After the abolition of slavary, the recognition of the new social condition of freedom for ex-slaves and their descendants included the creation of new identifications. Among them, the manipulation of the old names was essential for the reaffirmation of freedom. This article seeks to explore the redefinitions of names used by freedmen of São Carlos, one of the main centers of the coffee economy at the turn of the 19th century for the 20th century. Driven mainly by the desire to formalize their affective relationships, including strategies to formalize relationships that were useful to them, these renames are a unique record of how ex-captives evaluated, during post-emancipation, the family alliances that signed still in captivity, as well as the affirmation of their identities. Through the coalition of nominative sources, especially with the use of parochial registers and a municipal census, we seek to analyze the heterogeneity of social bonds made up of slaves and freedmen, demonstrating how the “onomastic economy”, as well as a question of identification, was, in post-abolition, a key element for the symbolic struggles that demarcated the new social position of freedmen.
post-abolition; social capital; proper names; onomastic economy; ex-slaves