Migration to England in the 19th century

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Migration to England in the 19th century

Postby Ziltha » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:59 am

Migration from the Caribbean in the 20th century is well documented, but does anyone have information on migration in the 19th century? I have an ancestor, a slave freed in 1823, in Kingston, Jamaica who appears in the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 UK censuses living in Staffordshire and Warwickshire, England. Was migration common? Was there a pattern to migration at this time? Any background information on migration would be appreciated.
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Re: Migration to England in the 19th century

Postby bimjim » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:51 pm

I am sure there will be many others, but ONE of the reasons people went from the Caribbean to the "mother country" of Great Britain was that it was cheaper and easier to perform manumisisons (to free slaves) there than in the Colony (island).

Some owners went to GB alone to perform the task, some took the slaves with them - and it is not beyond reason or belief that, having arrived and been freed, they then had their own free choice to stay or to return to the land of their birth.

In the 1800s it was a mixed bag: Emancipation was about 1835 (it varied from place to place) but after that former slaves were not fully "released from bondage". They were expected to perform many years of "apprenticeship" which effectively allowed the previous owners to both collect reimbursement from the Crown and continue to benefit from their labour.

And some slave owners of the day were former slaves themselves (both black and white, remember) who not only owned workers but also owned family members - having been freed they may have bought their kinsmen from other owners for the purpose of ensuring they were not mistreated and/or for the purpose of manumitting them. The previous owner would be paid for the slave, and further would not be expected to pay for the manumission or to spend time in the process.

If the slave was white (many British - English, Irish ands Scots - were enslaved for a myriad of reasons, not all criminal by any means) they may have spent 20 years or more in the Colonies and then with freedom granted for whatever reason have returned to their previous homes.
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Re: Migration to England in the 19th century

Postby Ziltha » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:50 pm

Thank you for your reply bimjim. My ancestor Charles Phipps (mulatto) appears on a Return of Slaves in the Parish of KIngston on the 28th Day of June 1823 with the note under decrease by manumission March 1823 and I've found the manumission where the sum paid was 10/- (shillings) for each slave manumitted by this owner. This seems a very small amount when other owners were paying much larger sums. The first documentation I've found for him in the UK is the 1841 census but I haven't been able to find any connection with his former owner in the UK, although I have wondered if he came here with her. Can you suggest any resources that may be of help in filling the gap between Jamaica and England?
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