Hi everyone, I would like to introduce the project I am developing now at Michigan State University. I am currently working collaboratively with Andrew Barsom, a fellow doctoral student in the Department of History at MSU, on the Baptismal Record Database for Slave Societies (BARDSS) project. This online database, which is part of MSU’s Slave Biographies network, will contain information on hundreds of thousands of slaves and free people of color, their owners, and their families in places such as colonial Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Florida, and Louisiana. The BARDSS data is drawn from the baptismal records that have been digitized and made available online thanks to the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies (ESSSS) project at Vanderbilt University (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/esss/). Because to the uniformity of Catholic baptismal entries over the centuries and across national boundaries,BARDSS is inherently an expandable project designed to encourage collaborative contributions from scholars of geographically and chronologically diverse settings around the Atlantic World. BARDSS has the potential to transform the study of Atlantic slavery and the slave trade, by allowing scholars to easily access and manipulate large demographic datasets containing information on individual enslaved persons and their relationships with other slaves, free people of color, and slave owners. For each baptismal entry included in the database, BARDSS includes information on the geographical location, name, age, gender, race, national identity, parentage, god-parentage, legal status, and ownership of the baptized individual. The broad scope of this information will allow historians the flexibility to answer a wide range of historical and sociological research questions using a variety of analytical methods. Furthermore, BARDSS will be a potentially valuable genealogical resource for individuals in the wider public who trace their origins to the colonial Americas.
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