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Lecture | CMGI Brown Bag Seminar

Paramaribo’s Ward Registers: Views of a 19th Century Colonial Urban Population

Tuesday 10 October 2023
CMGI Brown Bag Seminars 2023-2024
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)

Since 1828, the colonial government of Suriname kept a detailed population register of the inhabitants of the capital of Paramaribo. These ward registers (‘wijkregisters’) contain rich information, with name, age, occupation, ethnicity and religion of free inhabitants and in part they also document the enslaved people living on a certain address. It goes without saying that this is a rich source for historical research into a nineteenth century colonial city.Recently, the extant registers from the period 1828-1846 have been transcribed, but in a format that makes the data not very accessible for systematic research. We are currently converting these transcriptions into a structured database that will be openly accessible both for the general public via de website of the National Archives of Suriname and as a download for scholarly users.The ward registers dataset fits into the Historical Database of Suriname & the Caribbean (HDSC): a collaboration between Radboud University and various heritage and knowledge partners in Suriname and the islands formerly known as the Dutch Antilles. The HDSC aims at collecting, linking and publishing historical population data in this region, including slave registers, civil records, migration record, and more (ca. 1830-1950). In this talk, we want to show how the database was set up, what its potential is for historical research, especially in the context of the Historical Database of Suriname & the Caribbean.

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