Grenada family history: Sources at the UK National Archives

Introduction

The UK National Archives does not hold the locally created records of Grenada such as church registers, civil registration registers, wills, or censuses etc. Where these survive they are to be found in Grenadian Archives, Register Offices and individual churches. You will need to contact the following addresses for information:

Badly Damaged Grenada Baptism Records

Badly Damaged Grenada Baptism Records

  • Public Library/National Archives, 2 Carenage, St George’s, Grenada, tel: (473) 440-2506
  • Registrar General, Church St, St George’s, Grenada, tel: (473) 440-2030

Some Grenadian records have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and may be ordered to be viewed at their Family History Centres (FHC). Locations of their centres and information on their holdings is available at www.familysearch.org; many Caribbean records are available at their London Family History Centre, however the sad fact is although the Mormons do have Churches on many if the Caribbean islands – none of them offer Family History Centres. The  FHC’s elsewhere in the world, for example, will hold copies of Grenadian civil registration returns of births, marriages and deaths (1866-1940), and deeds registers (1764-1931), which include information on property transactions, wills, mortgages, conveyances, and sales and manumissions (grants of freedom) of slaves.

Useful websites and publications

There are also a couple of web sites which contain useful information:

You may wish to read the following guides for information:

  • G Grannum, Tracing your West Indian ancestors (Public Record Office, 2002)

Sources at the UK National Archives

The UK National Archives holds the records of the Colonial Office and related departments and these include correspondence, reports, newspapers and other papers relating to the administration of Grenada. The most important series for genealogists with Grenadian ancestry are:

CO 101 & CO 321, Original Correspondence, 1747-1951 – correspondence and reports from the governor, other government officials and individuals on all matters relating to the social, economic and military affairs of Grenada. Information includes petitions, application forms for colonial civil servants, land grants, manumission returns, lists of land owners, censuses (mostly statistical but some include names of heads of households), court records and lists of prisoners.

CO 103, Acts, 1766-1965 – local legislation including private acts of naturalization, sales of land for payment of debt, grants of manumission, and appointments

CO 104, Sessional Papers, 1777-1965 – minutes of the local government and include petitions to the house of assembly and grants of manumission

CO 105, Government Gazettes, 1834-1975 – official government newspapers. The information varies but can include sale of crown lands, naturalizations, lists of jurors, constables and other public servants, probate and grants of administration, voters lists, tax lists, lists of people granted licences to hold guns, or sell alcohol or drugs (as in chemists)

CO 106, Miscellanea – these include newspapers for the 1830s to 1850s and Blue Books of Statistics, 1821-1945. Newspapers can include obituaries, and birth, marriage and death notices. Blue Books contain vital statistical information relating to the colony but also have staff lists of public servants arranged by department and lists of government pensioners

T 71, records of the Slave Registry and Slave Compensation Commission, 1814-1842. The slave registers cover the period 1817-1834 and are arranged by parish, they include lists of slaves by owner with such information as name, age, where born, occupation and colour. After the first return most only show increases and decreases on the slave population but show births, deaths, gifts, sales, purchases and manumissions (grants of freedom). For slave owners they can show deaths, marriages and details of family members. Slaves were bequeathed, inherited and gifted to family, on marriage slaves were often given as dowry and the slaves of the wife were transferred to the husband. The Grenadian slave registers have been digitised and indexed by Ancestry and can be searched and access free of charge (this link takes you to the search screen) – see slave registers and How to use the slave registers on Ancestry for more information.

The records of the Slave Compensation Commission have very little information on individual slaves because the information gathered was used to establish the value of slaves and compensation payments. However slaves who were born after the last registration or were not registered are often named during claims, there are also series of sales (called Exhibits in the Catalogue) used to assess the general value of slaves and these often name slaves.

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