SLAVE REGISTERS (TRINIDAD) PERSONAL NOTES

 

The references (T71...) refer to the duplicate, original slave registers at the National Archives, Kew (UK). These reference

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.

 

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/forename 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

much less frequently.

 

Making the Return

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

Consequently, the first and most prominant name listed may be an agent, executor, manager or mortgagee, etc.

 

After the original registration, only changes, by birth, death, manumission or sale, were recorded, three years later, at the

time of making the next Return.

 

Where to Start

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

Slaves research on slave ancestry, it is, perhaps, better for the researcher to start working through the first volumes, which

begin in 1813 (T 71/504) first and (T 71/503) second and become familiar with the Registrar’s system, which is also found in

the succeeding volumes. This uses the previous Return’s Folio Numbers to access the succeeding Returns by means of

Carried Forward Folio Numbers found in the Corrections section of the current Register.

 

However, in Personal Slaves research on slave owner ancestry and you discover your ancestors owned slaves and

received some compensation, there may be a case for starting one's research on the final slave registers in 1834

(T 71/518: Personal slaves & T 71/519: Plantation slaves and use the Registrar's 'Folio System' to track backwards to

earlier triennial registrations/returns. This is easily done if you can find the Folio Number in the final 1834 Register. However,

this can take some time. The Registrar’s system is based on tracking forwards in time.

 

Remember, 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.

 

PERSONAL SLAVES AND OWNERS

The registers of personal slaves list those slaves who did not live on a plantation but in Port-of-Spain and elsewhere in other

Quarters (districts).

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Personal Slaves Index to Slaves & Owners (T 71/504)

This is a very heavy, comprehensive, excellent index-only volume listing, first owners followed by slaves with surnames

beginning with the letter ‘A’, and then owners and slaves with surnames beginning with letter ‘B’, etc. Here will be found the

Folio Number where the Returns of 1813 will be found, ie in Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Personal (T 71/503).

 

It is important to note that this volume is an introductory index for 1813 and, consequently, does not provide information on

individuals who became slave owners at a later date or on any slaves first registered at subsequent triennial registrations.

The new slave owners are only indexed within the volume in which they first register a Slave Return.

 

The 1813 index volume (T71/504) does NOT contain any Slave Returns.

 

It is advisable to consult T71/504 before researching 1813 Personal Slaves (T71/503) Register.

 

Surprisingly, the 1813 index volume (T71/504) has NOT been purchased for the West Indiana Library by the University of

the West Indies, St. Augustine. This is a cause of concern for local researchers, as it can seriously handicap research, right

at the outset. However, there is a master microfilm at the National Archives in Kew, and copies can be purchased.

 

The hard copy of this important index volume (T71/504) at the National Archives, Kew is currently in very good condition.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Personal (T 71/503)

At the front of this volume, there is an untitled index, listing the Folio Numbers where the actual Slave Returns will be found.

 

At the end of the 1813 Personal Slaves (T71/503), there is a surname index to new slaves. This gives the Folio Number to

these Returns.

 

The hard copy volume at the National Archives, Kew is a very heavy volume, weighing 54lbs. It is in very good condition, and

is particularly easy to read.

 

It is useful to know that the 1813 Returns start at Folio: 1 and finish at Folio: 631.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1815 Personal (T 71/506)

The first section of T71/506 records any ‘Corrections to the Returns’, eg

 

Names

Names

Corrections

 

This section gives the full name of the owners and of the slaves, where there has been a change. It may mention details,

eg ‘dead, manumitted’, ‘height’ or ‘sold’.

 

‘Corrections to the Returns’ first commences in 1815; it is a surname index to any corrections, and is found in subsequent

registers.

 

From 1815 onwards, the Trinidad personal slave registers, containing the actual slave Returns, are divided into, at least, four

sections:

 

a) ‘Corrections to the Returns’

 

b) ‘The Returns’

 

c) ‘Surname Index of New Owners’

 

d) ‘Surname Index of Newly Born & Newly Imported Slaves’

 

Importantly, the Index to Corrections within the Trinidad Slave Register 1815 Personal Slaves Index (T71/506) - and,

similarly, in each subsequent triennial Index to Corrections - lists the new Carried Forward Folio Number needed to find

the new Return (if there was one) and the surname being researched. If there were no changes in the numbers of slaves

and none had died or been sold, etc, there would be no Return.

 

To use this Index to Corrections, you will need the Folio Number of the previous 1813 Return.

