Most Recent Genealogy Records for Caribbean Countries
Below is a list and description of the most recent genealogy records for Caribbean countries (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
2013 July to December
Caribbean – Readex has begun the process of building a new online digital collection of Caribbean newspapers. The newspapers span the years from 1718 to 1876. There are 140 different titles in the collection and the newspapers come from 22 different Caribbean islands. It will take a while for the entire collection to be digitized and put online. However, this is exciting news for anyone with Caribbean ancestors. There is generally a lack of online genealogy records from the Caribbean region. This new collection should help close some of the deficit. The newspapers originate from the American Antiquarian Society. Once the digitization process is completed, this will be the largest online collection of 18th and 19th century Caribbean newspapers. For those not familiar with Readex, it is an online institutional service available at many public libraries. Check with your local branch. [Historic Caribbean Newspapers]
Jamaica – FamilySearch.org has added some 490,000 indexed records of Jamaican civil registrations. These are official birth records dating from 1880 to 1999. The records can be searched by name. Marriage and death records are also available but are currently not indexed. The entire collection consists of some 4 million images. Early Jamaican birth records can be a little sparse on details and typically list only the bare minimum. However, this is a great resource for anyone with Jamaican ancestors. Access is free. [Jamaican Birth Records]
2013 January to June
Cuba – The Cuba Genweb project maintains a database of ship passengers arriving and departing Havana Cuba in the 1800s. The database has now surpassed 130,000 records. The records can be searched by surname, first name and ship name. A typical record lists the name of the individual, the name of the ship, the port of departure, the port of arrival and the date of arrival. Most of the ships in this database came from ports along the Eastern Coast of America. Access is free. [Historic Cuba Ship Passenger List]
2012 July to December
Caribbean – A new website called Caribbean Family History has just launched with a variety of genealogy records. The main database contains some 200,000 parish burial records from Barbados. Also included are lists of minister, priests and clergy from Barbados as well as a list of Quakers from the island. The website also contains information of slave compensations for the region. Some of the records on the website also cover Antigua. Caribbean Family History is a rare example of a collaborative website containing historic Caribbean genealogy records. Access is free. [Historic Barbados Parish Burial Records]
Caribbean – The UK National Archives has put online at Flickr a collection of historic Caribbean photos. The images are organized by country and show a variety of important events and images of various towns and cities over the years. Access is free. [Historic Caribbean Images]
Caribbean – The UK National Archives has released another tranche of colonial administration records. These are wide-ranging administrative records from various colonies and territories within the British Empire. The link provides a list of when the colonial administration files will be available by territory. Access to the underlying records is by subscription. [UK Colonial Administration Records]
Dominican Republic – FamilySearch.org has created a new browsable image collection of genealogy records for the Dominican Republic. This is an eclectic collection of some 731,000 images of records from the National Archives in Santo Domingo. It includes such items as residency permits, passenger arrival and departure lists, immigration tax exemption requests and other immigration-related correspondence. Most of the records deal with immigration. The collection spans the years 1921 to 1980 with the majority of the collection dating from the 1950s. This would be a good collection to look at if your ancestors migrated from the Dominican Republic. Access is free. [Dominican Republic Immigration Records]
Caribbean – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now gets over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
• 55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
• 14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
2012 January to June
Commonwealth – The UK National Archives working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is going to release colonial administration records over the next year. This is a wide-ranging collection of records associated with the colonial administration of many of the UK’s former overseas territories and protectorates such as the Bahamas, Fiji, Jamaica, Kenya, Palestine, Uganda, etc. It does not cover some of the larger Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
The records will be released in batches over the next year according to the schedule posted on the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In total, 38 countries/regions are represented, with the greatest concentrations in the Caribbean and Africa. Most of the countries on the list traditionally lack good genealogy records. This could be a very valuable collection for anyone with ancestors from these regions. [Colonial Administration Records]
2011 July to December
Dominican Republic – FamilySearch has added 790,000 records from the civil registration of the Dominican Republic. The records span the years from 1801 to 2006. Access is free. [Dominican Republic Civil Registration Genealogy Records]
Jamaica – FamilySearch has added over 450,000 new birth records. The civil birth records cover the period 1878 to 1899 while the parish birth records cover the Clarendon and Trelawny parishes and span the years 1878 to 1930. Access is free. [Jamaica Historic Birth Records]
US & Caribbean – The Library of Congress has digitized its historic piracy collection, with some of the documents going back to the 1600s. Many of the documents involve reports on the trials of various pirates, both famous and obscure (see image below for the infamous Captain Kidd). Most pirates lived short, brutal lives and thus often did not leave descendants. Nevertheless, piracy was a major influence on the early history of the Caribbean and the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, a fact that is often overlooked today. These documents provide unique insight into the lives of many who lived during the period. [Library of Congress Piracy Trial Collection]
Jamaica – The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) has begun the process of digitizing historic documents, photographs and maps. NLJ is also digitizing and storing current Jamaican publications on its website. The digitization project is still in its pilot stage, but the digital collection is already fairly extensive. Some of the material dates back to the 1600s. Access is free. [Historic Jamaican Photos, Maps and Documents]
2010 January to June
St. Kitts–Nevis – The National Archives of St. Kitts-Nevis has launched a new website called Basseterre, Past & Present. The purpose of the site is to “present the evolution of Basseterre through the records and images held in [the National Archives] repositories”. Included are articles, historic photos and newspaper clippings. One thing that is not currently on the website is the Registry of Slaves. St. Kitts is one of the few Caribbean islands that preserved the registry of slaves. Originally established ten years after England abolished the slave trade in 1807, the registry of slaves was actually created by abolitionists on the island who wanted to keep track of people to ensure that no new slaves were smuggled onto the island. The original list contained some 20,000 names. It was updated every three years. However, it is difficult to trace family connections through the registry of slaves since family connections was not the intended purpose of the document. The registry instead lists name, age, sex, colour, place of birth and occupation. Note: this website is a work in progress. Access is free. [Historic Basseterre Genealogy Records]