Family history research

Petitions gathered in Manchester in 1806, both in favour of and against the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill, went online in March 2007.

Thanks to the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society we were able to transcribe both petitions, enabling readers to search for their ancestors.

The following comments were responses to the petitions:

Graham Camfield from London

"I was pleased to find the signature of my ancestor Richard Bindloss on the anti-slavery petition. Richard (1765-1842) was a partner of Bindloss and Gardner, fustian manufacturers, in Manchester.

The family was originally from Westmorland, but Richard was in Manchester from about 1790 to his retirement in 1829, when he handed over business to his son, also Richard. Richard Senior was a member of the congregation of St John's, Deansgate, in Manchester, where he was also buried. He was also Boroughreeve of Salford in 1816. Many thanks for making these records available."

Jayne Thompson from Manchester

"My ancestor John Redfern may have signed the anti slavery petition. He was a "Corn Merchant" according to his daughter's marriage certificate and "of the Parish and Town of Manchester" according to the parish record of his own marriage in 1785. There is only one John Redfern in a Manchester trade directory of 1797, a corn-dealer, 82 Shudehill."

Hilary Hartigan

"This is my family name and the story handed down was always that there was a slave trade connection. James Salthouse is new to me, but I need to research it further to see if it could be the missing link. So, no connection at the moment, but I will do the research."

John Sheftall from Columbus, Georgia

"I was proud to discover that my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Thomson, signed the 1806 petition supporting abolition.

Thomas was a machinist or millwright who had just moved to Manchester a few years earlier with his wife, Mary Walker, and their family of young children from Newton Stewart, Scotland, where he had been in charge of machinery.

The firm of McConnel & Kennedy hired him to Manchester to install new spinning machinery in their expanding factory in Ancoats. He was a member of an independent church, as was his brother-in-law, John Walker, who may also have signed the petition.

Thomas lived in Jersey Street for most of his time in Manchester. He died in his 70s in 1837, leaving several sons and several daughters.

One of his grandsons, the Rev William McKay, emigrated to Georgia with his family in 1866 from Manchester, right at the end of the American Civil War, and he championed the need for education for the newly freed blacks in the American South - not a popular position for a well-to-do white businessman and clergyman. But he persevered, and he and his family remained in Georgia where we still live today."

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