Database of enslaved people on Aruba


On Friday, June 30th 2023, the National Archives of Aruba and the National Library of Aruba published the historical database of enslaved individuals in Aruba from 1840-1863, a database transcribed in a project jointly with the Netherlands.

The database utilized a large amount of different sources from the National Archives of Aruba, such as the Emancipation record of 1863, lists of enslaved individuals, birth and death records of enslaved individuals, notarial petitions and deeds containing information about sales and purchases, transfers, and manumission of enslaved individuals. Through this database, one can search for the family a enslaved person received at the end of the slavery era, allowing for further exploration into the history of slavery. It is important to note that this database is also significant for education and culture on the island. If you are seeking information about a family member who was enslaved between the years 1840 and 1863 in Aruba, you can refer to the “zoekhulp” document. This document serves as a guide and provides recommendations for conducting research.

In this index, you can find the name of the enslaved individual during the slavery era, their name and family during emancipation, gender, date of birth, mother’s name, profession, and religion. You can also find information about the owner (commonly known as “shon”) and remarks from the sources. Additionally, there are events and dates included. As mentioned earlier, the index also consists of information about the owners of enslaved individuals, including their names, families, place of residence, and eventual remarks from the sources. Finally, there is a reference to the data source.

The National Archives of Aruba, together with the National Library and Radboud University in Nijmegen, have created a new database. The first version of the database is just the beginning. The goal for the database is to continue to enrich, grow, and extract as much information as possible from it. It is worth noting that the database is also available in Papiamento, making it more accessible and a part of our own culture. Peter Scholing (BNA) is working on the next version of this data and database, among other things by connecting more of the “missing links” to make it more interesting and visually rich in content.

This approach will allow for extracting more information, seeing the family connections between individuals, and delving deeper when searching for a person and their family. The new and enriched version will soon be announced and will also be accessible on the Coleccion Aruba portal.

Update 8 april 2024

The version 2.0 of the database can be accessed here:

lista di vindishi di e propiedadnan di defunto Willem Kelly na 1849. Entre su pertenencianan cu a wordo bendi tabata tin dos mucha muher catibo. Francisca [Candida] y su ruman Anna Eustacia.