 

The section, recording each owner’s actual 1815 Returns, are arranged by folio numbers and are not in any alphabetic

surname order whatsoever. The Returns also refer to the Folio Numbers of the previous triennial returns; this also helps

you to keep a good track of the Registrar’s Folio System.

 

In order to ascertain the new 1815 folio numbers for the Returns of existing owners, check the section, ‘Corrections to the

Returns’, using the previous (1813) Folio Number. Without the Folio Numbers, searching the 1815 Personal Slaves

Returns will be very time consuming.

 

If there was no Return in the previous Return, look in the Section ‘Names of Owners’. These are the new owners for the

current Return. However, as stated above, there may have been no changes. In this case, check the last used folio number

or the initial folio number given in the 1813 Index Volume (T71/504) .

 

One of the sections of the Trinidad Slave Register 1815 volume (T71/506) is a surname index of new owners and gives the

Folio Number, locating where they are recorded in the 1815 Return section. Remember, this is not a comprehensive list of

all owners and does not detail the new Folio Number of existing owners, who have previously made a Return.

 

As stated previously, these ‘Carried Forward’ Folio Numbers, for existing owners, are found within the section, Index to

Corrections, which is found in each triennial register, listing the actual Returns.

 

Sometimes, you will find there has been a minimal Return. This means there were few alterations, by death, etc. from the

previous Return. The Returns of existing owners can only be found when there there has been a change, ie a ‘Correction’

since the last Return.

 

At the end of the 1815 volume, and in all the volumes listing Returns, there is an alphabetic surname index of new born and

newly imported slaves.

 

For some unexplained reason, it appears that the volume,‘Trinidad Slave Register 1815 Personal Slaves Index (T71/506)’,

was not microfilmed by the National Archives, Kew. Consequently, there is no master microfilm there. Surprisingly, it

appears (to be confirmed) that UWI, St. Augustine does have a microfilm copy.

 

The hard copy volume of the 1815 Trinidad Personal Slave Register at the National Archives, Kew is relatively small and,

currently, is in a good condition.

 

It is useful to know that the 1815 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 632 and finish at Folio: 994.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1816 Personal (T 71/507)

The 1816 Personal Slaves register, and subsequent Personal Slaves’ registers, are also divided into at least four sections,

providing similar information as described for 1815 (T71/506).

 

To use the section,‘Corrections to the Returns’, ie the Index to Corrections, you will need the Folio Number of the previous

1815 Return. These are listed, initially, in 1813 Folio Number order, followed by the 1815 folio numbers. When you find the

entry you are researching, this should list the new 1816 Carried Forward Folio Number to enable you to find the actual

1816 Return.

 

Without the new Folio Numbers, searching the 1816 Personal Slaves Returns will be very time consuming, as the actual

Returns are, likewise, not in alphabetic surname order. Do persevere in your efforts to locate the new folio numbers for 1816.

 

Unfortunately, the hard copy volume of the 1816 Personal Slaves register at Kew is in poor condition.

 

Note: the 1816 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 995 and finish at Folio: 1283.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1819: Personal (T 71/509)

This volume is also divided into four sections, as in the registers described hitherto.

 

In 1819, the Registrar introduces a system listing the Returns in an approximate, but imperfect, alphabetic surname ordering

of the Returns. However, it still much better to check the section, ‘Corrections to the Returns’ (Owner Index) for the new

Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

The names of New Owners & Folio Numbers are listed on pages: 181 - 186. This is followed by the section, recording each

owner or agent’s ‘Triennial Return’, arranged by Folio Number.

 

At the end of the volume, following the Registrar’s system, there is an alphabetic surname index of new born and newly

imported slaves.

 

Unfortunately, the hard copy volume of the Trinidad Slave Register 1819 (T 71/509) at Kew is in poor condition and urgently

requires rebinding.

 

The 1819 Triennial Returns (T 71/509) start at Folio: 1284 and finish at Folio: 1695.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1822: Personal (T 71/510)

The first section of the volume records any ‘Corrections to the Returns’. This gives the full name of each owner and also that

of the slaves.

 

The second section provides an Owner index to Corrections. This, of course, as mentioned before, is NOT a comprehensive

list of all owners.

 

The names of New Owners and their Folio Numbers are listed on pages: 225 - 230.

 

The third section records each owner’s ‘Triennial Returns’ in some kind of alphabetical order, which cannot be relied on.

