Thanks to the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) and Professor Kenneth Morgan with London’s Brunel University, there are hundreds of pages of digitized St. Vincent records available for research online for free. Morgan is an economic and social historian of the British Atlantic world with interests that include Caribbean history as well as slavery and the slave trade. His EAP digitization projects (EAP345 and EAP688) were specifically focused on Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Registrar’s manuscript records for the island’s slavery era and cover the time period 1770-1839. You will note that these records were compiled with history in mind rather than genealogy, so it is up to the individual family researcher to dig into them to find their own ancestors.
The EAP works by issuing grants for record digitization projects around the world. Lucky for St. Vincent genealogy researchers, Prof. Morgan selected SVG as the focus of two EAP projects, one conducted in 2010 and a follow-up project in 2013. To understand the challenges he faced to bring these records to the world via the internet, click here for notes from the first survey conducted in 2010.
The 2013 EAP688 project description states that the St. Vincent “deed books have been kept until recently at the Eastern Caribbean Court House in Kingstown, which has cramped and unsuitable conditions for serious historical research. Following the recommendations of the 2010 pilot project (EAP345), the deed books have now been transferred to the National Archive of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and housed in a properly equipped and modern archive.”
The digitized St. Vincent records includes those listed below. (Most indexes are either at the front of a record set or in random order in the first 20 or so pages and are sometimes interspersed within some actual records. After working with the record sets you will get the idea of how to access indexes).
- Deed books: 1770-1839 (EAP688). The extent of the original material comprises around sixty volumes of Deed books, each containing approximately 500 folios. Click the link for a full description of each item and to search it online. The list of items is not in order by year and you must scroll through the list to see the full range of years included.
- Book of Wills: 19 Mar 1806-25 Sep 1811 (EAP345 1/2). 1 bound volume, 357 pages. Entries for testators’ last will and testament, with details of the management and distribution of their estate. The testator’s residence and occupation are usually given. The names of witnesses and executors are given. Click here to see a typed list of some wills from 1800-1815. You must scroll down through the document to find this list, and it is not in alphabetical order.
- Deed Book: 20 Feb 1809-21 Dec 1809 (EAP345 2/2); 1 bound volume, 530 pages. The deed books were created for the legal record of all financial, property and land transactions on Saint Vincent. Systematic entries on all land, property and financial transactions on Saint Vincent. Names of individuals concerned in the transactions are given, along with their occupation, status and residence. The entries cover subjects such as land transfers, mortgages, bonds, sureties, slave sales, slave manumissions, slave valuations, credit transactions and debts. Click here to see a typed list of the deeds contained in this book. You must scroll down through the document to find this list, and it is not in alphabetical order.
Note: In using the records, researchers will find that most of the images are crystal clear and can be enlarged for better reading. However, there are some that are blurry and not readable.
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