Ancestors from the West Indies – A Historical and Genealogical Overview of Afro-Caribbean Immigration, 1900–1930s

Damani Davis has written an excellent introduction to researching ancestors from the West Indies. The article has been published by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and is now available to everyone on the NARA web site at no charge.

Davis writes:

“The ancestors of most Americans either immigrated to the United States, served in the military (or married a veteran who served), or were at least counted in one of the decennial censuses. Consequently, the most relevant federal records for genealogical research are those that document these three activities.

“This generality, however, does not always apply to the ancestors of African Americans. Immigration records, in particular, have no immediate relevance for researching enslaved ancestors who were transported to America via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Since enslaved persons were considered “chattel,” or property, they were not recorded as immigrants.

“Most African Americans tend to dismiss immigration records and instead focus on other records held at the National Archives, such as those of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Freedman’s Bank, Southern Claims Commission, and the United States Colored Troops.

“But if researchers of black American ancestry adhere too rigidly to such assumptions, they may miss valuable information contained in less-than-obvious sources.”

The 7-page article may be found on the National Archives and Records Administration web site at

Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: