That was all hugely appreciated, but to top that she has produced the following report looking at the Webbe family ownership of the New River estates I had been looling into. It’s way more forensic than anything I have done, but as she explained it’s incredibly complicated and so she isn’t sure if it is completely correct for reasons explained below. But in answer to my Joshiah Webbe(s) and New River(s) Estates? post that asked whether their were two New River estates and two related Josiah Webbes , she says the answer to both of those questions is an emphatic ‘yes’!!
Following on from recent posts about my slave owning ancestors, I just want to recommend Episode 4 of 7 of Radio 4’s Descendants series. Ruth Hecht who I have been in touch with was one the participants. I found it fascinating on so many levels, and not least being the storytelling approach given the different perspectives involved including both a decendant of slaves and one from those who eslaved them:
It touched upon so many things, including those I have been seeing as part of my research, i.e. how the slave owning families were so connected and how that appears to have been a way of consolidating the vast wealth they had amassed, the close links between industry and those compensated for their slave owning, and how slavery in the UK is never far from home.
As you may have seen in the last few posts, I am exploring my slave owning ancestors. It’s not quite the ‘Blood Legacy: ‘reckoning with a family’s story of slavery’ by Alex Renton that has been recommended to me, but that’s one I will check out (not least because its reckoning theme is part of what I am trying to do with this series of posts).
Most of my ancestors involved with the slave trade owned plantations on the Island of Nevis in the West Indies, and through marriage not only were they connected to most of the other plantation owners there but also across the Leeward Islands. What’s been difficult is to find out more about the family history of some these ancestors before they appear on these islands because what is publicly available is patchy.
From what I have been told that patchiness is the result of various fires, invasions and earthquakes that over the centuries have destroyed a lot of the original documents. For example, during the French invasion of Nevis in 1706 records were “burned in the street” hence the earliest record that the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) are working on being from 1705.
Having looked recently at my plantation and slave owning Madan and Nisbet ancestors, I need to revisit my Russell ones (see earlier posts here). This is mostly going to be more genealogical because trying to fathom the complexities of how the estates of these and other related families got passed on from generation along with other legacies needs way more time to unravel than I can commit. And not least because that’s something that still appears to be ongoing at the Centre for the Study of legacies of British slave ownership (who have even cited this blog). I will try and tackle some of the ownership and passing on, but this post is also an attempt to check previous findings having found more about these families, including their plantation and slave owning.
Following my previous Skeletons in the closet post, this is the first of a new series that looks at ancestor families with links to the slave trade. This one looks at the Madan family, but I think I may have got in a muddle about them. `I’ve now worked out that it was Martin Madan (1700 – 1756) who was the Colonel and MP, not his father who was also called Martin (1653 – 1704). The younger one married the English Poet Judith Cowper and they both have wiki entries (see his and hers):
Martin Madan the MP also has a biography on History of Parliament site, which explains that he was the 1st son of Martin Madan of Nevis, West Indies by Penelope, daughter of Col. Sir James Russell (member of the council of Nevis). The biography also explains that Martin Madan (the father) was from an old Waterford family, emigrated from Ireland to the West Indies about 1682 and acquired plantations in Nevis and St. Kitts.
I am been busy trying to both restructure this site and categorise the blog posts in a more meaningful way (see more on this on the Family Indices, Categories and Related Resources index page). That includes creating new categories, including Skeletons in the closet. That’s because family history can reveal not only the good, but also the bad and even downright ugly. Sadly, that includes those involved in slavery.
I haven’t found many who were, but that is partly the result of feeling less connected to ancestors the further back I go, so after a certain point I’m generally not looking beyond more basic family tree info, i.e. who begat who. But also because I have been more interested in those ancestors that are less well documented and, therefore, more of a mystery. That hasn’t seemingly included those owning or trading slaves (so far). However, I thought it important to create a category about those ancestors I’ve found that were, as well and as those involved in equally unedifying and nefarious activities.
My cousin Hamish has kindly been adding my family history finds to his much bigger Maclarens, Birtwistles and Many Other Families tree of related families on rootsweb.
We’ve been collaborating on our mother’s Birtwistle family and other ancestors. But he has also added my patrilineal descent here. It’s helped remind me of all the loose ends, as well as those branches that go on and on and on.
This prompted me to see if could find another generation on at least one more branch. Not only did I find one more branch it took me back to the Vikings via Hervey and Percy families.
Every new ancestor I discover means there are two more to find. I found my 7 x great grandmother Judith Cowper mentioned in The history of the island of Antiguaone of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, from the first settlement in 1635 to the present time (1894) by Vere Langford Oliver. She’s included in the pedigree of the Russell Family:
I was tracing my ancestors on the files put together by my cousin Hamish MacLaren over on the Douglas Family Archives, and amazingly I got as far back as Genghis Khan (see below). Now this would explain the political views of a whole number of my family and relatives, so I promptly informed them that their road rage and similar character traits could actually be genetic. I thought it might help also reinforce my leadership credentials at work if I explained my ancestry, although they seemed more concerned that I might be descended from Elisabeth Bassaraba Princess Of Valachia. Apparently, she’s one of Dracula’s Transylvanian ancestors/relations who used to bathe in the blood of virgins. I assured them that I was actually quite happy with the power shower, now that the plumber had got it working again, and that my ancestry was not going to play a big part in their forthcoming reviews. Anyway, I’m not one to normally let the truth get in the way of a good story, but sadly the Genghis Khan connection now looks even more tenous. Continue reading “Descended from Genghis Khan?”→