Other useful related records

this collection, again in country and then claim number order, contains payment books describing the sum of money actually paid out, based on the original valuation to which interest was added. Payments for counter-claims are towards the end of the returns but these are listed by date of payment rather than claim number.
these registers are in country and claim number order and provide details on where the claimant was living in order to receive their award. Most were received locally in the Caribbean but some are describe as living overseas and occasionally these may give address.

To find out information on individual slaves you need to consult the slave registers. These are also held by The National Archives in T 71, these are arranged by country and then by slave owner. They are a census of all slaves for the period from about 1817 to 1834 when slavery was abolished. They were first established under British laws in Trinidad in 1813 and St Lucia in 1815. The other countries passed their own laws to establish local slave registries. Between 1816 and 1817, most had done so, although some started later: Bermuda in 1821, the Bahamas in 1822, Anguilla in 1827, and the Cayman Islands and Belize in 1834.

The slave registries were set up under a mixture of central and local laws, so the information recorded varies from country to country. The registers are arranged by owner and most contain indexes to owners or estates.

The first return is a general list of all slaves. Most later returns show only the changes to the slave populations such as deaths, births and manumissions and the movement of slaves between owners: imports, exports, sales, purchases, inheritances and gifts. Most returns group the slaves according to gender and age - so there are lists of men, boys, women and lastly girls, with few clues to family relationships.

The registers provide personal information on enslaved people:
  • - usually this is only the plantation name, but St Lucia, Trinidad and Belize give surnames and Jamaica states a baptismal name.
  • - this may be an estimate, especially for people born in Africa.
  • - often this is only black/negro for people of pure African descent, or mulatto/coloured for people of mixed European and African origins and usually means that the person is of European paternal ancestry.
  • - this might just say African or Creole (born in the Americas); others may give country of birth and occasionally African ethnic group.
  • – this was later used by the compensation commissioners to categorise the slaves for compensation purposes

Other information may include mother's name, physical description including disabilities, country marks for Africa-born people, date of birth, death or manumission, and the names of people receiving or purchasing slaves.

The registers also provide some information on owners. For example, they indicate if a person had died, or recently married because slaves were often included as dowry gifts. Registers for Barbados, Antigua and St Vincent indicate if the owner was a freed man or woman. See the Moving Here website for further information on the slave registers.

The 1834 slave register for Barbados compiled in March 1834 is available on Ancestry. You can search the database by name of slave owner, or slave name, age or nationality for free, but there is a charge to view the images.