LONDON, April 27, 2007 (AFP) – Britain said Friday it was putting colonial slavery records online for the first time, an archive which will eventually cover three million slaves in South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. The collection on the ancestry.co.uk website is taken from registers lodged between 1812 and 1834.
Britain has been celebrating the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. It was passed on March 25, 1807, imposing a 100-pound fine for every slave found aboard a British ship.
The 1833 Slavery Abolition Act outlawed slavery itself throughout the British Empire. However, slaves did not gain their final freedom until 1838.
Simon Harper of ancestry.co.uk said: “As few records exist which document the lives of individual slaves, the Former British Colonial Dependencies’ Slave Register Collection, 1812-1834 will for many be the only record of their ancestor ever having existed and so represents a vital resource for everyone with or interested in researching slave ancestry. “With few relevant collections online, it has not been easy for those with ancestors from former British colonies or territories to research their black family history, however ancestry.co.uk’s new collection will he