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Black History

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Black History

Postby RedCarp » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:10 pm

I recall seeing or hearing somewhere that a group was requesting any info regarding people of colour in parish records etc. I recently came across a reference to “a Robert, a black man owned by —-“ (sorry don’t have the notebook to hand) in the baptisms of an Oxon parish register. Does anyone know what the organisation was and how I can contact it?
I find the notion that so many former slaves were absorbed into the indigenous UK population, fascinating.


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Re: Black History

Postby Templ4r » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:15 pm

I saw one in a Bristol register, a baptism. I wouldn't be suprised if there weren't more given the links to the slave trade.
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Re: Black History

Postby RedCarp » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:29 pm

I’m sure there were thousands over the years but historians researching the subject want details and currently I don’t think Ancestry etc provide a quick link to colour or race.


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Re: Black History

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:08 pm

Re "I don’t think Ancestry etc provide a quick link to colour or race."
No - and nor should they. At least not in the UK. I don't say that to minimise the importance of black or other minority ethnic history. Far from it. But there are several inevitable things that have happened when Ancestry (or others) tried it. Firstly, there are lots of indexing errors. This isn't theoretical - it happened, though the names may have changed because of my faulty memory. One site indexed lots of baptisms(?) in England as "Black". Since the Church of England has never asked for such information, someone got suspicious and checked the images - turns out that these "black" people were actually being baptised by the Reverend Black!

Now, there are undoubtedly many instances where words like "Black" or "Negro", etc, have appeared in CofE registers - someone claimed that these entries should be indexed and not to do so was disrespectful. I disagree. Since the CofE has never asked for such information, the simple fact is that for every entry that is indexed as black or other ethnic, many, many more will not have been described thus in the first place. As a result the incidence of black or other ethnic entries will be vastly understated - exactly the opposite result that we ought to see.
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Re: Black History

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:22 pm

RedCarp wrote:... I find the notion that so many former slaves were absorbed into the indigenous UK population, fascinating ...

Didn't David Olusoga cover a lot of this in Black and British: A Forgotten History? Including the black trumpeter at the court of Henry VIII.

And if I recall correctly, he (David O) managed to bring together the descendents of Francis Barber, Samuel Johnson's servant, who had been born a slave. No surprise that the majority of them were (a) very proud of him and (b) basically, white.
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