The following announcement was written by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Genealogy Research Web:
North Little Rock, AR -- 23 Jan., 2007 -- The St. Vincent & the Grenadines Genealogy Research Web has announced its new web address. Formerly located at sv.usaroots.com, the website is now found at svgancestry.com. The niche website debuted in October 2004 offering datasets of records, research tips and historical information for this remote corner of the Caribbean.
The site promises many new things to come in 2007. It already has thousands of names in its published records, and is preparing to release thousands more with the debut of its subscription database coming in the summer of 2007. The records focus mainly on the island group's early history, simply because those have been the easiest to locate for the website’s American archivist and developer Suzanne Burnette. “It's not an easy job because St. Vincent records are hard to come by”, says Burnette. “The island government of St. Vincent is only in the early stages of assessing and organizing what records it holds, and genealogists interested in the island’s records have been waiting far too long as it is.”
Burnette created the website after encountering numerous obstacles in the search for her own St. Vincent ancestry, which dates back to 1763 when the island was first settled by the British. Her most prominent St. Vincent ancestor is the Hon. Harry Alexander, the first president of the island's legislative council. Burnette says, "I was quite lucky to find a small group of individuals on an internet mailing list who had been tracing their St. Vincent ancestry, and who, in the process had become experts on the island's history and early inhabitants. By making contact with them, I was able to start putting together the pieces of my ancestral puzzle."
Part of the problem with research on the island is the fact that many of the records in St. Vincent are in very poor condition due to exposure to the elements. Burnette says, "even if you can travel to the island, you'll be lucky to find what you're looking for without a lot of legwork because records are scattered around Kingstown in government offices, churches and the Archives.
We've been told by many researchers that they were denied access to records because of their fragile condition. Those which are made available must be searched by hand in records books which are brittle and falling apart, requiring the least amount of handling possible. To make matters worse, she says, "It's not known if or when any microfilming of the records could be done, or when any data might be entered into a digital format. That kind of work is probably years away since the St. Vincent government has more pressing and important matters, like increasing employment opportunities and tourism revenue."
Fortunately for genealogy buffs with ancestors from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, many records can be found off the island, mainly in repositories in England, Scotland, the United States and elsewhere in the Caribbean. It's these resources that Burnette dove into in the search for names and events in St. Vincent history. Newspaper records, microfilm rentals, and extensive research into old manuscripts and books have been the main source of information for the website. The site lists births, deaths, marriages, baptisms, cemeteries, census counts, deeds, wills, estates & properties, government officer appointments, land grants, passenger lists and other records for individuals who have lived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since its written history began.
"Our goal is to make as many records available as possible because we know how difficult St. Vincent research can be", says Burnette, "hopefully we can use the resources we have found to share with others who have no way of knowing how to find things off the island." Burnette says earlier records are easiest to find, and the only real source of information for more recent St. Vincent individuals is newspaper obituaries, but the search continues for other more recent sources.
To assist people in tracing their St. Vincent ancestors, the website offers a forum for query posting (svgancestry.com/forum). The forum is free but requires registration before users can post queries. An RSS feed is also available for website patrons who would like to receive updates on queries added to the forum.
About St. Vincent and the Grenadines Genealogy Research Web
The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Genealogy Research Web was established in the United States in 2004 by American web developer & site archivist Suzanne Burnette. Located on the web at svgancestry.com, the website offers visitors free access to records naming thousands of individuals who have lived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since it was settled by the British in 1763. A forum is also available for posting queries, which requires registration. Forum patrons can stay in touch with the website forum by subscribing to a free news feed of the forum's newest postings.