SLAVE REGISTERS (TRINIDAD) PLANTATION NOTES

 

For the last twenty years of slavery, the Triennial Returns within the Trinidad Slave Registers provide invaluable data for

family historians and list slave families, giving the christian and surname of the mother and her children, together with their

ages and heights. Other relationships, ie husband and wife, have been noted in the Returns, but these are found less

frequently.

 

The Trinidad Registrar of Slaves used the same Folio System for the registration of personal and plantation slaves. This is

described in Slave Registers (Trinidad) Personal Notes.

 

At the commencement of your research, it is worthwhile knowing something of the plantation slave registers and how they

differ from the personal slave registers.

 

The references (T71...) numbers refer to the duplicate, original registers at the National Archives, Kew (UK). However, these

numbers do not indicate the best volumes for commencing one’s research. The reference (T71...) numbers are also printed

on the boxes holding the microfilm copies, held in the West Indiana Library of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.

 

Some people with African ancestry owned slaves on plantations, particularly in the Naparimas, but also

throughout Trinidad as personal slaves. Some free “blacks” also bought and sold slaves.

 

Slave Ancestor Tracking

To track what happens to a slave can only be found by checking the Corrections to the Returns section, prior to each Return.

If he/she is not listed in the Corrections section, it can be assumed that the slave in question has not died, been sold or

transferred to another owner. In respect of young slaves, the Corrections section may show an increase in height since the

last Return. If something happens to a particular slave or there is a material change, he/she will be found, listed in the

section, ‘Corrections to the Returns’, by using the Folio Number where s/he was last recorded.

 

To find the Folio Number of the current year Return, one should use the previous Return’s Folio Number and then look in the

Corrections section of the current year, where the carried forward Folio Number will be found. This will be needed to access

the current Return.

 

Remember, a Slave is NOT named in subsequent Returns, but only in the ‘Corrections to the Returns’, if there is a change of

owner, etc.

 

Example:

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1825 Plantation Slaves: index (T71/513)

 

‘Corrections to the Returns’ Section:

 

Plantation: Wilderness

 

Neptune Landau was first registered in 1813 and was NOT listed in the Returns of 1815, 1819, 1822. In the 1825

‘Corrections to the Returns’ Section, he was found again. He was located, using the initial 1813 Folio Number,

(the last recorded) under which Neptune was originally registered.

 

Slave Owner Ancestor Tracking

When searching the Slave Register Returns, the owners, although listed, may not be the actual person making the Return.

The first and most prominant name listed may be an agent, executor, manager or mortgagee, etc. It is here, right at the top

of the Return, where the researcher can, at times, find some useful family history information about the slave owner's family

in addition, of course, to any of the changes in his slave holding.

 

The Returns of existing owners list only those changes where there has been a Correction since the last Return.

 

In all the Slave Registers research, it is important to note the Folio reference numbers, as these will be required when using

the Folio System' to track forwards or backwards to preceding years. In time, the Registrar’s ‘system’ for compiling the

triennial records will become more apparent to the novice researcher.

 

PLANTATION SLAVES AND OWNERS

 

Where to Start

The National Archives, Kew references do not indicate the best volumes on which to commence one’s research. In

Plantation Slaves research, the Index volume for 1813 (T71/505) should be consulted first.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Plantation Slaves Index (T71/505)

This 1813 Index volume contains:

 

an introductory surname index of plantation slaves in 1813, giving the first Folio Number of the Return where the slaves

are listed, combined with

 

an alphabetic list of plantation names, giving the first Folio Number,

 

and should be consulted first, if you are researching slave ancestry, BEFORE researching Trinidad Slave

Register 1813 Plantation Slaves (T71/501) or Trinidad Slave Register 1813 - 1816 Plantation Slaves (T71/502). Slave

owner researchers can start with T71/501 or T71/505.

 

This is the introductory slave name index for 1813, but remember, it does not provide information on those slaves who were

first registered at the next registration in 1815 or in subsequent years. There are NO Returns in this Index volume.

 

There is NO general index to owners; finding an owner ancestor, therefore, can be very time consuming unless one knows

the name of his or her plantation.

 

Unfortunately, a microfilm copy of the 1813 Plantation Slaves Index (T71/505) is not available at the West Indiana Library.

This is a cause of concern for local researchers, as it can seriously handicap slave ancestor research, right at the outset.

 

There is a master microfilm, however, at the National Archives, Kew. Copies are available for purchase and digital copies

are likely to be available, on request.

