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Database lets Britons find slave-owning ancestors

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 27, 2013 at 7:21 a.m.

— A new database lets Britons search for uncomfortable information — whether their ancestors owned slaves.

Researchers at University College London have compiled a searchable listing of thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their “possessions” when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833.

Some 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds — the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time.

Research associate Keith McClelland said Wednesday that the project would help show how the legacy of slavery still affects Britain.

He says 10 percent of wealthy 19th-century Britons were directly connected to the slave trade.

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