Today we launched a collection titled Former Colonial Dependencies Slave Register Collection, 1812-1834, which will allow Caribbean Americans descended from British Empire slaves to delve into their history online.
The registers now on Ancestry.com include details for more than 2.7 million slaves and 280,000 slave owners from a total of 17 former colonial dependencies, including Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Honduras and more.
Beginning in the mid-1600s, many hundreds of thousands of African slaves worked mainly on sugar, tea and tobacco plantations in far flung corners of the British Empire such as the Caribbean and the countries today known as Sri Lanka and as South Africa. The British slave trade became illegal in 1807, but the actual ownership of slaves wasn’t abolished until 1834.
The British Government, in order to monitor ownership and stamp out illegal trading, required British slave owners to complete a slave register every three years, beginning in 1812. The registers list each slave by name and include gender, approximate age and, in some instances, birthplace, as well as parish of residence.
According to the 2000 U.S. Federal Census, more than 1 million U.S. residents reported having ancestors from the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the British West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago. This collection becomes a vital resource for Caribbean Americans with slavery in their ancestry.
Search the database or click on the thumbnail below to view a sample register.