 

T71/505 is relatively small, but unfortunately, the hard copy of this Index volume at Kew is in a poor condition, with no spine

or front board, and urgently requires rebinding.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Plantation Slaves (T71/501)

The first section contains an alphabetical index to the names of the plantations (as found in T71/505) where the slaves

worked and the Folio Numbers indicating where the actual Returns are found. This is a repeat of the plantation list in the

Index volume for 1813, (T71/505). In this section, there is also a list of the names of new plantations for 1815 and 1816,

giving the locating Folio Numbers alongside.

 

The second section contains the first 1813 Slave Owners’ Returns. However, they are not in alphabetical order, either by the

name of the owner, the plantation name or the name of the Quarter where the plantation is situated, so it is important to note

the Folio Numbers obtained from the 1813 Index volume. Within this Returns Section, there are Corrections for 1815, 1816,

1819, 1822, 1825.

 

A number of slave family relationships, including husband, wife, son and sister have been noted in this volume containing the

actual Returns.

 

The hard copy of this volume at Kew is very heavy and is in good condition.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 - 1816 Plantation Slaves (T71/502)

This is the next volume to look at; it contains a slave surname index, starting on page 51 and also gives the relevant Folio

Number where the initial Returns for 1813 in (T71/501) will be found and also info on Corrections up to and including 1825.

 

The 1813, 1815 and 1816 Returns, headed by plantation name, are found in the above volume. These are NOT in

alphabetical order.

 

Returns start at Folio: 744 and finish at Folio Number: 794. (?New plantations for 1813)

 

1815 Returns restart at Folio Number: 795 in respect of existing plantations and finish at Folio Number: 972.

 

1816 Returns restart at Folio Number: 973 in respect of existing plantations and finish at Folio Number: 1118.

 

Pages 52-147 (Slave surname index): duplicate, or possibly ?New plantations for ?1813.

 

Pages 326-330 (Surname index: newly born & newly imported slaves for 1815.

 

The hard copy volume at the National Archives, Kew is very heavy. It is in good condition, and is particularly easy to read.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1819 Plantation Slaves (T71/508)

Section 1: lists plantation names and slave corrections in folio order.

 

Section 2: lists names of new plantations, 1819 (alphabetical) listing at side new owners’ names (non-alphabetical by

surname): gives the Folio Numbers to access the Return (page 107).

 

Section 3: Returns: Folio Numbers 1119 to 1385.

 

Section 4: Index of Names of New Born & Newly Imported Slaves (alphabetical by surname)

 

The hard copy volume at the National Archives, Kew has no spine or front board.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1822 Plantation Slaves (T 71/511)

Section 1: lists plantation names and slave corrections in folio order (Page 1 - 176)

 

Section 2: lists names of new plantations, 1822 (alphabetical) listing at side new owners’ names (non-alphabetical by

surname): gives the folio numbers to access the Return (pages 177 - 179).

 

Section 3: Returns: Numbers 1386 to 1615.

 

Section 4: Index of Names of New Born & Newly Imported Slaves (alphabetical by surname)

 

From this year onwards, the plantation names are in approximate alphabetical order in the actual Returns, but this is

imperfect, however. Don’t attempt to use it, even where you think you can. You may miss a Return, if you rely on this,

and it is more time consuming anyway. You must take note of the Folio Numbers and follow the Registrar’s system.

 

The hard copy volume at the National Archives, Kew is in poor condition and falling apart. It has 2 loose boards, no spine

and broken sewing.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1825 Plantation Slaves (T 71/513)

The first section contains a separate ‘Corrections to the Returns’, listing the first set of Folio Numbers (1813) followed by the

second set of Folio Numbers (1815); then the third set of Folio Numbers (1819); then the fourth set of Folio Numbers (1822).

Use the previous Folio Numbers to locate the new ‘Carried Forward’ Folio Numbers for the current Registration.

 

The second section contains a list of new plantations, arranged alphabetically, together with the names of the owners

(non-alphabetical).

 

The third section contains the Returns: Folio Numbers 1616 to 1852.

 

The fourth and final section contains a surname alphabetical index of New Born and Newly Imported Slaves.

 

The hard copy volume at the National Archives, Kew has no spine.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1828 Plantation Slaves (T 71/515)

The first section contains a separate ‘Corrections to the Returns’, listing the first set of Folio Numbers (1813) followed by the

second set of Folio Numbers (1815); then the third set of Folio Numbers (1819) Folio Numbers; then the fourth set of Folio

Numbers (1822); then the fifth set of Folio Numbers (1825).

 

Use the last recorded Folio Number to locate the new ‘Carried Forward’ Folio Number for the current Registration.

 

The second section contains a list of new plantations, arranged alphabetically, together with the names of the owners

(non-alphabetical).

 

The third section contains the Returns: Folio Numbers 1853 to 2050.

