Exploring our History through Genealogy

The Barbados Archives Department is the repository of local historical records that houses over 360 years of Barbados’ documented history. These recorded events cover the genealogical, economic, cultural, academic, agricultural, social and other important occurrences in local history.

Currently the department is actively involved in this year’s ‘We Gatherin’ events where its Genealogy Market Places are held each month in a different parish in Barbados. Genealogy, the study of one’s ancestral line of ascent or descent, identifies the connections between persons who are living and persons who have died. The need to promote genealogical research is of primary importance as it provides persons with an understanding of certain genetic traits found within their family tree and also fosters a sense of national identity.

The Archives Department in its promotion of these Market Places has formed a partnership with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc where the aim is to produce a product that can be branded as Barbadian. This product seeks to provide Barbadians, no matter where they are living, with the means necessary to conduct their family research. At each Genealogy Market Place the department exposes the public to material which focuses on the links between Barbados and numerous countries. In St Lucy, Dr. Frederick Alleyne’s display told the story of Barbadians who Emigrated to Brazil and Guyana. Another display by Mr Sabir Nakhuda featured the role East Indians played in Barbadian society.

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(Members of the public receving information on how to conduct family research at the Genealogy booth in St. Peter)

Additionally, during the day there were presentations outlining and teaching Barbadians and others how to do their family research. Mr. Thomas St. John, whose ancestors came from St. Lucy, willingly explained how he traced his family tree, with family members found in St. Peter and Mr. Nicholas Mayers, another presenter, was able to trace his family tree right back to Africa. Ms. Karen Proverbs, Archivist at the Archives Department provided information on the resources available at the Department and also how to search them to locate family history information. In each parish display boards highlighting the rich history of the parish and by extension Barbados, would be placed at strategic points.

Genealogy is one of the principal programmes of the Archives Department. The objective is to promote it both locally and in the Diaspora. This will be realised through collaborations with consulates, The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc and others such as the Small Business Association.

Members of the general public are encouraged to visit the displays and the presentations of the Archives Department at the upcoming Genealogy Market Places.