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1671Re: [St.H.Fam.Hist.] Slave names

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  • Keith Venables
    Jan 7, 2013
      Thank you Colin, I had hoped for some wise words!

      It makes the options for my wife's ancestry even more uncertain than it was before (which was very uncertain anyway!). However I did wonder how her 3rd GGF managed to integrate so fast when he arrived in England in about 1830. He married a girl from Gloucester almost immediately and so perhaps he may not have been quite so dark skinned as we might have believed.

      Many thanks again for the help.


      On 6 Jan 2013, at 17:51, "Colin" <colin@...> wrote:


      Keith, Having carried out quite a lot of research into the slaves on St Helena, I would say that it was pretty uncommon for slaves to be named after their owners. Generally, first generation slaves were give a single name that could be the name of the ship they arrived on (Cumberland) or the port from which it sailed (Pompey, London), or classical names (Hercules) or months of the year (March, January). If they married or co-habited and had children the children often took the first name of their father as a last name – so we get David London etc. Many female slaves married/cohabited with men from the garrison and they would adopt the soldiers last name. The name ‘Bagley’ is a bit unusual so I wouldn’t rule out a slave being named after the family. Of course It was not unknown for a female slave to have a child by her owner despite it being against the laws on the island and the child may have been given the fathers name. A child’s status was governed by that of the mother so would still have been classed as a slave even if it looked as ‘white’ as the father. Alternatively it could just as well have been by happenstance the name of the Captain of the ship who brought them to the island.


      Incidently, quite a lot of slaves were brought to the island from India and the East Indies (Sumatra) and not just Madagascar – very few would have come from West Africa. The ships calling at the island followed the SE trade wind from the Cape and would have started their return voyage from places on the rim of the Indian Ocean.





      From: st-helena-genealogy@yahoogroups.com [mailto:st-helena-genealogy@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Keith Venables
      Sent: 06 January 2013 11:52
      To: st-helena-genealogy@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [St.H.Fam.Hist.] Re: Bagley of St Helena



      Hello Alison,

      I'm not very well informed on such matters, but I do believe it was usual for slaves to adopt their master's surname. Perhaps someone else in the forum can add something to this theory?


      From my limited research on St Helena at that time it seems it was "normal" to have slaves, but I also think that they were better treated than at most other countries/locations and we should consider them more as servants, albeit with less free income and rights. I have many other lines traced in England and domestic service features strongly, especially in London. From what I can see they would have been better off in St Helena!





      On 6 Jan 2013, at 07:47, "Alison" <alisoncalderwood@...> wrote:


      Hi Keith,
      Thanks for your reply. I'd hate to think they had slaves, but I guess that is likely...I'm guessing you're suggesting the slaves took in the surnames of their 'owners'?

      --- In st-helena-genealogy@yahoogroups.com, "keith" wrote:
      > My wife is descended from an Ann Bagley, b1791 St Helena, daughter of John Bagley.
      > He was a slave, but by 1828 Ann was free when she married a Richard Phillips.
      > I'm assuming our Bagleys were at some time slaves of your Bagleys!
      > regards,
      > Keith
      > --- In st-helena-genealogy@yahoogroups.com, "Alison" wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi everyone,
      > > I live in Australia. My gg grandfather was Thomas Gabriel Bagley who was apparently born on St Helena around the 1820's. His father was Richard Orlando Bagley we think.... We don't know how Thomas came to Australia, but he came around 1852, and was described as a mining engineer. He married 10 years later, and his children's names seem to reflect those of relatives or others on St Helena: William Orlando, Edward, George Carol, Jane Elizabeth, Thomas Gabriel Alexander ,Robert Otto, Mary Ann Amelia, Matilda Amada, Frederick Doveton.
      > >
      > > Would love to know if anyone has any further information on this family on St Helena, or even a comment to make about this information.
      > >
      > > thanks!
      > >
      > > Alison
      > > Australia
      > >


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