13 August 2017

Legacies of British Slave-ownership

On Saturday I stumbled across Britain's Forgotten Slave-owners, an award winning documentary on rerun on BBC World. It relies heavily on research at University College London.
At the project website https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/ is a search tool where you can check whether names in your family history were associated with slavery. You can also check geographically in the UK to find people and organizations associated with slavery.
The program makes the point that much of the money paid by the British government to slave-owner for loss of their "property", derived from taxation, came back to be invested in the UK.


Anonymous said...

A couple of months ago, helping a chum research her family's history, running from Glasgow in the 1770s to New York, then rescue as Loyalists by the British Navy to what is now New Brunswick. From Glasgow I traced the family back three further generations, to cousins who emigrated to Jamaica, and became slave owners.
The family was gob-smacked by the documents I provided, including a slave census, where almost all the young slaves (ages were given) were given the surname of the family member, except for three who were given the names of noted local landowners. It was very obvious that increasing the number of slaves on the estate was good business practice to provide more workers, which this cousin had done. Instead of allowing too much inbreeding, he kept careful records of who was who's father, using the surnames he bestowed to track it, much as the Canadian Kennel Club tracks canine breeding history. Of much interest, to me as well. Cheers, BT

Marian said...

Sadly, one does find one's own ancestors in this database. But the project was very happy to receive biographical date on the slave owners that I had.

Gail B said...

We are in London U.K. and yesterday visited the British Museum, much updated since our decade ago visit. An entire area is given over to British Slave ownership, plus the audio of a descendant of Newton(?) a former slave owner who wrote Amazing Grace. Very timely John.

Anonymous said...

A Jamaican friend of mine has a black great grandmother who was "married" to a caucasian great grandfather. Great grandfather, descendant of an English slave owner(slavery ended in 1837, I am told) gave his two black wives' families some land in Jamaica. His caucasian wife and family lived in England where the children would have gone to upper class schools. This situation was a revelation to me.
M. Anne