names of these Georgia slave owners with their aggregations of slaves more widely available, it may be just possible that more persons with slave ancestors will be able to trace them via other records (property records, for example) pertaining to the 37,000 slave owners enumerated in this volume.