About Slavery Inventory Database founder and historic preservationist Maddy McCoy.
While researching the identities of presumed enslaved individuals buried at an historic African American cemetery in Fairfax County, Virginia, Maddy McCoy made a significant discovery.
Maddy’s research results confirmed not only the first names of many slaves, but also their elusive last names. Unearthing this vital data enabled her to connect naming and kin patterns across a much wider historic landscape. More importantly, she was able to conclude that only five percent of enslaved individuals in Fairfax County shared a last name with their slaveholder – a fact that challenged a long-held theory that slaves took, and were identified by, the last name of their slaveholders.
This early accomplishment fueled Maddy’s passion and, in 2005, she founded Slavery Inventory Database LLC. Since then, her expertise in slavery research has led to meaningful collaborations with public- and private-sector historical organizations in the Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC areas, helping them expand their slavery narratives.
Maddy’s critical research support helped establish the Fairfax Court Slavery Index. With approximately 30,000 entries, the Index enables researchers to easily identify enslaved individuals who resided in Fairfax County, Virginia from 1742 to 1865. It is the only index of its kind in the country. Maddy continues to work as an enthusiastic consultant on this project, providing research assistance and helping build public awareness through speaking engagements.
Maddy also serves as a Commissioner on the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission, is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and an award-winning photographer with a portfolio that includes over 500 images of historic, African American sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. Maddy was born in Alexandria, Virginia, where she resides with her family.
“Maddy’s meticulous research uncovered the names of dozens of unknown enslaved individuals held by John Carlyle, plus a number of indentured and convict servants, increasing the total of our known slave population by 60%.”
– Susan Hellman, Historic Site Manager, Carlyle House Historic Park