Tracing Black History & Ancestry | The Truth About What’s in a Name

Sunday 24th September

Paul Crooks is a unique UK Black History Month speaker who discusses engaging topics related to the experience of Black British and North American people.


In this masterclass, Paul will reveal new insights into names and naming practices within North American enslaved societies, with a focus on Jamaica as a proxy for other parts of North America.

Audiences will gain insight from historical documents related to Paul’s search for his ancestors, including his journey to bring his black family history to life, name giving within slave society, the tradition of Caribbean nicknaming, evidence of covert resistance by his ancestors and enslaved communities in Jamaica to the imposition of slave names, documents revealing the widespread use of African names prior to emancipation, and the adoption of surnames following emancipation in British colonies in 1838.

Who is this talk for?

This talk is suitable for those who are new to exploring family history, have some experience searching for their ancestors and want to know about other sources of information, are facing challenges in furthering their search, or want to develop their knowledge and understanding of Black History.

Premium Ticket holders

Premium Ticket holders will receive African, Irish & the Music of the Caribbean, A research project by Paul Crooks following the event.

About the speaker

Paul Crooks is a published author and pioneering genealogist with a specialist interest in Black ancestry and Black history.

Paul came to prominence with his pioneering research into Black genealogy During the 1990s, when he became the first to trace his family history back 6 generations, from London to his ancestors enslaved on a sugar plantation in North America 200 years ago. He discovered his ancestors were enslaved on a sugar plantation in Jamaica.

His books Ancestors and A Tree Without Roots – The Guide To Tracing British, African and Asian Caribbean Ancestry have brought him international recognition for his breakthrough research into Black genealogy.

Paul Crooks has appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? with Moira Stuart as the expert in Black genealogy and has been recognised for inspiring an upsurge in interest in Black and British ancestry.

Paul is credited with inspiring an upsurge in interest in Black and British ancestry. He is also recognised for having spawned an industry in Black genealogy.

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