In most instances the person making the claim will be the slave owner, but it could
also be an executor, trustee, guardian, treasurer, or creditor etc. For example,
you will not find a claim under the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts who owned the largest estate in Barbados, the Codrington Plantation.
Instead, the Society's treasurer James Heywood Markland is the claimant for the
410 slaves (claim 4215) for £8558 2/2d.
The following are the more useful records for genealogists, they are all in claim number order:
If you find anyone of interest make a note of the claim number because you may be
able to find further information about the person, their estate, and their slaves
from the Slave Compensation Commissioners' papers at The National Archives under
the reference T 71. The records are organised by country and then by claim number.
However, many of the records relating to litigated claims are arranged by date of
award and it can be difficult finding all of their records.
- Original claims and certificates: volumes relating to ordinary claims, containing
a copy certificate of the claim and the original claim. These are signed by the
claimant and may include details missing from the slave registers, such as birth
of children born after the last registration, and these usually give the mother's
- Counter-claims: these are loose papers with evidence used in counter-claims. They
include the claim and correspondence and other evidence relating to the claim and
counter-claim and may include information on the family and property, details of
ownership and any loans. You may find information relating to slaves which predate
the start of the slave registers, most of which start in 1817.
- Adjudication in contested claims; volumes summarising contested claims, containing
the names of the parties contesting the claim, date of deeds, subject of the counter-claim,
name of claimant, and remarks.