Book Review: My Ancestor settled in the British West Indies: With Bermuda, British Guiana and British Honduras

British West Indies[amazon_enhanced asin=”190719908X” container=”” container_class=”” price=”Hide” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]


If you are researching your ancestors who travelled to the West Indies, then this book is an absolute must.

The book has an explanation on the Countries contained within the book, which is very useful. As is the introduction which focus’ on the how these Countries became to be part of the British Empire.

The series of 22 chapters begins with the first two which focus on the broad genealogical sources relating to those who settled in The West Indies and those who settled or at least had involvement in the region as pirates and buccaneers.

We then move swiftly onto the remaining chapters. Each chapter features a specific Country – Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Guiana (Guyana), British Honduras (Belize), The British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Each chapter is then presented in a clear and laid out manner featuring the location and history, economy and people. Also contained within each chapter is an indication to where any records are within the United Kingdom before continuing to identify the location of documents and records within the particular Country of interest, featuring Civil Registration, Census, Wills and Newspapers. The chapter then continues with a healthy mix of both, primary and secondary source material. Further information is then presented in terms of reading with an informative book list and a listing of websites.

The book is illustrated in black and white throughout, with maps, photographs, postcards and stamps all given additional flavour to the Countries researched.


My own very vague interest is in the Island of Jamaica. As part the research for my One Place Study I came across a reference to an individual from the parish. The reference was that Frances Leigh of Puttenham had died in Shrewsbury in 1774 the widow of Jasper Jones of Jamaica who had died previously in 1748. Having read that one sentence I immediately wanted to know more of Jasper’s time in Jamaica. His time in Puttenham is fairly well documented. He was involved in a court case in 1744 and was present in England at the time, so I was able to narrow down my window of researching from 1744 – 1748.


By reading the chapter on Jamaica and then accessing one of the sites mentioned in the book I was able to determine that a probate record for Jasper Jones had survived for 1746-1747. The date is a year or so out, but I shall pursue this line of enquiry regardless.

The book is not attempting to research for you, but to provide you with the knowledge of the area and enable you to have a thought process to see if what you are seeking has survived the test of time and where it might be. It is like all genealogical guides, a stepping stone to your research and a jolly good one!


About Julie Goucher

Genealogist Julie Goucher sets to explore all aspects of researching ancestry and the lives of our ancestors in the United Kingdom in her monthly column for IDG, “Across the Pond.” Each month we will explore the lives of our forebears and seek to understand the Society they lived in through the obvious and not so obvious research opportunities. You can find Julie blogging at Anglers Rest:

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