The Free and Enslaved People of Color in Marblehead Online Database

Exploring Marblehead's Diverse History

Discover the stories of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who lived and worked in Marblehead through the 19th century.

Black man in Marblehead, early photo

The goal of this database is to not only identify as many BIPOC who lived and/or worked in Marblehead up to the end of the 19th century as possible, but also to tell their personal stories and provide access to primary source documentation whenever possible. The Marblehead Museum is dedicated to researching the lives and impact of these individuals and will be added to the database as new information is discovered.

Using the database


First names of People of Color were often spelled inconsistently. If your initial search is not successful, try alternate spellings in the First Name search and in Alternate Names search. The database uses the most common spelling in the documentary evidence.

In constructing the database, we did not assume that the Person of Color chose to use the surname of his/her enslaver, nor do we assume that those seeking self-emancipated enslaved people were the enslaver and, therefore, supplied a surname. We only use a surname if it appears in a document specifically about an individual, such as a birth, death, or marriage record. When no such record exists, we use the last name “unknown.”

Since surnames change, due to remarriage or other circumstances, we used the earliest known and documented surname. Others can be found in the Alternate Name search category. You can also search for various surnames in the keyword search.

Keyword Search (case sensitive)

Use this search to find records containing such data as enslaver names, locations other than Marblehead, occupation, runaway/self emancipation, military service, church affiliations, and such. The keyword search is case sensitive.

Known Date Range

This category includes only the years we have documentary evidence for. It is possible, indeed likely, that the individuals in the database lived and/or worked in Marblehead before and after the known range.

Research continues and information will be added as we learn more. Please check back occasionally for updates.


Citing this Resource: "The Free and Enslaved People of Color in Marblehead Online Database." Marblehead Museum, [].

If you have any questions or have information to be included, please contact us at

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This database is made possible by a grant from Mass Humanities, state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provided funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

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