World Archives Project: Slave Owner Petitions, Washington, D.C., 1862-1863

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About this project

This project is comprised of the records generated by the government agency, Board of Commissioners for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia.  This agency was responsible for reviewing the petitions by slave owner for re-imbursement.  A wide variety of documents were generated as a result of this board, meeting minutes, summaries of the petitions, a docket book, reward summaries, petition case files, and a final report.  This project is composed of two parts, the summaries of the petitions and the petition case files. 

The summaries of the petitions is a list that the board of commissioner generated from the case files.  The fields that we will be keying from this form includes the petition date, petition case number, petitioner(s) and slave(s) associated with a particular case.  The cases were assigned case numbers chronologically as they arrived before the board for consideration.  Later when the hearings where held and witnesses called, they used the case numbers as the docket number, so these two terms for this project are interchangeable.

Since the summaries of the petitions list very clearly all of the information that we want to key for this project, all that information does not need to be repeated when we key from the case files.  However, in order to properly associate the names with the case files, we do need to have the petition case number from the jackets for each case file. 

Because of the great importance of the petition case number, great care needs to be taken to make sure they are keyed accurately.


Contents

Need help keying this project?

World Archives Keying Standards

Special Keying Instructions

The petitions that were reviewed by Board of Commissioners are actually captured in their entirety on many of the images you will see. The case number appears on the jacket of each case file, usually to the right of the phrase "No". Keying the case file accurately is essential. The handwriting on these can be extremely difficult to read, so we opted to key the case file, date, petitioners, and slaves somewhere else where the handwriting is cleaner. By keying the case file number here we provide a way to transfer the keyed information to the actual case files.

Here is an example of what the order of names should be when keying the Summaries.
File:Projectinstructions.jpg

Example of Images/Petitions that should NOT be keyed.

These images should be categorized as Cover page, Section Header, etc forms.


File:casefilejacket.jpg File:Coverpagesectionheaderetc.jpg File:slavepetitions.jpg

Project-specific sample images and form field help:

Choose a sample image from below to see the corresponding form field examples.
Case File Jacket
Case File Summary

Case File Jacket

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This form should be selected when the jacket of the case file is encountered.  Case file jackets are normally very narrow forms with very little information on them.  The petition case number is normally present in the upper left hand corner of the jacket.  The petition case number will also frequently appears to the right of the phrase "No." near the middle of the jacket. 

Petition Case Number

When petitions were made, a petition case number was assigned to the petition and added to the jacket of each case files.  This form should be used to key the petition case number from the case file jacket.We will be keying the case file number, petition date, and names from other documents in this collection, where the handwriting is much easier to read.  However in order to properly associate them with the correct case file, it is important to capture the petition case numbers correctly from the case file jackets.  The case files numbers are located on the jacket cover.  They usually appear in the top left corner of the jackets, but will often appear in the middle of the jacket cover to the right of the abbreviation "No."
See Example

Case File Summary

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This is the form from which the petition date, petitioner, slave, and other names will be keyed.  The case file summary page is divided into columns.  Columns represent the date of filing, docket/case number, name(s) of petitioners, and names of slaves.  The navigation field has been provided for this form in cases where the date or case number are "Continued from previous image."

Navigation

ONLY the value "Continued from previous image" is valid to be used for this field.  There are three available items in the drop down list, but the other two are not to be used.If the first entry on a page does not have the day, month, or docket number on it, use the Navigation Field to indicate that it is "Continued from previous image." 
See Example

Petition Year

The petition year, 1862, is located in the headings on the form immediately below the column labeled Date of Filing.  All petitions where filed between April 29th and July 15th in 1862.  The year of 1862 should be copied down for all records keyed.  The petition year will be "sticky" and will only need to be keyed once per image. 
See Example

Petition Month

Under the column labeled Date of Filing, capture the month.  The  month is normally listed to the left of the day.  Petitions were assigned numbers based on the date of filing so petition dates are chronological, so the month should be copied down until a change occurs.  If the first entry on a page does not have the month information on it, use the Navigation Field to indicate that it is "Continued from previous image."  The petition month will be "sticky" and will need to be keyed when it changes. Key the name of the month in full. 
See Example

Petition Day

Under the column labeled Date of Filing, capture the day.  The day is normally listed to the right of the month.  Petitions were assigned numbers based on the date of filing.  This means that petition dates are chronological, so the day should be copied down until a change occurs.  If the first entry on a page does not have the day information on it, use the Navigation Field to indicate that it is "Continued from previous image."  The petition day will be "sticky" and will need to be keyed when it changes. 
See Example

Petition Case Number

Every petition in this material was assigned a case or docket number.  Please key the case number from the column labeled Docket Number.  The case or docket number must be copied down for all individuals associated with that case or docket.  If the first entry on a page does not have the case number information on it, use the Navigation Field to indicate that it is "Continued from previous image."  The petition case number will be "sticky" but needs to be keyed, everytime it changes.
See Example

Prefix

Key any titles before the Given name, such as "Dr", "Rev", "Mr" or "Mrs", using the dictionary provided for assistance. If a prefix does not appear in a dictionary then key the prefix as seen.  Each individual (both petitioners and slaves) will be keyed as a separate record.
See Example

Given

Key the first name or initial and any middle names of the petitioner or slave that you are keying, use the provided dictionary for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.  Each individual will be keyed as a separate record.
See Example

Surname

Key the surnames of the petitioner or slave that you are keying, use the provided dictionary for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.  Each individual will be keyed as a separate record.
See Example

Suffix

Key all titles, such as "Jr" or "III", following the surname of the petitioner or slave that you are keying, use the provided dictionary for assistance.  If a suffix does not appear in a dictionary then key the suffix as seen.  Each individual will be keyed as a separate record.
See Example

Person Type

The person type refers to the type of individual for which a record is being keyed.  The person types consist of Petitioners, Slave, or Other.  Other should only be used in instances where you have a court appointed representative for the petitioner, such as an administrator, guardian, executor, etc.  When these individuals are present they will frequently appear before the individual(s) that they are representing.  The individual(s) they represent should be keyed as Petitioner.
See Example

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