TOBAGO SLAVE REGISTERS

See:

Trinidad Slave Registers

 

For family history researchers looking for ancestors, who were enslaved in Tobago, the slave registers should be viewed

as possible source material. However, unlike in Trinidad, surnames for the enslaved people of Tobago are very rarely found

in the Tobago Slave Registration Returns. Therefore, it is important that they be studied alongside the early church registers,

where these survive.

 

Whilst the Trinidad Slave Registers commenced in 1813, and were generally compiled every three years (triennial returns),

the Tobago Slave Registers started in 1819 and were compiled annually.

 

Whereas, an Order in Council of 26 March, 1812 introduced the compulsory registration of all enslaved people in Trinidad,

the date of the Tobago Act, requiring the registration of the enslaved people was delayed until 8 February, 1817.

 

It has been reported that the original, hard copy Tobago slave registers for the following years: 1819...1824...1826...1832

are held by the National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago (NATT). For a considerable period of time, researchers have not

been able to consult them, as they were undergoing preservation treatment. In 2006, copies of the remaining years were

microfilmed and purchased by NATT from the National Archives, Kew. T 71/488 Tobago Unattached Slaves was not

microfilmed at the time, so it is hoped that the original, hard copy at NATT is now accessible.

 

Most of the duplicate Trinidad slave registers, held by the National Archives, Kew, have been microfilmed, and copies are

held at the West Indiana Library (UWI). The Tobago slave registers are NOT available at UWI, St. Augustine. It has been

suggested that they were not microfilmed by the National Archives, Kew as microfilm copies were not requested by UWI at

the time the Trinidad slave registers were purchased.

 

At the National Archives, Kew, UK (NA, Kew) there are duplicate copies of the original Tobago slave registers. They cover

the years 1819-1834 and are listed under reference T71/461 to T71/492:

 

Unattached Slaves

 

T 71/461

T 71/465

T 71/464

T 71/468

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

1819

1820

1821

1822

 

 

T 71/470

T 71/471

T 71/473

T 71/475

 

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

 

1823

1824

1825

1826

 

 

T 71/477

T 71/479

T 71/482

T 71/484

 

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

 

1827

1828

1829

1830

 

 

T 71/486

T 71/488

T 71/490

T 71/492

 

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

Tobago: Unattached slaves.

 

1831

1832

1833

1834, Jan

 

Plantation Slaves

 

T 71/462

T 71/463

T 71/466

T 71/467

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

1819

1820

1821

1822

 

 

T 71/469

T 71/472

T 71/474

T 71/476

 

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

 

1823

1824

1825

1826

 

 

T 71/478

T 71/480

T 71/481

T 71/483

 

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

 

1827

1828

1829

1830

 

 

T 71/485

T 71/487

T 71/489

T 71/491

 

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

Tobago: Plantation slaves.

 

1831

1832

1833

1834, Jan

 

Tobago Unattached Slaves

 

Section 1:

 

Section 2:

Contains an alphabetical index of owners in each volume.

 

Contains Returns, compiled by by Owner, Attorney, Manager or Executor.

The Returns leave no space allotted for any surnames of the enslaved person.

The name of the town or parish is listed as part of the Return.

 

Tobago Plantation Slaves

 

Section 1:

 

 

 

 

 

Section 2:

The first volume covering 1819 (T71/462) contains an alphabetical index of plantation names

with the names of the owners (non-alphabetical) listed alongside.

 

In all the subsequent volumes, an alphabetical index of plantation names can be found, but

there is NO listing of the names of the owners (non-alphabetical) alongside the plantation names.

 

Contains Returns, compiled by by Owner, Attorney, Manager or Executor.

The Returns leave no space allotted for any surnames of the enslaved person.

The location, ie name of the parish, of the estate/plantation is NOT listed in the Section 1 indexes.

However, the Return will show the name of the owner or agent and the location of the estate.

 

The first two registers (1819) listing the enslaved people and their owners, both unattached (T 71/461) and plantation

(T 71/462) provide the fullest information. The subsequent years list, within the Returns, only changes,.e.g. where there has

been an increase by birth, the date of birth of the baby is given, alongside the mother’s name. Similarly, where there has

been a death, the Return lists the name of the enslaved person and date of death.

 

Where there is no change/correction, the names of the enslaved people are NOT repeated in the following Return.

 

Tobago Slave Registers Online

 

If you have managed to trace back to slavery days, ie prior to 1834, you may wish to check out the website of Ancestry, UK,

which asserts that it has digitised all the Tobago Slave Registers, using the National Archives, Kew microfilms. However,

only very few Tobago pieces below appear to be ‘fully’ online, and they are not accessible in the same manner as the

original volumes and microfilm copies.

 

Ancestry, UK, at the present time, does not use the National Archives, Kew reference numbers to identify clearly what pieces

are ‘fully’ online. This can be problematic for historians who wish to access the slave registers by T71 number and in the way

in which they were compiled.

 

Tobago Slave Registers Research

 

In the Tobago Slave Registration Returns, only a single column for each enslaved person’s forename was provided, so

surnames for most of the people of Tobago are rarely found. By the time of the final 1834 Slave Registration Return,

Henry Yeates, the Tobago Registrar, still does not provide two separate columns for first names and surnames.

 

It appears, from the literature, that there has been very little study of the Tobago slave registers, and their value for family

history research still remains to be discovered.

 

See:

Anglican Parishes in 19th Century Tobago

 

Catholic Parishes in 19th Century Trinidad & Tobago

 

Moravian Church, Tobago

 

Slave & Land Record: Hampden Plantation (Tobago)

 

Tobago Family History Records

 

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