Author Topic: "a coloured man" meaning?  (Read 2418 times)

Offline rubymelia

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"a coloured man" meaning?
« on: Friday 26 October 18 21:08 BST (UK) »
Hi I was hoping someone could help me understand this meaning?
My whole family are white, I am very pale in colour, however upon my research I found an article about my ggggg grandfather being a mariner with flatboats in Chester around early 1800's. The sentence reads as;  John Potter, “a coloured man” born about 1778. Does this mean my ancestor was of black descent?

Thanks for any info or replies!

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Offline trystan

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 26 October 18 21:10 BST (UK) »
Hi welcome to RootsChat.

Here is a description on Wikipedia that answers your question:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored
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Offline louisa maud

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 26 October 18 23:30 BST (UK) »
Growing up in London 1950's I lived where there was a lot of "coloured" people, I was always told they didn't like being called "black" so obviously I called them coloured,  recently having had a conversation with my granddaughter  and used the word coloured   I was  told that I should call them black and there was I assuming  was being polite and respectful

Louisa Maud
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Offline rubymelia

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Black ancestry in Chester
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 27 October 18 14:52 BST (UK) »
Wondering if anyone could help me. I found a record describing my ggggg grandfather as a "coloured man", his name was John Potter (b.1779). I wonder if anyone knows about how this could have come about? Would his parents have come from abroad in a certain era? I'm struggling to find any ancestors beyond him? The whole family have very English names as well?

Offline BumbleB

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Re: Black ancestry in Chester
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 27 October 18 15:31 BST (UK) »
Welcome to Rootschat  :)

Date a little amiss, but could this be your John Potter.

Marriage - 11 July 1803 - St Oswald, Chester - by Licence

John Potter, 29, Bachelor, Mariner and Martha Allsup, 28, Spinster.
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Offline JohninSussex

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 27 October 18 21:17 BST (UK) »
Yes, you are right in the 1950s/60s it was considered polite to call someone 'coloured' and not polite to say 'black', and to say 'Negro' was if you like a technical term for someone of African ancestry.  And today 'black' is the most accepted word and the others are not used.  Simply things change over time.

None of which helps with the meaning of the word in the early 1800s.  And that Wikipedia article also says nothing about the use of word in England at that time.  So until someone come along with a reference, we still can't be sure what was meant by the term, though I am sure it could easily have meant someone of darker skin than the usual Englishman.

And as for your own present day family being pale skinned, don't forget each of your ggggg grandfathers makes up only 1/128th of your own ancestry.
Rutter, Sampson, Swinerd, Head, Redman in Kent.  Others in Cheshire, Manchester, Glos/War/Worcs.
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Offline youngtug

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 27 October 18 21:31 BST (UK) »
I have seen several references to a person being coloured in census and parish records.
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/black_britons_01.shtml
.http://www.rootschat.com/links/05q2/   
  WILSON;-Wiltshire.
 SOUL;-Gloucestershire.
 SANSUM;-Berkshire-Wiltshire
 BASSON-BASTON;- Berkshire,- Oxfordshire.
 BRIDGES;- Wiltshire.
 DOWDESWELL;-Wiltshire,Gloucestershire
 JORDAN;- Berkshire.
 COX;- Berkshire.
 GOUDY;- Suffolk.
 CHATFIELD;-Sussex-- London
 MORGAN;-Blaenavon-Abersychan
 FISHER;- Berkshire.
 BLOMFIELD-BLOOMFIELD-BLUMFIELD;-Suffolk.
DOVE. Essex-London
YOUNG-Berkshire
ARDEN.
PINEGAR-COLLIER-HUGHES-JEFFERIES-HUNT-MOSS-FRY

Online deebel

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 27 October 18 22:06 BST (UK) »
Here is an extract from a newspaper cutting around the time which is a report of a "turf-war" in the West Indies which seems to suggest that a large body of "blacks" had agreed to swear allegiance to Spain with the prospect of eliminating the "coloured" or "mulattoes". I understand the latter is an old term for "mixed-race" so presumably this is what was generally understood as being "coloured"
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Offline ShaunJ

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Re: "a coloured man" meaning?
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 28 October 18 08:08 GMT (UK) »
Perhaps you could contact the author of the article via CCHT to verify the source of that information?

http://www.chestercanalheritagetrust.co.uk/Documents/CCHT%20Newsletter%20June%202014.pdf

Although its website seems current, it appears that the Chester Canal Heritage Trust is being wound up. It has been removed from the charity register and is on course to be struck off the company register.
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