Records in the UK

This guide was last updated in 2011

If you're eager to learn more about your West Indies ancestors, they are some sources that you can uncover in the UK.

The National Archives at Kew holds the Colonial Office Records (see, in particular, CO137 and T 71), but also censuses taken in the West Indies, military records, government gazettes, wills, court cases, registers of slaves, details of compensation paid to slave owners at Emancipation and much more. Guy Grannum’s book, Tracing Your West Indian Ancestors (Public Record Office Readers' Guide, 2002), is an excellent place to start.

County Archives all over the UK contain a wealth of family papers, letters and plantation records. If early indenture records have survived, they are most likely to be found in local archives for London, Bristol, Liverpool or other ports. Sources for West Indian Studies by KEIngram (AG Zug, 1983) is a very useful guide to local UK archives, as well as to the West Indian holdings.

A large number of Caribbean records, including church records, civil registration, census, burial and memorial inscription and slavery records can be viewed on microfilm at the LDS London Family History Centre at Hyde Park (or ordered to be viewed at any LDS Family History Centre – visit to find details of your nearest one). Associate FamilySearch libraries (such as the one at Solihull Public library) may also have copies of relevant microfilm records – check before visiting.


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