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Registers survive from 1786 in BT 6/191-193 and BT 107 (indexes in BT 111).
Only four volumes for Liverpool, 1739-1774, have survived for ships registered before 1786 because of a fire at Customs House.
This guide is organised into key theme areas to demonstrate this range and alert researchers to the different routes they may need to take when investigating any particular area of slavery and the slave trade.
For example, evidence can be found in series such as Colonial Office (CO), Board of Trade (BT), Chancery (C), Admiralty records (ADM) and Treasury records (T), as will be highlighted in this guide.
These licenses and those relating to travelling in convoy are in ADM 7.
Very few have been found in The National Archives; those that have are the log books of Royal African Company ships in T 70.
This research guide gives an overview of the major original sources at The National Archives that relate to aspects of the slave trade, slavery and unfree labour in the British Caribbean and American colonies.
It will help researchers to identify which areas of the collection will be of most use to them and suggest other sources and further reading that will help put these in their historical context.
Most of the legislation relates to the slave trade rather than to slavery itself, as the latter was managed and legislated under local colonial laws.
Ships involved in the colonial trade were first required to be registered in 1696.