 

The fourth and final section contains a surname alphabetical index of Newly Born and Newly Imported Slaves.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1831 Plantation Slaves (T 71/517)

The first section contains the ‘Corrections to the Returns’ of the slave owner in folio order, ie the slave owner’s surnames are

not in alphabetical order, neither are the slave surnames.This lists the first set of Folio Numbers (1813) followed by the

second set of Folio Numbers (1815); then the third set of Folio Numbers (1819) Folio Numbers; then the fourth set of Folio

Numbers (1822); then the fifth set of Folio Numbers (1825); then the sixth set of Folio Numbers (1828). This also is the

system found in the preceding volumes. Use the last recorded Folio Number to locate the new ‘Carried Forward’ Folio

Number for the current Return, if one was made.

 

The second section contains a list of new plantations, arranged alphabetically, together with the names of the owners

(non-alphabetical).

 

The third section lists the Returns: Folio Numbers 2051 to 2239

 

The fourth section contains a surname alphabetical index of Newly Born and Newly Imported Slaves (1828-1831).

 

Trinidad Slave Register March 1834 Plantation Slaves (T 71/519)

The first section contains the ‘Corrections to the Returns’ headed by the plantation name in folio order, ie there are NO slave

owner’s names in any order. The slave names are listed but are NOT in alphabetical order. This section, as hitherto, lists the

first set of Folio Numbers (1813) followed by the second set of Folio Numbers (1815); then the third set of Folio Numbers

(1819) Folio Numbers; then the fourth set of Folio Numbers (1822); then the fifth set of Folio Numbers (1825); then the sixth

set of Folio Numbers (1828) and so on. Use the last recorded Folio Number to locate the new ‘Carried Forward’ Folio

Number for the current Return.

 

The second section contains on page 165 new names of plantations/owners.

 

The third section contains the Returns: Folio Numbers 2240 to 2423.

 

The fourth section and final section contains a surname alphabetical index of Newly Born and Newly Imported Slaves

(1831-1834).

 

Slave Owner Compensation

If you discover some of your ancestors owned slaves, received some compensation, and you are looking at plantation slave

owner ancestry, there may be a case for starting one's research on the final slave registers in 1834 (T 71/519: Plantation

slaves). This can be achieved by tracking backwards, using the Folio Numbers, to the earlier triennial registrations/returns.

However, finding the Folio Number in this final Register may take some time. The Registrar’s system is based on tracking

forwards in time.

 

In the plantation registers, it seems there is NO general index to owners and added to this difficulty many plantations, albeit

in different locations, have the same name. This can be somewhat problematic.

 

Finding Carried Forward Folio Numbers: Plantation Slaves

 

The Trinidad Registrar of Slaves used the same system as with Personal Slaves.

 

See: Slave Registers (Trinidad) Personal Notes.

 

Final Note:

In all Trinidad Slave Registers’ research, it is important to note the Folio Numbers as these will be required when using the

Folio ‘System' to track forwards in time or backwards to preceding years.

 

With practice, the Registrar’s ‘system’ for compiling the triennial records will become clearer.

 

Trinidad Plantation Slaves’ Folio Numbers

 

T 71/501 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1813.

Returns start at Folio: 1 and finish at Folio: 743.

 

T 71/502 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1813-1816.

Returns start at Folio: 744 and finish at Folio: 794. (?New plantations for 1813)

 

T 71/502 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1813-1816.

1815 Returns restart at Folio: 795 in respect of existing plantations and finish at Folio: 972.

 

T 71/502 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1813-1816.

1816 Returns restart at Folio: 973 in respect of existing plantations and finish at Folio: 1118.

 

T 71/505 Trinidad: Plantation (index), 1813.

An alphabetical index of plantation names and an alphabetical surname index of slaves.

Locates the first Folio No. There are no Returns in this volume.

 

T 71/508 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1819.

Returns start at Folio: 1119 and finish at Folio: 1385.

 

T 71/511 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1822.

Returns start at Folio: 1386 and finish at Folio: 1615.

 

T 71/513 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1825.

Returns start at Folio: 1616 and finish at Folio: 1852.

 

T 71/515 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1828.

Returns start at Folio: 1853 and finish at Folio: 2050.

 

T 71/517 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1831.

Returns start at Folio: 2051 and finish at Folio: 2239.

 

T 71/519 Trinidad: Plantation slaves, 1834, Mar

Returns start at Folio: 2240 and finish at Folio: 2423.

 

All Slave and Owner Indexes need updating.

 

See:

Slave Registers (Trinidad) Personal Notes

Trinidad Slave Registers

 

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Trinity Cathedral

 

Catholic Slave Baptisms

Catholic Slave Marriages

 

Land Sales to Former Slaves

 

National Archives, Kew, UK

National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago

West Indiana Library (UWI)

 

Slavery Days in Trinidad: Recommended Reading

 

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