1834 Barbados slave returns digitised

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1834 Barbados slave returns digitised

Postby bimjim » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:27 pm

From: Guy Grannum

I have been sent this press notice from www.ancestry.co.uk.

They have digitised and indexed the 1834 Barbados slave returns from the National Archives series T 71. The release suggests that they are going to do the other returns in due course.

This is wonderful news and the first time anything like this has been made available.

It sort of hamstrings my plans to do the same thing but at the same time opens up opportunities for researchers and database designers.

This will form part of their subscription service so even though you get to run the same searches your hits have restricted descriptions and you can't access the images.

I have had a play around with it today and you can search by any data field:
a.. slave name - note that it is not sophisticated and treats Tom and Thomas as different names
b.. gender (of slave)
c.. year of birth (of slave)
d.. nationality (of slave) - you get a drop down menu so will find that three are described as being Jamaican
e.. parish (of return)
f.. owner's name
g.. keyword - which will look for this in any field.

You can also add * as a wildcard.

The transcription seems very accurate but unfortunately it is transcribed as seen - Wm, Society PGF (for the Codrington estate Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts).

Because I don't have a subscription I haven't been able to thoroughly understand the search - for example I can't tell if it always includes the owner or the person making the return if the owner was absent, deceased or unable to make the return, and I can't tell how it handles multiple owners.

As I said the hits for unsubscribed users are useful but not fully descriptive but this is common to all Ancestry databases - you get enough to narrow down the search but not too much so avoiding having to pay to download. For example you won't get gender, or nationality (race) and you will only get the first or last name of an owner if you used them as search terms.

You can't undertake statistical analysis of this to identify number of births, deaths, or manumissions etc - but as a genealogical and historical tool it is an excellent start and hopefully the searching will become more sophisticated allowing fuzzy or variant searching. If it can't find a particular person it will bring up all possibles which is OK at the moment with one year for one country but will be a problem as more are added.

A final word for those who have not used the registers - you may get multiple entries for the same person - the returns list all slaves who were registered in 1832, then a separate list for decreases and increases - so if a person who was around in 1832 was sold they will appear in the original owner's general list, then in the decreases section and then in the new owners increases section.

In addition they have also made available Joanne McRee Sander's indexes to Barbadian baptisms, marriages and wills - which was on genealogy.com's website (and CD-Rom) as English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800.

Feel free to pass this around to interested parties.

All the best

Guy
Jim Lynch
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