Source Information

Ancestry.com. Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2011.
Original data:

Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872 (Slave Schedules). Microfilm T1121, 8 rolls. ARC ID: 1476161. Records of the Spanish Governors of Puerto Rico, Record Group 186. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

About Puerto Rico, Registro Central de Esclavos, 1872

This database contains a register of slaves in Puerto Rico in 1872.

What’s in the Records

The history of slavery in Puerto Rico goes back to the 1500s. An 1870 law led to the creation of a central register of slaves in the country, and this database contains images of the 1872 register, the Registro central de esclavos. NARA describes these records as follows:

“On June 4, 1870, a law known as the ley Moret was approved, granting freedom to certain categories of slaves, including those over age 60, those belonging to the state, and children of slaves born after September 17, 1868. The law also resulted in the preparation of a central register of slaves. There are now eight volumes of this register, which cover geographical departments 1, 2, and 4 through 6. Slaves are listed under the department and thereunder the municipality in which they resided.”

The departments, or districts, included are

I Dorado, Naranjito, Trujillo Alto, Trujillo Bajo, the Capital (San Juan)

II Arecibo, Camuy, Ciales, Hatillo, Manati, Morovis, Quebradillas, Utuado

IV Anasco, Cabo Rojo, Mayagüez, Sabana Grande, San German

V Adjuntas, Barros, Barranquitas, Coamo, Guayanilla, Juana Diaz, Penuelas, Ponce, Yauco

VI Aguas Buenas, Arroyo, Caguas, Cayey, Cidra, Guayama, Gurabo, Hato Grande (San Lorenzo), Sabana del Palmar (Comerio), Salinas

What’s in the Records

These records may include

  • name
  • age
  • gender
  • country of origin
  • residence
  • parents’ names
  • marital status
  • trade
  • physical description
  • master's name

Slaves often had only a given name rather that both a given and a surname. Slavery was abolished in Puerto Rico in 1873.

These records are in Spanish.