Other sources

This guide was last updated in 2009

Although most genealogical records you need to search are only available in Caribbean archives, there are some sources available to view from other locations.

Some records have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and can be seen at their Family History Centres. See their library catalogue to find out what they have microfilmed for you country of interest.

Complementary material is also held by the National Archives at Kew.

The most important source for researching slaves for the period 1817 and 1834 are the slave registers. These registers, organised by slaveholders, are a census of all slaves and will usually give such information as age, place of birth and colour – which can indicate if someone had mixed African and European ancestry. Most of the registers have been digitised and are searchable at ancestry.co.uk. See TNAs wiki for a description of the slave registers.

A related source is the records of the Slave Compensation Commission, which contains information on awards paid to slaveholders following emancipation in 1834, but can include material on slaves.

Other useful sources include deeds registers, church registers, newspaper notices held by Caribbean archives, and Colonial Office records, held by TNA – most of these are not indexed.

Some people were freed before 1834 and some of these records can be used to show this. Until 1834 most records give the status of African-Caribbeans and will use the terms 'Free Coloured' or 'Free Black' to show that someone was free.

The slave registers will also show if someone was freed, and some registers, such as those for Barbados, give the ethnicity of slave holders.

A slave holder’s will also may record that they wished to free their enslaved children, or favourite slaves, and grants of freedom were recorded in the deeds registers.

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