Book Review: My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies.
By John Titford. Published by the Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited, London. 2011. 253 pages.

Mr. Titford has written a book about the British families who immigrated to the West Indies and their associated records. Loss has been the key point of the records generated in the colonies. Neglect, destruction, and civil strife have taken their toll on these records of Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Guiana, British Honduras, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

The chapters take each locality and describe its history, location, and note the principle characters in its history. Descriptions of the records include those held in the UK as well as the records held locally. The author describes secondary sources, and an extensive bibliography of further reading is at the end of the chapters. A listing of web resources completes the chapters. The surname index contains over 1700 names, and sits alongside an index of subject matter and index to West Indies places.

Mr. Titford has numerous titles published, including the Penguin Dictionary of British Surnames. His The Titford Family 1547-1947 was awarded First Prize by the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists in 2004.

The Society of Genealogists has a set of interesting titles, I gather of most interest to British researchers. Some of the “My Ancestor Was…” titles include “My Ancestors were English Presbyterians or Unitarians,” “My Ancestor Was a Freemason,” and “My Ancestor was a Royal Marine.” An interesting set of titles to look at.

This is an impressive collection of historical data and genealogical information on a fairly narrow topic. The research is well-done and interestingly presented.

My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies can be purchased from the publisher, the Society of Genealogists, at at as well as from at or from at


I’ll have to read it. Years ago I bought a book that became a benchmark to me, “Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713.” It sounds as if this new book is organized quite differently. It will be interesting to check out. The history is brutal any way you slice it.


Sounds like a must read for my husband and myself. His maternal grand father and great grand father were both born in St. Kitts along with multiple aunts, uncles and cousins.


I have found a name the same as my paternal grandfather’s (James Henry)
on a Register of Unfree living in the Country in St.Croix/St. Johns in Queens, age 5; occupation: laborer 3rd class & school. Birthplace, St. Croix. Born, abt. 1845. Document Reference: Rigsarkivet, St. Croix Census 1850. Mother, Minerva. Father, slave owner, James Henry.
How would you proceed to the next step in establishing if this was really my grand father?


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