The actual Returns do NOT repeat earlier Returns; they note only alterations, e.g. the purchase or death of a slave, since

the first full Return of 1813. As with all previous Returns, except for 1813, you will not find a Return for all the registered

slaves of a particular owner.

 

Unfortunately, the hard copy volume of the Trinidad Slave Register 1822 (T 71/510) at Kew is in very bad condition, with

many loose pages, and urgently requires rebinding.

 

The 1822 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 1696 and finish at Folio: 2044.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1825 Personal (T 71/512)

The names of New Owners & Folio Nos. are listed on pages: 209 - 215 and the 1825 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2045

and finish at Folio: 2417.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1828 Personal (T 71/514)

The names of New Owners & Folio Nos. are listed on pages: 237 - 242 and the 1828 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2418

and finish at Folio: 2757.

 

Trinidad Slave Register 1831 Personal (T 71/516)

Commencing on page 177, there is an alphabetic surname index of owners, believed to be new owners, but this is not

confirmed. On page 182, there is an alphabetic surname index of new born and newly imported slaves between 1 January,

1828 and 1 January, 1831.

 

The 1831 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2758 and finish at Folio: 3094,

 

Trinidad Slave Register March 1834 Personal (T 71/518)

The final 1834 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 3095 and finish at Folio: 3356.

 

Registrar’s Folio System

There is a degree of alphabetic surname indexing in the 1822, 1825, 1828, 1831 & 1834 Trinidad owners’ slave registration

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. It is not relevant to the Registrar’s system that the 1813, 1815 & 1819

Returns are not in any OWNER surname alphabetical order. You must take note of the Folio Numbers and, for all Returns,

always use these folio numbers to locate an OWNER/SLAVE ancestor.

 

REMEMBER: If you know the folio number for an earlier Return, (assuming there was a Return made in the previous

triennial registration) always check the ‘Corrections to the Returns’ section, where you will find the important Carried

Forward Folio Number. If there was no Return in the previous Register, look in the Section ‘Names of Owners’. These are

the NEW owners for the current triennial registration Return and you will find a Folio Number to help you access the actual

Return.

________________________

 

Trinidad Personal Slaves’ Folio Numbers

 

T71/503 1813 Returns start at Folio: 1 and finish at Folio: 631.

 

T71/506 1815 Returns start at Folio: 632 and finish at Folio: 994.

 

T71/507 1816 Annual Returns start at Folio: 995 and finish at Folio: 1283.

 

 

T 71/509 1819 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 1284 and finish at Folio: 1695.

 

T 71/510 1822 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 1696 and finish at Folio: 2044.

 

T 71/512 1825 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2045 and finish at Folio: 2417.

 

 

T 71/514 1828 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2418 and finish at Folio: 2757.

 

T 71/516 1831 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 2758 and finish at Folio: 3094.

 

T 71/518 1834 Triennial Returns start at Folio: 3095 and finish at Folio: 3356.

________________________

 

Finding Carried Forward Folio Numbers: Personal Slaves

 

Finding 1813 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Personal Slaves (T71/504) Index-only volume.

Locates the first Folio Number.

 

Finding 1815 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1815 Personal Slaves (T71/506)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1813 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1816 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1816 Personal Slaves (T71/507)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1815 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1819 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1819 Personal Slaves (T 71/509)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1816 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1822 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1822 Personal Slaves (T 71/510)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1819 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1825 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1825 Personal Slaves (T 71/512)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1822 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1828 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1828 Personal Slaves (T 71/514)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1825 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1831 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1831 Personal Slaves (T 71/516)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1828 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

Finding 1834 Folio Numbers:

Trinidad Slave Register 1834, Mar Personal Slaves (T 71/518)

Search Corrections to the Returns’, using the 1831 Folio numbers, for a Carried Forward Folio Number.

 

REMEMBER:

For all periods, always use the Folio Number to locate an OWNER/SLAVE ancestor.

 

The first Folio Numbers are found in the Index-Only volume, T 71/504.

 

The first Owner Returns, using these Folio Numbers, are found in Trinidad Slave Register 1813 Personal (T 71/503).

 

In subsequent registers, to find a new Folio Number, check the ‘Corrections to the Returns’, if there was a Return in the

previous Register.

 

If there was no Return in the previous Return, look in the Section ‘Names of Owners’. These are the new owners for the

current Return. Alternatively, use the last recorded Folio Number, if not a new owner.

 

See:

Slave Registers (Trinidad) Plantation 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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