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 registers provide personal information on enslaved people:
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.
- 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.